Bikes & Wines in Stellenbosch

Reading the strapline “South Africa’s only carbon negative tour of the Cape Winelands” made this green girl rather curious. Louise de Waal from Green Girls in Africa wanted to find out more about the people behind this statement and more importantly how a tour can be carbon negative?

"Well the answer is quite simple. Bikes ‘n Wines organises mountain biking tours around the Cape Winelands instead of driving from wine estate to wine estate, a healthy, fun and green option. However, that does not explain the carbon negative element… or does it? Bikes ‘n Wines donate one tree to Greenpop for every ten riders, so even the carbon generated in other aspects of the tour is off set, making this tour at least carbon neutral, if not negative. 

Image credit: Louise de Waal

A great concept that beckoned further investigation – by experiencing the mountain biking and testing their credentials. Arriving at the Bikes ‘n Wines’ Bicycle Shed just outside Stellenbosch, we were welcomed by Bradley, our tour guide. I was a little apprehensive, as I battle somewhat with my lower back and a recent mountain biking experience did not make my top 2014 experiences. I shouldn’t have worried, however, as Bradley helped me pick the right mountain bike, which was in excellent condition, and made sure I was completely comfortable. We all got helmets, water for on the way, and an energising snack, before setting off. 

The weather was slightly overcast, making the cycling a little less taxing, especially since we were all rather inexperienced mountain bikers. It took some time to get my head around the 24 or so gears and the pedalling motion, but cycling through lush green meadows, grape laden vineyards, and up to a vantage point with gorgeous views across the Stellenbosch region, made it all more than worthwhile. 

Image credit: Louise de Waal

Bikes ‘n Wines organise guided rides throughout the Cape Winelands from the Hemel en Aarde area near Hermanus to the wineries on the slopes of the stunning Bainskloof Mountains at Wellington. They cater for all abilities on half and full day mountain biking tours to hard core multiple day rides.Our tour was just a half day experience with still time to visit two local wineries and spend ample time enjoying their tastings. Enjoying our wine tasting at Skilpadvlei and seeing the outdoor children’s playing area, I recalled a conversation I recently had with a friend with two small children. She mentioned the struggle of balancing the adult enjoyment of wine tasting and a scrumptious meal in the Winelands, while ensuring the children also have a good time.

Image credit: Louise de Waal

A Bikes ‘n Wines tour could be the perfect solution. They fully cater for families with children as young as 12 months with bike baby seats, buggies, half bikes, and children’s bikes to suit kids of all ages, and they can tailor the ride to include some of the more child friendly wineries, such as Skilpadvlei or Spier. A real fun way of spending quality family time in the great outdoors, while at the same time mum and dad can indulge in some good food and wine."

Louise de Waal writes for Green Girls in Africa

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