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Old Hermon was the most popular man in town. He was also the fittest and the noisiest. That’s what made him so popular; he was the Bicycling Bugler.
In a time when the train from Cape Town only went so far, the post for residents of Riebeek Kasteel and Riebeek West was left hanging on an old olive tree between the town of Herman and the two Riebeeks.
On Wednesdays, Old Hermon of Herman would be alerted to the mail delivery with a sharp blast from the train’s horn. This would stir him to action. Hermon would hop on his bicycle, bugle holstered at his side, and speed between the towns bugling away. His blaring bugle told the townsfolk that the mail was hanging in the old olive tree. ready to be collected.
The mail was important letters and documents sent from the Castle of Good Hope to farmers; the mail was bitterballen and stroopwafels sent from the Netherlands. But more importantly, the mail was updates from the growing Cape Town community, sent to their country cousins, of all the latest and finest tea houses and coffee shops. When Old Hermon of Herman blew his bugle on mail Wednesdays, it caused a stampede towards the old olive tree.
The wiser residents of the region had long ago copied Old Hermon and invested in bicycles, so on Wednesday mornings early-rising farmers tending to their cattle would be met with the sight of Old Hermon racing away from Riebeek Kasteel with a horde of bicyclists seemingly chasing him down.
But Old Hermon was much loved and appreciated, and in a time when another local resident, Thomas Bain, was blasting open mountain passes to create shorter routes between burgeoning towns, it said much for Hermon’s popularity that he was routinely voted The Riebeeks Citizen of the Year at the annual Festival of Riebeeks.
One day, though, the mail came. Yet there was no bugle to herald its arrival. It sat in the old olive tree for days. The pamphlets for coffee shops started to drift away in the breeze, the bitterballen went unbitten, and the letters of importance from the Castle of Good Hope failed to reach their final destination. Eventually, a group of townsfolk mounted their bicycles and went out in search of Old Hermon. But they found nothing. Not a bicycle trail in the dirt road, nor an abandoned bugle at the roadside, nor any signs of Old Hermon or his beloved bike at his home.
The bicyclists of Riebeek Kasteel and Riebeek West rode for hours on long gravel roads, over mountain passes, past the town of Herman and on towards Wellington and back. It was as if Old Hermon had hopped on his bike and simply pedalled away into the distance.
Every Wednesday the mail still arrived at the old olive tree, and in honour of Old Herman, the same group of bicyclists would ride solemnly to the tree, to gather the mail, but also in the hope that they might catch a glimpse of Old Hermon. Some stopped at the tree and turned back, while others continued on the old dirt road to Wellington before returning home. Old Hermon, his bike, or his bugle was never seen again.
In honour of his services, though, and for igniting a passion for bicycles in the region, the small hamlet of Herman was renamed Hermon, while the old dirt road to Wellington was christened Old Hermon Road. Cyclists can still be seen riding up and down the Old Hermon Road, ever hopeful that the bugle might blare one last time.
Late entries are open, if you enter from Wednesday, 24 August 2022 until race day, you will be seeded at Registration when you collect your race pack. Late entries will also be available at the Registration venues
Old Hermon Gravel Ride Terms and Conditions
The inaugural Old Hermon Gravel Ride takes place on Saturday, 27 August 2022. For the new riders and kids the 20-kilometre is a great way to get into the swing of things. To try a first event, or to get used to riding in a group of people again. The 48-kilometre is a little harder, especially if you race it flat-out, but still easily manageable for moderately fit riders. Fitter cyclists should take on the 64-kilometre and push themselves a bit.
The routes have been updated since this route description was written, please familiarise yourself with the updated route maps. Please note, Saturday is expected to be quite chilly in the morning and possibly wet, please make sure you dress accordingly and are properly prepared for inclement weather.
The 23km route has become 20kms
The 45km route has become 48kms
The 60km route has become 64kms
The route in general, which is generally helpful
The route description for the Old Hermon gravel race is based on the number and types of animals we saw while completing the route recce.
If you require a more accurate route description, we suggest you enter the race, complete the route and then write down your impressions for future generations.
The start is fowl. Like, literally there are just all kinds of fowl everywhere, including 17 guinea fowl who guard the narrow vineyard path that leads riders from Welbedacht Wine Estate onto the route proper. If you can successfully navigate this corridor without clipping their wings, your race will go smoothly.
At this juncture, don’t feel sheepish if you take it slowly. The initial few kilometres are twisty and turny through the vineyards, on some fairly loose trail with a few off-camber turns added for good measure. As South African social media ranters might say, you have everything to “loose” here.
With regards to weather, it’s late August, so alpaca light jacket, rain jacket, basically everything in your wardrobe because only fools and golfers try to predict the weather.
For the 60km riders, after a few kilometres on Welbedacht, you head back towards Wellington on Oakdene Road, turning on to Rustenburg Road and a brief section of Old Hermon Road, then roar around a few farms before making your way on to Old Hermon Road riding in the direction of Hermon. Once you’re on the Old Hermon Road riding towards Hermon, it’s a flat-out gravel assault with minimal climbing.
The 20km and 40km races start the same as the 60km but instead of the loopy loop towards Wellington, riders turn left out of Welbedacht and pop out onto a gravel road; this is Rooshoek Road. Don’t make the mistake we did on the recce and get all excited because you thought the map said Roosterkoek Road.
From Roosterkoek Road, the 23km and 45km ride turns right on to Old Hermon Road, joining the 60km route.
Even if you haven’t trained through winter, you won’t be able to ride like a donkey here because this is an event with a fast, flat route on well-maintained dirt roads. You’ll crane your neck to take in the views as you fly along; owl be surprised if you don’t yelp with delight at the delirious speeds you hit here.
All three routes cross the Kompagniesrivier, with the 23km route heading right onto Palmietvlei Road immediately after the river crossing and beginning their ride back towards Welbedacht Wine Estate. There’s no chance for foal play here as you’ll be cranking out serious horsepower.
The 45km and 60km riders will head further along Old Hermon Road before turning at the designated turn-point and making their way back to Welbedacht along Old Hermon Road and then turning left onto Palmietvlei Road. No bull, this is a quick route, with no time for quacks. Slower riders will need to duck for cover as the peloton rushes home. Don’t create a beef with anyone, though. Keep left, pass right.
The finish for all three routes along Palmietvlei Road is identical, taking riders past Bontebok Ridge Reserve and back on to Roosterkoek Road before turning left into Welbedacht. The finish is narrow with tight corners; don’t be an ass.
A flippen, fast, fun, fiets, featuring fowl and foal. A quick vineyard spin sets you on your way to Old Hermon Road. Cross the river at the rickety bridge (don’t fall in the hole), hard right after the bridge, head home for a jolly loop and a jollier dop on the farm. This is the route for those who intend to imbibe more than they ride.
A searingly slick sizzling cycling circuit. Race out of Welbedacht – don’t crash on the loose gravel. Hit Old Hermon Road and pedal, pedal, pedal until the route markings tell you to turn around. Pedal, pedal, pedal until the left turn into Palmietvlei Road and race home just in time to hear that first cork go ‘pop’.
For the gravel master blaster who always wants to go faster; for those with a longing for going longer, for the rider on the dirt who doesn’t mind the hurt. The first 20km of the 60km route is a wide loop starting from Welbedacht that heads towards Wellington before winding through farm roads and then out towards Hermon on the Old Hermon Road. As Jacinda likes to say, go early, go hard.
In order to collect your race number at registration you need to provide either the email or SMS confirmation containing your name and race number. We urge you to collect your race pack before the event day to avoid unnecessary queues.
|Southern Suburbs |
Thursday, 25 August 2022
Cape Town Cycle Tour Trust Office
65 Avenue de Mist
12h00 – 19h00
Friday, 26 August 2022
Chris Willemse Cycles
Shop 12C, Willowbridge North
Carl Cronje Dr, Bellville Park
12h00 – 17h00
|Welbedacht Wine Estate|
Saturday, 27 August 2022
Welbedacht Wine Estate
In your race pack you will receive:
Permanent RaceTec MTB number board – This will become your timing chip for all future RaceTec-timed MTB and gravel events. If you do not have one you will be able to purchase a number board for R160 during the online entry process, or you can purchase one for R200 at Registration.
Cable Ties – Use the cable ties provided to attach the number board to the front of your handlebars.
Event sticker – This sticker needs to be applied to the top of the number board. Each distance will have a different coloured event sticker. PLEASE NOTE: This will be your confirmation of entry into the start chutes. You will not be allowed into the start chute if your sticker is not on your board., the sticker will have your seeding on it.
*Save the race day emergency number on your phone: 087 820 5605
20km – 09h00
48km – From 08h25
64km – From 08h00
Cut off: 13h30
E Bikes are welcome on all distances. If you wish to take part in the Old Hermon Gravel Ride using an E-Bike, you must select the E-Bike category when completing the online entry. If you fail to register in the E-Bike category, you will not be allowed to compete in the Old Hermon Gravel Ride.
An E-Bike rider may not start or attempt to start the race before their designated start group. Any rider who does so will be disqualified with immediate effect.
E-Bike results will be marked as such in RaceTec results and may not be used for seeding for other cycling events.
Stick around after your ride to enjoy a complementary roosterkoek and hot chocolate while you take in the stunning views from Welbedacht Wine Estate. The pub and tasting room will be open for some post-ride celebrations.
FOOD VENDORS will be on site with delicious offerings of burgers and pizzas.
A secure BIKE PARK & BIKE WASH will be available after your finish at no additional charge.
A small PRIZE GIVING will be held at 10:30 for the top 3 men and women riders from each distance. Lucky draw prizes will also be awarded throughout the day.
RESULTS will be available on the Racetec HERE
PHOTOS will available be available from our official event photographer, Chris Hitchcock HERE
Follow us on social media for the latest event updates
End your day off with a visit to the historic Welbedacht Wine Estate tasting room, the tasting room is in one of the oldest buildings on the estate and dates to the 1840’s which used to be the old wine cellar, it still has the old cement fermenters and underground tanks evident for guests to see and totally restored with a modern touch. Welbedacht Wine Estate will also be open for purchases, if you prefer to enjoy a glass with your feet up at home later on.
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