Motorcycle route – Main Reef Road, Gauteng. Part One

Now here is a motorbike route, the most significant 160km of road in South Africa i.e. Main Reef Road!Too long for one post so this is part one from Randfontein to China Mart and China Mall. To understand South Africa is to ride Main Reef Road, receptive to its story and the lives of people who worked this area and built the thriving world class city of Johannesburg

This is the route that sprung up 130 years ago following the discovery of the richest single gold reef in the world. Today the route remains the same as it was then; the link between various gold mines along its length, most of which are closed today with the investment in other mining areas further from Johannesburg.

motorcycle route main reef road Gauteng

The beginning of the 160km route on the western side 20 km beyond Randfontein. Gotta start with some open road!

By name ‘Main Reef Road’ runs from Randfontein in the West to Evander in the East made up of two roads i.e. the R41 in the West and the R29 from Johannesburgto Evander in the East.

Motorcycle route R41 Guateng

Riding tip. On fast bends like this remember to look through the corner, to your exit point. Do not focus on the surface in front of the motorbike

By starting beyond Randfontein one can still get in some fast open road riding because the remainder of the route is semi built up 80kph zone with fewer robots than you may expect!

Motorbike route R41 Randfontein

Its the story behind decay that is fascinating. People's lives, their visions and their struggles. - their story is our story.

Any explosion of development always has long term causalities and so the route is littered with “abandonment” both in the mining and commercial sector.

Mining headgear motorcycle route R41

A headgear above a shaft in the Randfontein area. A simple solution - a cage, a pulley, a motor and a lot of cable

Some of the mines are still open. Others have been the scene of bloody encounters between security companies and illegal miners still working the gold bearing rock faces deep underground.

George Harrison Park, Johannesburg.

George Harrison Park Main Reef Road. This officially marks the spot where gold was found in Johannesburg about 130 years ago. The park is now derelict and unkept, its significance forgotten in the rush to nearby China Mall in our quest for that next bargain

Where it all began, the claim of George Harrison on Main Reef Road, his reward for making the find on the farm Langlaagte.

Main reef road R41 Johannesburg South Africa

Most of Main Reef Road is like this as it follows the underlying gold reef for 160km. Max 80kph, wide and well maintained. Not that many robots and largely empty on Sunday mornings. Suburbia on one side and open holy ground on the other.

The industrial backbone of Johannesburg runs along Main Reef road so it is busy during the week; this is definitely a Sunday morning ride. Along this road people actually make things, unlike the north of Johannesburg where they shuffle papers around, move figures from one column to another and claim to be creating wealth on behalf of us all.

The following 7 pics are taken at Rand Leases in the vicinity of S26 11.372 E27 53.816

Main reef road R41. Motorcycle route Gauteng

Cape Town has Table Mountain. Paris has the Eiffel Tower. Peru has Machu Picchu. Johannesburg has its story of gold and its own pyramids in sand and concrete

The now derelict mine workings are in the middle of suburbia. They create their own controversy including issues of land usage and polluted ground water as a result of 6 seasons of heavy rain.

Old mine road. Motorbike route Main Reef road, Gauteng

Just off the route between the old mine dumps and abandoned workings small dirt roads wind back and forth

Main reef road runs along this swathe of open ground above the reef itself. Suburbia is less than 1 km away but this open ground remains untouched and undeveloped

Mine dumps, Johannesburg, South Africa

An old mine dump on Durban Deep now well covered by grass and foliage to control the dust. These are the pyramids of South Africa, a story in sand and yellow metal

Johannesburg’s mine dumps. One in Johannesburg CBD (Top Star drive inn) was protected under the government’s cultural protection act because of its age and historical significance. It contained too much gold however was removed by the mining company involved despite a court order to leave it alone. People were going ‘to appear in court’ but nothing happened.

BMW 1100 GS

I love my bike; my go-anywhere passport to my fascination with the world around me, its stories and its opportunities

These areas above the reef are for the moment ‘open’ to alternative uses like off road bikers, rifle clubs and those seeking spiritual enlightenment (see below)

Holy ground

The sign reads 'Woman's Entrance - Remove your shoes'. This is Holy Ground; and so it is. Its up to government and the private sector to make good use of this valuable unused land in the middle of Greater Johannesburg.

Dirt road between the mine dumps. Johannesburg, South Africa

Just off the route. The road between the mine dumps of Durban Deep shared with the guys on their plastic bikes and the local Rifle Club

Motorbike route Main Reef Rd R41 Johannesburg

The security post abandoned. In most places along this motorcycle route you are free to roam the old mining sites; its probably safer in a group although I have never an an incident. A few years ago a man approached me and said "I'm going to kill you". I looked him in the eye and said "That is not a good idea!". He replied, "You are right" and wandered off - True Story.

So this is what the Pot of Gold at the end of the rainbow has come to? The massive importation of Eastern goods to satisfy our unquenchable need for our next retail therapy high.

Chine mall and China Mart

Main Reef road is about the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. The mine shafts are silent and new pots of gold are springing up like China Mart and China Mall - and we call this progress??

Riding tip: Dehydration is a big problem when biking in hot gear in SA. The best way to avoid this is to drink a lot the night before. Note that alcohol, fizzy drinks with lots of sugar and caffeine cause the body to expel water (or use water). If you start the ride hydrated your drinking pattern during the ride is ‘maintenance’ and not ‘catch up’ – (not possible on a hot day)

This route is long and very full of interesting stuff. This is part one. Part two and three will following in the coming weeks.

Main reef road, Guateng, Johannesburg. R41 and R29

Overview of the route - Part one, two and three. Forget the North-South line from Jhb CBD to Sandton City and Fourways. The true backbone of Johannesburg runs West-East along the main gold reef from Randfontein to Evander along Main Reef Road

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Part One shown below is 100km

Main reef road R41

Part one of this route, the R41 from Randfontein to Johannesburg CBD. For convenience I have added the N14 which takes you to the beginning of the route from the Sterkfontein Caves area

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Click here for the Garmin Route file
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Feel free to comment, add and correct. Comments are on and are read daily.

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Gauteng motorcycle route Hekpoort Magaliesberg

Motorcycle route hekpoort valley
The Hekpoort Valley is a jewel of a ride both on gravel and on tar.

The ancient Magaliesberg Mountains just outside Johannesburg is one awesome ride both on gravel or on tar. In under an hour the city is far behind and you can just drink in the wildness and recharge your city batteries.

Gravel Route

Hekpoort valley motorbike route

The route is surrounded by farms to the east and game lodges to the west

At present the gravel route is in poor condition after a number of years of heavy rain. The roads department in their efforts to stabilize the road have made the surface rocky and uneven.

Motorbike routes near Johannesburg

Trees close to the road can hide wildlife. This is not a route to ride fast.

Wildlife in the area has rebounded in the last five years and jackals, ant bears, porcupines, tortoises, warthogs, monkeys and small buck can be seen along the route which is an added reason not to ride more than 60kph – the other reasons are the washouts and potholes !

Motorcycle gravel route close to Johannesburg

Monkeys can often be found in the trees alongside the road

Potholes and washouts on this route are difficult to see at speed so take it easy and enjoy the ride.

Hekpoort valley Magaliesberg

This crossing is flooded all year round but is only deep directly after the rain storm.

Riding tip: Huge puddles are the result of a hard surface where the water cannot be absorbed into the ground. This means that riding straight through a puddle is usually a far better option than trying to go around it where it appears to be dry. Often the ‘dry’ area is thick mud – one of a bikers worst enemies (along with deep loose sand)

Gravel motorcycle route Johannesburg

Riding through the water is usually your best option. Fast flowing water after a rainstorm however can be deadly.

Riding Accessory: Although heavy and bulky a aerosol can of tyre repair foam is a must. Recently my ride was brought to a halt with a leaking value stem; it had cracked at the base where it meets the wheel rim. This is almost an impossible roadside repair without a can of this handy stuff.

Route shown below starts in the tiny town of Skeerpoort to the west of Hartebeespoort Dam near to the supermarket and fuel station – you will see a sign that says Hollybrooke Farms Horse Trails. The route ends at Western Cane Trading. I have been eating there since 1999 and their Biker’s Breakfast is good ! They can accommodate up to 70 bikers if you book the week before. Note: This route does not take you over the legendary Breedtsnek Pass which is for experienced riders only.

gravel motorbike route johannesburg

Hekpoort Valley - 63 km of glorious gravel road! Note: There are two small sections are tar.

Click here to download a bigger version. Click here to download the Garmin file. Click here to download the waypoints (text file)

Fuel: There is no fuel on this route. The best place is in the town of Skeerpoot in the beginning or Magaliesberg at the end.

Tar Route

There is an equally impressive tar version of riding the Magaliesburg where you riding alongside it for 183km. The roads are in good condition

Scenic motorbike routes near to Johannesburg

One awesome tar route around the Magaliesburg Mountain range between Rustenburg in the west and Pretoria in the east - 183km as shown. The 14km deviation (bottom left) is to Western Cane Trading - a great place to eat. They can accommodate up to 70 bikers if you book the week before.

Click here to download a bigger version. Click here to download the Garmin file. Click here to download the waypoints (text file)

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Awesome Gauteng Motorcycle Route – To Parys

Motorcycle routes - Gravel road to Parys

Great gravel road heading south east to Parys. Fast and clean with very few side roads.

Awesome Gauteng Motorcycle Route – Johannesburg / Parys – 15 January 2012.

Great route offering tar and/or gravel roads roughly 280km round trip to one of the best restaurants to be had anywhere . . .

Baragaweth Airfield on the gravel road to Parys has this awesome Harvard aircraft outside its clubhouse

Two awesome routes to Parys – one on gravel and the other on tar using the secondary roads through the West Rand mines and the farming communities of South Western Gauteng.

Motorbike gravel route to Parys

Roads with trees like these can hide animals and pedestrians. The deep shadows can also mask potential threats. Therefore it is always best to take it easy on a road like this

Riding Tip. Your stopping distance should never exceed your sight distance.

Tar road motorcycle route to Parys

Clean tar road route to Parys with few heavy trucks and buses over the weekend

Once in Parys consider eating at “Feast” opposite the Spar in the main street. Feast has to be one of the best restaurants anywhere catering with flair and style for every culinary persuasion including vegan. They also have a great range of preserves on sale to take home after your ride (never forget the folk at home!)

Tar route on the west and gravel on the East – or make it a round trip about 280 km in total from Randburg. Note that there are no fuel stations except on the N12 and in Parys.

To access the dirt road (waypoint parysdirt1) exit left off the Moroka Bypass N12 at the intersection with the R558 travelling past Lenz Military Camp. To access the tar road (waypoint parystar1) exit left off the Moroka Bypass N12 at Glenharvie turn off. Parys dirt and Parys tar (mainly R500) – Two roads to Parys both of them great weekend rides.

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Click here to download waypoints only (txt file)

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