Once restrictions have eased many visitors to Granny Mouse Country House and Spa might be content to chill and even read a book in the quiet country surrounds, many also like to get up close and personal with the beautiful countryside.

The magic of the Midlands extends way beyond scenery and surrounds and offer a huge ‘to do’ list for those wanting to use up some calories and benefit from the clean, crisp country air.

Granny Mouse is one of the most convenient stop-offs for the ever growing crop of mountain bikers who are always looking for the perfect new trail against which to pit their skills and stamina.

Whether you’re looking for exercise with a difference, beautiful scenery, solitude, technical challenges, quick sprints or all day biking marathons, the Midlands has something for you – with the added bonus of plenty to keep friends and family occupied if they are not as eager as you to put pedal to the metal.

Known as one of the best mountain biking destination in South Africa, the Midlands is essentially a collection of different options – from tough mountain trails to quieter country roads through beautiful farmlands. Here, bikers can drift along, stopping to top up on some drinks and visit local art studios and organic deli's en route.

Depending on whether you’re looking forward to a leisurely ride or more challenging terrain, it’s always a good idea to check on the internet or with your local bike club to make sure you have the best option before strapping the bikes to the SUV and heading into the hinterland.

Because the Midlands (and Granny Mouse in particular) is only a short drive from major centres such as Johannesburg and Durban, it is always a good place to start.

The Midlands community is very proud of its natural heritage and several conservancies and conservation NGO's are highly active when it comes to mountain biking in the region. The result is a well-managed environment and a healthy relationship between conservation and mountain biking.

The Midlands is home to many passionate mountain bikers who, through a system of sanctioned access with land owners, have created the largest network of single-track trails available in the country. Some clubs have access to these more off the beaten track options too.

For those who are just starting out when it comes to mountain biking in the country side, here are some mountain biking tips for beginners:

  1. Make sure that you have plenty of safety gear (especially your helmet) – and spare tyres in case of punctures.

  2. Stay loose – let your bike do its work and be relaxed, this is not the Olympics, have fun and enjoy the scenery.

  3. Go easy on the brakes, try not to use them at the same time and adjust speed when descending down hills.

  4. Use your gears – with changing terrain, practice your gears, which will make the ride far easier.

  5. Look where you are going and don’t get fixated with obstacles, try and look beyond them.

Also remember that, whether you are a participant or a spectator, the Midlands and the Drakensberg is home to some of the best mountain biking and trail running events in the country. Even though many have had to be put on hold for a short while, be sure to book your place at Granny Mouse well ahead of time so that you know you have an extra comfy stop over when major events have booked out all the best venues!

Even for those who are not planning to out ride the biking fraternity, be sure to book ahead so that, after exploring our beautiful trails and waterfalls, you can head back to Granny Mouse for a great lunch or supper whipped up by our culinary artists or simply enjoy a massage at our Spa, as we said earlier, once restrictions have eased!

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