The head office of Titan Racing is in the outskirts of Stellenbosch, a mountain bikers’ paradise. From 2005, Titan Racing has combined their passion and knowledge for cycling into building a brand that challenged the African market. Titan Racing Bikes have recently revealed a new direction for the brand by introducing their apparel and accessories ranges and bringing a full time design team in-house.
Also based in Stellenbosch, the Stellenbosch Trail Fund (STF) manages many of Stellenbosch’s best mountain biking and hiking trails and arguably its most famous – G-Spot. This NGO had a humble beginning in 2011 when fires devastated the very limited existing trails in Jonkershoek and a small group of local mountain bikers made a decision to upgrade the trails and take ownership of the management and maintenance of them. Since then, the ambit of STF activities has extended to include the management and maintenance of many more trails, as well as broader community focused activities such as stewardship of a section of the Eerste River.
With the increasing numbers of international and visiting riders that frequent STF managed trails, it became apparent that qualified mountain bike guides would greatly assist in helping these riders to safely navigate the trail network. In addition, there is a real need to engage the local community in the management of our natural resources and to facilitate access to employment in the growing mountain bike tourist industry. Thus the concept of the Stellenbosch Guide Academy was based on enabling members of our local community to train and qualify as mountain bike guides, with a view to running their own guiding businesses on STF trails and with STF support. The pilot project was started with four candidate trainees in January this year and Titan Racing took up the offer to partner with the STF in this endeavor. In the words of STF director and course coordinator Theunis Stofberg, Titan Racing’s sponsorship and support has been “invaluable to the candidate guides in these early days”.
Titan Racing’s Marketing manager, Gareth Wright, also says: “We’re eager to work with Stellenbosch Trail Fund and support them with bikes and kit. Having the opportunity to sponsor the academy and give back to the cycling community is a privilege. We sincerely hope the Trail Guide Academy will be a success; supporting the local community though job creation, offering visitors qualified guides, increasing security on the trails via visibility and educating the local community. The amount of work Stellenbosch Trail Fund puts into maintaining the trails throughout the year for us locals as well as international visitors to use takes an exceptional amount of effort. Furthermore, their decision to keep their trails ‘free-of-charge” offering all riders the opportunity to enjoy them, aligns with our brand values of sharing the empowerment a bicycle has to offer.”
In the last few years Stellenbosch has become the destination of choice for many European professionals to train in their winter season. Titan Racing supports the STF in their view that the increasing numbers of touring riders and runners on our trails present a great opportunity not only to show off our trails, but our town, our country and our hospitality too.
Some of STF’s free-to-use trails include:
- G-Spot – The famous G-Spot, which has now attained international status as one of the best rides in the world. A great track for the experienced rider.
- Koloniesland – The Koloniesland trails are their latest addition to the STF trail network and is located along the pristine Eersteriver. This trail is perfect for a family cycle.
- Eden Forest – Eden Forest was one of the oldest tracks in the region and downhill competitions have been taking place there since the 90’s. Forestry and fires have changed the landscape in the last 10 years and some of the old tracks have disappeared, only to be replaced by new tracks offering something for all riders.
- Maties XCO Track – The Maties XCO track was built on the mountains above Coetzenburg with financial assistance from the STF amongst others. The track was used this year for a UCI World Cup event and played host to a large international field. It is a fast and challenging track that has some black routes in it. It connects to the Berg-Pad which is a wide gravel road that runs on the contour of the mountain.