MOUNTAIN BIKING AT SIPI RIVER LODGE
By Will Clark
Real Mountain biking on Real Mountains!!
Over the years mountain biking has grown to become one of the most popular sports in the world, offering something for everyone – for some it’s just a way to keep fit or commute to work, for others it’s an adrenaline rush taking on serious trails at high speed!
Mountain biking in Uganda has been around for many years with many outfits running trips around the country with a mix of bike rentals and organised tours. Whilst all these trips are fantastic in their own right, there hasn’t yet been much that offers what I would consider ‘proper’ mountain biking. This is where Sipi Falls and Mount Elgon come in!
Being on the side of a mountain offers Sipi Falls and the surrounding area almost endless possibilities for biking with a mix of trails over various distances and varying levels of difficulty. Over the last few years of exploring we have opened up a few main routes in the area. The nature of the routes is a downhill single track – mostly compacted local trails which are perfect for riding and almost always empty of people – and murram trails to climb back up. We have a great new route that after climbing up to a cliff band and crossing the river, takes you into the National Park, through the forest and back down through the villages on some challenging trails. The biking in itself is incredible, add the fact that the scenery is some of the most stunning in the entire country and you’ve got the perfect combination for achieving the best day ever!
The truth is that whilst the trails can be challenging they actually cater for all abilities – it’s up to you how fast you ride and you can always jump off the bike and walk certain sections that may be a bit too much for you.
At the lodge there are currently just three bikes for hire although we are making a plan to bring in a fleet of quality bikes. For now we recommend bringing your own bike. Once up in Sipi we’ll point you in the right direction or if you prefer we’ll send you out with a guide who can show you the way.
For the last two years we’ve hosted the ‘Annual Sipi Falls mountain bike race’, a cross-country race over a 19km course. This event is slowly growing in popularity and is a great weekend event. The fastest time was posted last year with a time of 1hr 26mins over a mixed course of technical downhill some steep climbs and fast descents. It’s a relaxed atmosphere and we really try and encourage everyone to join in. The winner gets a bottle of whisky and we have a champagne podium for the top finishers!!
Whilst mountain biking in Sipi Falls is still in its infancy we see unlimited potential in where it can go. We have the perfect terrain for all types of biking. There are unlimited routes for exploratory rides through the villages, short easy routes for the whole family, or for the serious downhill riders there are 100’s of km of ridges and cliffs to explore and open up new routes. Another exciting possibility is to climb Mt Elgon with your bike! The route up Mt Elgon is a trail, not too steep and technical (depending which route you take), so my next trip is going to be hiking up and riding down! That’s a downhill route starting at 4321m and finishing back in Sipi at 1795m!! That seems like way too much fun for me, and a bonus is you’ll get back down so quickly that you’ll save money on park entry fees!!
So if you’re into your biking get yourself here and check out the trails – you’ll be wondering why you hadn’t been here before!! If you’re new to the sport then why not give us a call and we’ll show you the ropes in one of the most stunning parts of the country.
Sipi River Lodge offers a wide variety of accommodation, a great whisky collection and secure parking for your bike! So call us today, get yourself out East and enjoy the good times!