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The Elgin Valley, a 45-minute drive from Cape Town, is one of the major mountain biking hubs in the Western Cape – and the routes at Oak Valley wine farm, Paul Cluver wine farm, Lebanon and at Cape Pine are rated as some of the best in the country.

South Africa’s premier mountain biking event, the ABSA Cape Epic, put mountain biking in the Elgin Valley on the map, while more recently FNB Wines2Whales has been a major impetus in the growth of the sport, opening up new routes every year.

One of the most exciting developments, however, came in 2014 when Building Bridges @ Paul Cluver was elected as one of the projects for World Design Capital Cape Town 2014.

The project involved cutting down alien trees such as black wattle and blue gum in the Paul Cluver Amphitheatre and turning them into bridges and pathways; the building blocks to a brighter, greener future for both people and nature. The alien trees were replaced with indigenous species and, to the delight of the mountain biking fraternity, the purpose-built Amphi Bike Park opened in February 2014.

Several obstacles reflect the fact that the Amphi Bike Park is located on a wine farm, including a stepped descent of wine barrel lids and the famously intimidating Raka Bridge, which is built from 60 old wine barrels attached to a 50-metre-long tree trunk that is suspended from two other trees.

Dr Paul Cluver himself, a neurosurgeon turned woodworker, built many of the structures in the Amphi Bike Park, including several of the bridges that comprise the Building Bridges project.

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