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Pondo Pedal


Mountain Biking


The Grindrod Bank Umngazi Pondo Pedal race, held annually in June, has in just three years become a popular fixture on the mountain biking calendar. Billed as the epitome of purist Mountain biking, what truly sets this event apart is that it is a race with heart.

Participants experience some of Africa’s most sought-after virgin mountain biking trails, whilst simultaneously raising much-needed funds to support the surrounding Umngazi community.

The race consists of a total 115 kilometres of tough terrain, with each race-day beginning and concluding at the award-winning Umngazi River Bungalows and Spa, where cyclists are based for the duration of the race. The hotel management team conceptualised the race in conjunction with top sports event company B-Active, bringing Grindrod Bank onboard as corporate partner.
“We partnered with Umngazi in this initiative as it was clear that we shared values such as service excellence, long-term relationships and investing back into the community,” says David Polkinghorne, CEO of Grindrod Bank and a race finisher. “We’re focusing our investment on this small tight-knit community and their buy-in has been a vital aspect. Many villagers are in fact employed by Umngazi, and the hotel invests in educating school leavers. Effective education is an absolute priority.”

Following a needs analysis to ascertain the optimal allocation of funds, money raised is used for a series of building upgrades at local schools in order to help overcome daily challenges experienced within the learning environment, such as limited teaching space, cramped classrooms and poor kitchen facilities. In coming years, the bank will further engage with schools and local government to ensure that teaching aids and resources are supplied and maintained.

The race caters for a variety of intermediate and advanced biking appetites, from nature lovers, to adventure seekers and racing snakes. The route takes cyclists along a diverse route that includes district roads, swamp trails and cattle paths, where teams are often cheered on by the local Umngazi community.

For more info on the Pondo pedal, please visit our site on or join us on Facebook. Future Pondo Pedal dates are as follows:

4 - 8 June 2014
3 - 7 June 2015