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Minutes of the Howick Mountain Bike Club AGM held on Wednesday 24th April at 5:30 pm at the DMC at Howick High School.

 

Apologies: Ivan Oakley, Gary Preston, Andre Nel, Roger Poole

Chairman’s report:

Mel Van Biljon raised a question about partnering with companies for both sponsorship and supplies in terms of track maintenance.

We have in the past had special rates from some companies, (Stihl, Husqvarna, Johnsons) but as Gavin Indicated we do not have much to offer these companies in return for their goodwill. Sappi does not allow sponsorship or logos of other companies – in conflict with Sappi.

Kath Fourie stated that Karkloof Club is experiencing similar issues with lack of members volunteering. It appears to be a global trend.

Paul Renchen asked a pertinent question: Does Sappi allow for subcontracting to someone else? – in terms of the option of going with Andrew Booth running maintenance of the trails.

Kath Fourie indicated that Sappi is not in favour of its land being used for profit for self and unless Andrew is willing to make large donations to a charity Sappi is not likely to support the move. Howick MTB club would still have to get Sappi approval on events as they have the land access agreement and are seen as custodians of the forest.

Grant Edkins said that collaboration is going to be key and that option A was not a bad idea as the club will get good trails.

Karen Andrews spoke as a past member who has left the club and stated that their feeling was that the club was focussing on Enduro events and that normal trails – G-bloc in particular was still not clear.

Gordon responded that the focus of the club was not Enduro and that many trails were open – albeit one going from 11 Karkloof and not G-Bloc. Access to G-bloc has become difficult as well.

Paul Renchen stated that relying on members and volunteers is no longer a viable option and other alternatives need to be looked at.

Bill Speight suggested put one labourer in charge of a specific trail and pay him per trail cleared.

Kevin Longmore suggested let’s offer solutions and less complaints.

Paul suggested that a subcommittee is formed to look into every angle of the Andrew Booth Proposal.

Gordon suggested that bigger work teams are required to clear larger sections more quickly.

Toni Keytel was concerned that we would loose the Identity of the club if we outsourced our events.

It was mentioned to perhaps put a tender out or an advert in the paper to see if someone is able to assist.

Kath Fourie spoke about the proposed Karkloof Adventure Tourism Incubator project with N3 gateway. 1.2 Million has apparently been set aside for a sustainable BEE business – this would include funding for tools, transport etc.

The original idea was that Howick and karkloof would share in using the services of this business.

She is reasonable certain that things will kick off in June July, but is also aware that there will be teething problems.

This does however have full buy in from Sappi and is a possible solution to trail maintenance issues in the future.

Trail knowledge would be essential.

So perhaps a swat team approach can work in the interim until this is established.

Mel von Biljon has recently moved here from Johannesburg and she was very complimentary about the trails and reminded us how lucky we are to have so many to ride.

She suggested getting groups of kids from school to come help – what are indemnity implications?

Jono Esteves said he has been part of the trail clearing group and that it is always the same people who come and help. He feels all the smaller groups need to communicate better and perhaps be more cohesive.

D6 communicator and larger WhatsApp groups have been suggested.

Jeff from Hilton Harriers felt that the incubator is a good idea as even from their club perspective few people always end up doing the bulk of the work.

Paul suggested we put out a tender to cover clearing in the next three months until incubator comes on board.

The new constitution was proposed and Mike Pallet spoke to it:

  • Origins in berg Wheelers document combined with work done previously from Howick Mountain bike side.
  • These are general guidelines and frameworks
  • It must be seen as a working document

Gordon called for a vote and the constitution was unanimously accepted.

Nolan Rickert said that him and his brother will continue to volunteer their time – he would like a week or two notice.

Kath Fourie said our fees are too low, Jono answered to this and stated that we have to be cheaper than Karkloof due to the reciprocity agreement and the fact that we cannot compete with Karkloof in terms of facilities.

Nominations and volunteers were called for to stand for the committee.

Mike Pallet

Paul Renchen

Andre Nel

Mel van Biljon

Gordon Beard

All volunteered to stand as committee members.

Jono Esteves did not want to be on the committee but said he is available to help with trail clearing

Kim Burnie said new committee must communicate what they need.

Gavin’s availability to the committee would be discussed

Kevin Longmore offered his work team on an ad hoc basis for clearing, he felt he was too busy to serve the committee but was happy to help.

Any use of the Howick MTB Club trail network requires a day license or an annual membership.

A day license consists of a Sappi Indemnity as well as payment of a day trail fee.

Annual memberships are available here

If making use of a day license please follow the following steps :

- Obtain and complete a hand written Sappi indemnity. Please complete the indemnity in full. Carefully remove the completed indemnity from the book and carry it with you during your ride. The copy is to remain in the book. The indemnity must be produced upon request.

- Pay the required trail fee. Mobile online payments are accepted through SnapScan (QR code ). Alternatively make use of the honesty box system.

- Day licenses are only valid for the day and are applicable to Howick Trails and Karkloof Trails.

OR

Make use of the MySoS mobile phone app for online payment and indemnity.

 Day licenses books for manual day licenses are available at :

- 11 Karkloof

- Howick Hospital reception

 

Please respect the fire warnings that are issued. They are for your own safety.Daily updates can be obtained from the Lions River Fire Protection Office on  033 330 6369  or  073 704 5862 . Take the time to understand the Fire Danger Index. If they inform you that it is a High Fire Risk Day, accessing the trails is strictly prohibited. If the forests are closed you WILL be removed from the area and may be barred from returning. The NO HEMLET, NO RIDE rule applies to all trails at all times. Rider indemnities are compulsory at all times and trail fees apply

 

Rules of the Trail

IMBA (International Mountain Biking Association) developed the "Rules of the Trail" to promote responsible and courteous conduct on shared-use trails. At the HMBC, we have chosen to adopt and adapt these rules to safeguard and further our access relationships with all land owner and managers.

NO HELMET – NO RIDE                                                  NO RESPECT – NO TRAILS TO RIDE

1. Ride Open Trails: Respect trail and road closures — ask the local club/ trail custodian for clarification if you are uncertain about the status of a trail. Do not trespass on private land.

2. Respect Access requirements: Obtain necessary day and annual indemnities as required.

3. Leave No Trace: Be sensitive to the dirt beneath you. Wet and muddy trails are more vulnerable to damage than dry ones. When the trail is soft, consider other riding options. Stay on existing trails and do not creating new ones. Don't cut switchbacks.

4. Control Your Bicycle: Inattention for even a moment could put yourself and others at risk. Understand and obey all bicycle signage and recommendations, and ride within your limits.

5. Yield Appropriately: Let your fellow trail users know you're coming —friendly greeting, a polite shout “yebo!”, or bell ring are good methods. Anticipate other trail users as you ride corners and hidden trail-lines. Cyclists should yield to other non-motorized trail users, unless the trail is clearly signed for bike-only travel. Cyclists travelling downhill should yield to ones heading uphill. Make each overtaking pass, safe and courteous. Keep in mind that conventions for yielding and passing may vary in different locations, or with traffic conditions.

6.  Never Scare Animals: Animals are startled by an unannounced approach, a sudden movement or a loud noise. Give animals enough room and time to adjust to you. Disturbing wildlife and livestock is not acceptable. Stop to let horseback riders pass.

7. Plan Ahead: Know your equipment, your ability and the area in which you are riding, prepare accordingly. Strive to be self-sufficient: keep your equipment in good repair and plan for changes in weather or other conditions.

8. Take note of emergency phone numbers: Emergency phone numbers are available at all cycle access boards and hubs. Enter these onto your cellphone for easy accessibility.

9. Adhere to FDI (fire) warnings: During the months of June – Sept be aware of the danger of fire. If you encounter unattended/unmanaged or unusual fires, contact the Lions River Fire Protection Association on 033 330 6369. (enter this number into your cellphone) and exit the plantations as quickly as possible.

10. Do not smoke whilst in the plantations: Smoking whilst on the HMBC trails is strictly prohibited.

11. Avoid operational areas and activities: Cyclists are at no time to be within 1km from any situation that may appear to be operational i.e. harvesting activity or from operational vehicles or areas indicated as operational.  

The MTB's adherence to these trail rules goes a long way to assisting in continued land access relations with SAPPI, Mondi, Ezemvelo, Wessa and other private landowners. It is up to us to behave responsibly!

Howick MTB Club follows IMBA trail grading guidelines. We are currently remarking all trail signage to reflect international icons.

 

Club Rides

Mon-Wed-Fri : 5am till +- 6.30am, at the tree by the Howick High School. Suitable for all ages and skill levels. A great way to get fit

Sat : Long ride leaving from the tree at Howick High School at 5am or 6am. This is a ride of usually 50km to 60km although sometimes further. Please confirm timings beforehand

Sun : 7am from the Howick Hospital. This is usually a shorter ride, including singletrack

Please note all rides are seasonal and weather dependent. Join our whatsapp group to stay updated or confirm any details. https://chat.whatsapp.com/F590C8rLsaX5eAnvUngnBX

Open Days

Open days are held several times through the year and are a convenient way to learn about the club and the trails. All open days are hosted from out main trailhead at 11 Karkloof. There will be a set route to ride at your own time or a guided ride. Sappi indemnity is compulsory but no trail fee is applicable on the day. Trail fee donations are welcomed. 

Please note all rides are seasonal and weather dependent. Join our whatsapp group to stay updated or confirm any details. https://chat.whatsapp.com/F590C8rLsaX5eAnvUngnBX

Build Days

Build days are held during the year. Anyone is welcome to attend and we usually work on specific trail features or build new trail. You are requested to bring some normal tools (e.g spade/rake) and water/snacks.  There is no better feeling than riding a trail that you know you have worked on !

Please note all build days are seasonal, trail dependant and weather dependent. Join our whatsapp group to stay updated or confirm any details. https://chat.whatsapp.com/F590C8rLsaX5eAnvUngnBX

Howick MTB Club Senior Cyclists

Meeting point is the gym at the Howick Hospital, Main Road. Ride on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. The destinations are Midmar Dam (25 km), Midmar Game Reserve (40 km) and the forest around Howick (30 km).

Often meet on Saturdays for a longer ride, followed by breakfast.

These rides are targeted towards the older, or not so high-performance cyclists, who no longer want to use the single tracks. They also favour the social contacts in this group.

All activities are promptly reported on FB with accompanying photos. Please follow this link for up to date plans and be informed about the rides and other activities.

Currently more than 20 cyclists take part in this group.

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