Why Tour France when you can Tour de Krantz?

Join Le Team on their an­nual week of moun­tain bik­ing, this time along some of the best back roads in the East­ern Free State

South African Country Life - - Travel - WORDS LIZ MCKEN­ZIE AND PIC­TURES

For some of us, to ease on down the road is a sim­ple mat­ter. For oth­ers, it can be a painful process that needs to be soothed with a cold gin and tonic in a very easy chair.

When our ex­pe­ri­enced guide Stephen Forster of Ride Away Tours talks about the ad­van­tages of cy­cling ‘tube­less’, I be­lieve he is re­fer­ring to bi­cy­cle tyres. I re­gret I am not ‘tube­less’, as car­ry­ing that spare tyre round my mid­dle makes $ % #¿

Since 2008, Le Team of long-stand­ing pals gather an­nu­ally to cel­e­brate our re­tire­ment years rather more vig­or­ously than grace­fully, by spend­ing a week moun­tain bik­ing on some of the best coun­try roads our beau­ti­ful land has to of­fer. Why tour France when we can Tour de Krantz at home?

Stephen un­der­stands our dis­cern­ing tastes and has cre­ated a tour that is ex­pertly tai­lored to pro­vide coun­try liv­ing at its best, with cy­cling, hik­ing and high­lights of the East­ern Free State for all to en­joy.

Our tour be­gins with an ab­so­lute gem at the Prynns­berg Es­tate near Clo­colan, where an im­pos­ing late-Vic­to­rian manor house is beau­ti­fully crafted from the sand­stone rocks that pile up against it.

Sue and Rick Melvill, our hosts who bought this prop­erty in 2002, have un­der­taken the mam­moth chal­lenge of restor­ing this unique es­tate. The art nou­veau aura of the prop­erty is such that I ex­pect to see ladies in grace­ful dresses

À $ pearls, and gentle­men in pin­striped trousers, tail­coats and top hats. In­stead, mid­dle-aged men and women in lu­mi­nous ly­cra, and cy­cle hel­mets, are check­ing their frames, gears and joints, of bikes and bod­ies alike. (We be­lieve the new ‘mid­dle age’ is the late 60s/mid 70s).

As the cy­clists set off to ex­plore the es­tate, guided by Stephen, the walk­ers ac­com­pa­nied by Sue en­joy hik­ing through the for­mal gar­dens, plains, kop­pies and hill­sides of the es­tate, stop­ping to visit the still func­tion­ing old stone church, St Saviours, built in 1900.

Sue ex­plains how they have pledged to up­hold the ideals of Charles New­berry, the di­a­mond mag­net who, when he built the man­sion in

1881, es­tab­lished a game re­serve on the es­tate to pre­serve ‘beau­ti­ful and var­i­ous an­te­lope from the dan­gers of be­ing ex­ter­mi­nated’. This game is still seen on the es­tate to­day.

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