Some 250 mountain bikers banished the winter blues when they descended on the Heia Safari Ranch in Muldersdrift for the Jozi Night Series Spring Jam on September 20.

Situated just 15 minutes’ drive from the northern and western suburbs of Johannesburg, the picturesque resort near the Cradle of Mankind has become home to the popular night series and a mecca for avid mountain bikers.

“Heia is truly an undiscovered gem,” says organiser Darren Herbst of In Touch Sports.

“It has two amazing restaurants, three bars, two kiddies’ play areas, a variety of game and some truly spectacular views. The venue is perfect for a great night out.”

Every third Friday of the month, a growing number of families gather for a different kind of evening’s entertainment that gives them a healthy and active alternative to the movies or dining out.

Earlier this year, Herbst’s company secured the rights to develop the venue into a multisport park and the Jozi Night Series represents the first step in that direction.

The monthly event comprises a 10km twilight mountain bike race and a 20km night race option, as well as a 3km kiddies’ race.

In September, 5km and 10km night trail run options were added to the line-up for the first time.

“Besides the sporting events, there are a host of other offerings on the night,” says Herbst.

These include a secure, monitored kiddies’ play area with jungle gyms and jumping castles, as well as bars and outside braais for parents. A DJ and big screen TVs are also on the house.

He says the Spring Jam welcomed the arrival of the warmer weather.

“It was a great event with lots of fun activities like swimming, cocktails, games and entertainment. Now that summer is on its way, we look forward to next month’s event, which will be much the same.”

Naturally, the course still takes centre stage amid all the entertainment.

“We have spent the better part of 15 months cutting and designing the routes. It’s the first of two further phases at this venue, which we hope will become the premier sporting venue in Gauteng.”

In the coming weeks, the venue will open to the public and host a number of activities, including mountain biking (with more than 50km of trails), trail running (with 30km of trails), open water swimming and canoeing.

“We’ve made great efforts to ensure variety and fun on the routes. About 80 per cent of the trails are single track, with the balance being jeep track.”

Herbst says riders can look forward to features such as floating bridges, forest sections and riding along the dam wall.

“There are some amazing descents, tricky climbs and a host of great berms, jumps and technical sections.”

Taking them on under the cover of darkness is what makes the difference, he says.

“It truly is sensory overload! The excitement factor is much higher but it’s just as safe and fun as riding in the daytime.

“In actual fact, your body adapts and you generally attempt sections that you’d ordinarily be too nervous to ride during the day.”

Although there are usually participating retailers at the venue, Herbst advises riders to bring their own lights and reflective kit just in case.

For those too nervous to ride at night, the 10km version starts at sunset, making the most of the glowing bushveld scenery.

The next event rolls out on October 18.

Issued by:

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Coetzee Gouws
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On behalf of:

Cyclingnews & ASG Events