FatTracks REPORT: The ups & downs of 2020 and what’s in store for 2021

Baakens Bash 2020: Entries are open!
TERMS AND CONDITIONS

Photo by Tim Foster on Unsplash

2020 has truly been a challenging year in every sense of the word, and yet the sun keeps on coming up in the East and setting in the West, and life continues…

It is with this frame of mind that the 2020 committee pushed so hard to have what is arguably one of our best years in terms of infrastructure and development. 

Our focus continues to be centred around more people experiencing the beauty of the valley and its trail network, and the value of our work over the past years showed it’s true worth when lockdown restrictions were eased.

Thousands of people poured into the valley, many of them having never entered the Baakens before, and it was rewarding to see the efforts of our club affording so many a reminder of the worth of their freedom.

Most of you would have seen the work that has happened over the past six months, but herewith a summary if you missed these:

PUMP TRACK

This has been a long project and I’m glad to report that it is nearing completion. There is still some grooming to be done in early 2021 and our lights still to be installed.

Rubicon and Steel Pipes and Fittings have very kindly become involved in supplying the steel work and streetlights which are to be erected and we look forward to this affording a little bit more riding time to those that use the facility in the evenings.

Thank you to both these companies and to Cyclopro for the labour that they provided to help move the tons of soil required. Thanks also to East Cape Mountain Biking for their financial contribution towards this.

JUMP LINES

These were a request from our members and a facility which is still a work in progress. You wanted some jump lines to learn and develop your skills, and the club delivered.

There is still more to come, but what has been erected seems to have been very well received. There is no better confirmation than a bunch of kids all whistling and hooting over the jumps, followed by Errol Black with the grin of a Cheshire cat!

Thank you to Kerry Bonnage for his donation of much of the timber which was used on the features, and to the crew who spent weekends driving cordless drills and chainsaws to help erect these. These thanks include Pierre, Warren, Kerry, Wells, Con, Colin, Rob, Kyle and the others who gave up their time.

TABLETOP LINE

There’s no doubt that this line gets used the most out of all of our trails. In both young and old, airtime seems to be growing in popularity and Justin is frothing to build another line.

We all look forward to this being completed next year.

FENCING

We were advised to safeguard as much of our development efforts against any liability claims. It is unfortunate to have to do so, but nonetheless a show of due diligence in protecting the insurance policy that we have.

Guidance was taken from Amarider who suggested installing some “filters”, where the relevant indemnity notices could be posted. We chose to limit these to the trailhead area and as such installed the three stiles.

Going forward, the trails around The Container will become one way only. Please help others understand the importance of adhering to these.

RIVER CROSSINGS

Thanks to Ivor Smith for his work and funding on the river crossings as well as the efforts of his team to cut back alien species along some of the more frequently used paths.

His efforts where further supported by Alistair – Supacrush, Matthew – Cape Courts and Arnie van Jaarsvelt. 

Riders, runners and walkers all appreciate dry socks Ivor, top man!

YOVUTA

There were unfortunately a few collisions and near misses reported due to the pure number of people on the trails since lockdown eased.

This was one of the reasons for our approach to the municipality for permission to develop the new river trail which has been called Yovuta by our trail builders.

The name bears a broad Chichewa reference to “being difficult”, this not necessarily a reflection of the skills needed to ride the trail, but more so to the hundreds of hours that it has taken to get to where it is – and there are still more needed to finish this.

Should you take a walk or ride down this trail, please take a plastic bag and help us collect some of the many years of rubbish that has accumulated along the river’s edge.

A special mention of Alan Monsear-Wilson, who asked that all his friends wanting to give him a present for his 70th, rather donate the money to FatTracks. Alan, this is much appreciated, and we look forward to using some of the funds to replace the alien trees with species that are endemic to the Yovuta trail.

CAMERAS

We finally managed to get the crowd funding money released and installation of the cameras at the bottom of the Linkside pipeline is currently underway.

We were hoping for this to be done by Christmas but unfortunately missed this due to year-end pressures.

To Pam Golding, Intersec, Atlas, and the many individuals who contributed personally to the funding of these cameras, all valley users owe you a debt of gratitude and we look forward to the safety that these cameras will provide.

We also look forward to the cameras going over to live monitoring in the next few days. We will soon share where the secret coms button is hidden.

Subs 2021

We are glad to report our affiliations with Hayterdale Trails, Norm Hudlin and Crazy Dave’s in 2021.

Our members like trail diversity and we are happy to provide this again next year.

FatTracks members will receive a 50% discount at Norm Hudlin and be able to ride at Dave’s for R40. Both offer great riding and a coffee shop for riders and parents to enjoy.

Access to the trails at Hayterdale will be fully covered and reduced glamping rates will be afforded to members. They have also built a large, covered clubhouse and are in the process of building a pool for members to cool off in.

Our usual store discounts apply and will be updated on our website in early 2021.

Where does your money go?

When considering our monthly rates in relation to the cost of a cup of coffee, there is no arguing that these are very reasonable.

The reality is, if FatTracks didn’t do all the work in the Valley, the trails would revert to the state they were not so long ago – and all mountain bikers would be worse off.

We need your support, so please encourage as many of your friends, family and those who use the valley to join our club and help us do more.

We cannot do this without you!

The committee for 2021 is as follows:Top of Form

  • Andrew Rist (Chairman)
  • Dee Hayter (Vice Chair, Treasurer)
  • Claire Warneke (Club Secretary)
  • Vicki Laing and Andrea von Holdt (Events)
  • Justin Steyn (Pumptrack and Jump lines)
  • Quinton Bezuidenhout (Trail builders and valley trails)
  • Niki Mizen (Trailforks app maintenance and signage)
  • Craig Galway (Merchandise and specialist of other special stuff)

I would like to extend a heartfelt thanks to the outgoing Committee Members for their efforts in 2020, specifically to Jerran and Chris who remain members but stand down from their portfolios.

Running a successful club like FatTracks takes an extraordinary amount of time and effort and the committee offer this willingly. You guys are champs and mountain bikers around PE salute you!

To all our members, the reality is that 2021 Is guaranteed to bring its own challenges, and we’ll face these as they come. Rest assured though, we’ll continue to chop, dig, plant, build, brush, smooth, cut, screw and groom as hard as ever… and the trails will continue to be awesome!

I wish you and your families all the best for the remainder of the holiday season and for the year to come.

Travel safely, stay strong and pedal as often as you can!

Regards

Andrew and the FatTracks Team

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