The extended Rietvlei Magic singletrack had a new treat in the tail for FNB Wines2Whales Switchback riders in 2021. Rather than skirting the Rietvlei Dam the trail cut across it on a purpose-built trail.

Cape Trails build the majority of the singletracks used by FNB Wines2Whales. But the project of building a 120-metre-long bridge across the Rietvlei Dam was a little beyond their engineering capabilities. Primarily because, the owner of Paul Cluver Wine Estate, Dr Paul Cluver’s vision for the bridge meant that it would be a solid rather than floating bridge.

To ensure it would be built to last and remain above the dam’s high-water level, the farm employed a surveyor to establish the exact height of the bridge, which has been set to slightly above that of the dam wall, some 500 metres away.

With the assistance of Paul Cluver’s machine operators, who skilfully used a digger to hydraulically sink the stanchions of the bridge deep into the dam’s bottom while its level was lower in mid-winter. The deck was then added, perfectly level.

Mid-way across the dam the Paul Cluver and Cape Trails team even built an expansion, complete with a picnic table. While the FNB Wines2Whales riders have been flying by it, carrying speed from the rolling lower slopes of Rietvlei Magic, one can easily imagine stopping there, mid-ride, to take in the spectacular views both across the dam and to the north, towards the Groenlandberg mountain range.

While Paul Cluver led the charge in building the bridge, Cape Trails and Kaap Agri played an important role, too. The agricultural and lifestyle product supplier donated the wood with which the bridge was constructed. By using creosote treated poles and planks it should ensure that FNB Wines2Whales riders will be enjoying the Rietvlei Magic Bridge for years to come.