Rosemary Hill – Pretoria, South Africa

Rosemary Hill, just east of Pretoria is a family-run business doing organic farming, mountain bike trails, coffee shop, Acrobranch, guest house, events… The award-winning trails and possibility to rent bikes caught my attention when researching the area for mountain biking.

The place opens already at 6 o’clock if you want to have a ride before the heat kicks in. I’m not that early as the weather anyway has been strange lately – thunder storms and heavy rain. But not this morning :-).The bike of the day is a Momsen 29” hardtail. Momsen… not the name you would pick for a brand in Sweden… The meaning in Swedish is “the VAT”, but that’s probably not what the local guys were thinking of when starting up the brand some 8 years ago.

Anyway I paid for the access (40 ZAR = 2,5€) and the bike (180 ZAR =11€) and got going adjusting things. We got the brake levers swopped from the UK set-up to regular – I learnt my lesson not doing it in Australia…

And yep… hardtail it is…

What to say… XC-bikes are just not my thing. Or at least not hardtails with very long stems, but it’s a bike that will do for today.

I get going. The signs make it super clear to find your way. The trails are very easy and I take the bulls option where available. Pretty soon I end up in a nice section of rounded off rocks. A bit hard to get the flow on a HT but fun to tackle.Even harder to tackle:I pass the Acrobranch and enter a more technical section including riding through some old ruinsThere are Strava sections all over and some of them even signpostedThe ups and down are tiring but signs about good coffee gets you goingThe vast majority of the 33km trail loop is single track on compact dirt. The grip this morning is fantastic after some rain and dewAfter quite some riding I come across a blooming Jacaranda. Someone is about to leave the house for a bike ride and I take the opportunity to ask for help getting my picture taken. We start chatting and end up going together all the way back to the starting point. “Someone” is Eugene. He is the owner of the place and is a great guide telling me about this and that about the trails. Only five years ago they decided to build a cycling track and now the place has already won awards for best trails.We get going and Eugene takes the leadThis is the Camber bridge. In the picture that I’ve seen before coming here there was water and even so much that it was partially covered in water. Now it’s a different story:Rosemary Hill is less technical than The Big Red Barn but offers scenic views all the timeI’m getting tired but keep going and get a bit of a rest hanging out at the amazing feature “the roundabout”And in the middle of everything… safe graveyard…Great day in great surroundings in great company. Time for some energy refill and then off to Joburg.

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