06 May, 2015

Playing in the Modder


Called Central Park Trails Modderfontein, these popular trails are found on 275-hectares of nature reserve. Modern Cyclist has often visited Modders, as this bike park is popularly known, over the last few months so we feel we can now give you a proper impression.

It’s fast. It’s furious. It has reeds on either side of the single track. And on Strava it is called simply “fast reeds”.

Guys like James Morland and Conraadt van den Heever have, according to Strava, done it at speeds of around 37 or 38 kilometres an hour. Now that’s pretty fast, considering it has a few bends and bumps along the way. That said, however, it is enormous fun.

Not that the rest of Modders’ trails aren’t fun. You’ve got to try the Strava-named “Hard Rock Reverse”, a delightful little loop at the beginning of the trail which takes riders over a pretty sharply-descending rock before passing a bird hide, or the fantastic “Up and down the creek”, a one-and-a-half kilometre-long technical single track which intertwines itself in the riverine trees near a creek.

Like many trails, Modders has a choice of colour-coded trails which are graded according to fitness levels and technical ability, starting with orange, then green, then yellow and then red. Although trail distances vary as new sections are added while old sections are left to rest, distances are under 10 kilometres for orange, around 20 kilometres for green, more than 30 kilometres for yellow and over 40 kilometres for red.

Trail caretaker Neal Corbett says that teams work regularly on the trails.

“We try and keep the trails clear, although we don’t want to lose the natural appeal,” he explained, “if a branch falls onto the trail, we’ll often build a bridge over this obstacle to make the trail more interesting.”

The work that is done on the trails make all of them more rideable and therefore more fun for everyone who rides them.

Modern Cyclist recommends that regular visitors mix it up a bit, include some of the red or yellow loops while doing the green loop. And add different loops every time you visit Modders, just to keep it interesting.

All in all, Modders is a really good trail. It doesn’t have particularly difficult technical ascents nor does it have particularly scary descents and drop-offs, and this is probably the reason why it is so popular for events (like the monthly GalileoRisk Insurance Solutions Over The Moon night mountain bike series) and families alike.

And Modders is also popular for those racing snakes training for the next big event. By keeping the intensity high, racers can get a good two- or three-hour-plus workout on the yellow and/or red routes with the added bonus of good technical skills practice.

Over the weekends, the RideFree crew take over the start/finish area of the trail with paramedics, bike washes, skills clinics and other promotions happening on Saturdays and Sundays, even if there are no events planned for that weekend.

As previously reported in the Modern Cyclist October 2014 issue, RideFree is a safe cycling initiative which aims to have bike parks like Modders (and Avianto to the west of Johannesburg) safe havens for cyclists.

Back to that section called “fast reeds”, which you simply mustn’t bypass, I managed a top speed of 28 kilometres an hour, and I’m no racing snake. So it’s definitely worth hitting it as hard as you can. And think about it, if you fall, you’ll land in soft reeds.

Check out for more information on costs, opening times, route changes and events.

Raymond Travers

Raymond Travers

Modern Cyclist Editor |