The Brewery at the Hemel-en-Aarde Village was filled to capacity Sunday, 5 May 2019 as bikers arrived at the Houw Hoek Tour finish line.
According to co-owner, Marc de Maudave Bestel, their computer software recorded 1 600 covers but he estimates that there were 2 000 people in total who attended throughout the day. Coffee stands, cash bars, a jumping castle, open fires and a live band were provided to welcome the riders and their families.
The purpose of the Houw Hoek Tour, a non-competitive 2-day mountain bike (MTB) stage event, is to give riders the opportunity to experience a multi-stage event in preparation for competitive MTB races later in the year. Each of the two stages was approximately 50 km, mostly on gravel roads which included jeep and single tracks.
The Houw Hoek Tour is not for beginners or novices as it requires a high level of fitness as well as experience in riding along single tracks. But it gives riders the opportunity to cycle some of the FNB Wines2Whales race routes.
Stage 1 started at 08h00 on Saturday, 4 May 2019 and finished at the Houw Hoek Hotel. This stage included the Thandi, Paul Cluver, Korteshoven and Houw Hoek single tracks.
Stage 2 also started from Houw Hoek Hotel and went down the historic Katpass, via the Beaumont and Wildekrans winery trails, along the Bot River. Riders then went onto the Karwyders tar road, over the steel bridge and then on the single tracks that link the four historic cottages on Bot River Farm. At the De Bos Dam wall, riders then turned right down the Onrus River into the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley towards the finish at the Brewery.