Here for the bikers....

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Trygve Roberts's picture
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Joined: 2014/06/12

Points: 9

Hi everyone. With a mother from Norway and a father from Welsh and Italian descent, I went to an Afrikaans school as a youngster with these "disadvantages". Die boertjies het my dik gemoer and I grew up tougher than most. I don't own a bike, but my neighbour, who is an avid BMW fan, is persistently trying to persuade me over many bottles of finest Cape Pinotage to change to 2 wheels. I'm thinking.....

Why am I here? For the last 3 years I have spent around 6500 hours, researching, documenting, photographing and filming South African Mountain passes. The project is now very close to being complete and many of our 30,000 views per month come from the biking fraternity. So I figured it would be the right thing to do to hold hands with the biking clubs and share the information I have gathered.

You will find the site easy to use and there are all sorts of lekker features to plan your trips. With over 300 passes on the site, there is something for everyone. The site is 100% free. Test it and tell me what you think? How can we do things better for bikers?

www.MountainPassesSouthAfrica.co.za

Trygve (Robby) Roberts
Editor www.MountainPassesSouthAfrica.co.za
Mobile 083 658 8888

Mark C's picture
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Joined: 2009/10/12

Italy, Wales and Norway all have fantastic biking roads.

Johan du Preez's picture
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Joined: 2007/06/20

Thank you for sharing, Trygve. The work that you're doing is amazing and prescious!

n/a
Trygve Roberts's picture
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Joined: 2014/06/12

I've been to Wales, but not the other two. Still on my bucket list - especially the Stelvio Pass.

Trygve (Robby) Roberts
Editor www.MountainPassesSouthAfrica.co.za
Mobile 083 658 8888

Andyman's picture
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Joined: 2007/06/22

Hi Trygve, as Geoff will tell you, I'm a fan and a subscriber of your Youtube videos on mountain passes as well as itinirent visitor to your website.

Always wondered how and where you get the time for all the 4x4ing you do as you've been very profilically publishing on Youtube the last year.

 

Good to see you here and you'd easily into our tribe.

Andyman
Anyone can ride a bike fast....   But can you ride your bike real slow???

Stan's picture
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Joined: 2010/03/21

Welcome to the forum, Trygve and thanks for sharing! icon_thumleft

Tony's picture
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Joined: 2008/08/24

what an incredible piece of work. Well done!

Question, what are the requirements for a road to be officially classed as a pass?

A bend in the road is not the end of the road... unless you fail to make the turn. ~Author Unknown

Eric Pretorius's picture
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Joined: 2012/04/11

I checked the site out yesterday and want to congratulate you on a fantastic job. Will definitely use to research passes when planning rides.

 

Trygve Roberts's picture
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Joined: 2014/06/12

That is an excellent question. The answer is complex. I have consulted with some very smart people on this one, including padmaker/engineer Dr Graham Ross. If you go into the Extreme Passes listings on the website you will (for example) see on the highest passes listings the Sani Pass on position No.1 and Potters Pass in East London at the bottom of the heap. Both are "classified" as passes, yet there is a massive difference between the two.

Then there are other weird anomalies like Rankins Pass in Mpumalanga which isn't actually a pass - it's just a name, but with search engines and an info mad world, it got scooped up into the statistics almost by accident.

Back to your question: There are a wide range of pass profiles. Most start at a river, go over a mountain or neck and end at a river. Others start at a summit point, drop down into a river and rise back to a summit point. Some have two or more mini summits and so on - the variety is never ending. Most passes as listed on the government maps show the name of the pass alongside the road in question, but they never ever show begining and end points. Many of the Tracks4Africa and mapSource maps do show start and end points. So who was the person or authority that decided that XYZ pass should start to be measured at a specific point and end at an equally random point. Official sign boards can appear in the middle, at the summit (the norm), the start or the end. Poorts are also different to passes in that they follow closely (at ground level), the course of a river through a mountain range. They generally have very easy gradients and are almost universally subject to flood damage.

Throughout the build process of the MPSA website, the question has had me pondering. After 320 passes, you do start to get a feel for these things and I use a combination of experience, common sense, map study and Google earth to make my decisions. Since there is no public record of these points, it is a matter of conjecture. The start/end points I decide on, obviously effect the vital statistics of the pass. For example if the pass is longer, the average gradients will decrease and so on. But I dont think anyone is overly concerned with this sort of trivia. Having said that, certain people have a passion for a specific pass that they have an emotional attachment to - and sometimes I get some weird emails - but those go with the job!

On a lighter note, the strangest email we have had came from a young lady who wrote: "How much do you charge to hire out the Helshoogte Pass for a wedding for 92 guests?"

Another gentleman asked (on the Outeniqua pass at George):" How much are the caddy fees at Fancourt?"

We try to be nice to everyone and send appropriate replies.

Now that got me thinking!!!! Laughing


Trygve (Robby) Roberts
Editor www.MountainPassesSouthAfrica.co.za
Mobile 083 658 8888

Weedkiller - Adie's picture
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Joined: 2011/06/03

Bliksem, ek LAAAAIK

Aangesien ek die res van die jaar redelik op die fiets gaan wees en oor die hele land gaan ry maak dit my trip beplanning nog meer interessant.  Ek was byvoorbeeld met my vorige trip slegs 26km van Bergenaars pas en kon eerder in Witsand slaap.

In my soeke na verkieslik grondpad passe het ek dit effe moeilik gevind.  Trygve, any possibility to add the 'Type' somewhere, (ek soek net grondpad passe) first place will be in the Text baloon on the map. It will elevate the usability (which are already good) to another level. (I know it will probably make loading a bit slower)

I will defenately use this for my next trip via the eastern side of SA to Nelspruit.

FANTASTIC, KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK.

Adie

 

Trygve Roberts's picture
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Joined: 2014/06/12

I actually think your suggestion to code the passes tar or gravel on the (master) map is an excellent one. I had my IT guy set the site up in such a way that passes with black dots were those still to be produced and the red dots are for passes already produced.

Now that the project has reached maturity, we can use those self same codes and use the black dots for tar and the red dots for gravel. It would be a relatively simple matter to make the change, but of course, it would take some time to process all 300+ passes.

If you scroll down on every pass page, there is a Fact File where it is stated whether tar or gravel. So it would not be necessary to code each pass individually, just the main map on the Home page, where (I would imagine) most people do their planning from.

So, there you go. The first suggestion from this forum and your wish is granted. It will take around a month to complete that little phase.

At your service, meneer.

Trygve (Robby) Roberts
Editor www.MountainPassesSouthAfrica.co.za
Mobile 083 658 8888

Geoff Russell's picture
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Joined: 2007/09/25

Any more of this and we will have you on a BMW with us Robby. You and Sharon would fit in with us like a hand in a glove.

And save you a ton on fuel.

Committee: Ride Captain

Zanie's picture
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Joined: 2013/11/21

Your website is a fount of awesomeness! My partner used it to plan a ride this past weekend over Van Der Stel Pass and the old Houwhoek Pass. I'd definitely not want to drive Houwhoek with a car (vegetation in the middle seems to think the sky is the limit), but it was relatively easy on a bike, even for a newbie like me, with just one rough section. The scenery was stunning.

Trygve Roberts's picture
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Joined: 2014/06/12

Hearing comments like this, makes us very, very happy. Laughing

I will post an interesting pass destination once per week. 

Trygve (Robby) Roberts
Editor www.MountainPassesSouthAfrica.co.za
Mobile 083 658 8888

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