To spread the good fortune which mountain bikers enjoy FNB Wines2Whales have extended their charity programme to include 15 official beneficiaries in 2019. Each charity will receive a complimentary standard entry, for any of the three events, as well as an additional reserved entry, for any of the events. Additionally charities will be able to purchase block bookings of entries to the Pinotage event, where a dedicated charity start batch will help create a vibe of #SeriousGEES around the riders taking part for a good cause.

As an added incentive the event will be aiding the charities in their fund raising efforts in the build up to and during the race. Additionally the most successful charity drive will be rewarded with a complimentary entry to one of the 2020 events too.

“We are very excited, as an organisation, to be working with such a wide range of exceptional charities,” Marc Erasmus, Account Manager, for FNB Wines2Whales said. “Some of them we have been working with for years while others are new to us. Both, we are sure, will make great use of the platform provided by the FNB W2W events to raise valuable funds for their charitable efforts. It also feels great to be able to contribute to the remarkable works of these charities.”

“FNB Wines2Whales is so much more than just a mountain bike race and it fills us with pride that we are able to help those less fortunate than us while going about our work on the events” Erasmus concluded.

Among the 15 official charities is the Alta du Toit Aftercare Centre. The centre has a proud 40 year history of helping adults with intellectual disabilities by providing them with nursing care and skills development. Currently there are 160 residential and 50 day-care clients benefiting from the charity’s work group, sports and social activity programmes.

The CHOC COWS will arguably be the most readily recognisable of the official charities on the trails. The COWS will be pedalling their way through the 2019 FNB Wines2Whales in their famous Holstein Friesian cow suits, knowing that they risk heat stroke to raise funds for children with cancer.

There will not be much time to get a good moustache going by the time the Shiraz event wraps up on the 3rd of November but the Men’s Foundation of SA will be in attendance. Their Movember campaign has grown over the years to include not just prostate cancer awareness but also testicular cancer and mental health issues too.

The charitable spirit of FNB Wines2Whales need not stop with the official charities though. Individuals wishing to raise funds for a cause close to their hearts are welcome to do so in the build-up to the events too. To do so they can log on to the races’ Charities and Beneficiaries page on the website: From there they will be directed on how to set up a GivenGain account.

As a reward, BigBox Containers has allocated a prize for the team who raises the most money for their chosen charity per event: a stay in the BigBox Luxury container for two, complete with real beds, fresh linen and air conditioning! Now that sure beats roughing it in a tent, especially if you’ve enjoyed one too many glasses of the region’s famous wines!

To donate to one of the official charities please visit

Rainbows and Smiles
Anna Foundation
The Chaeli Campaign
Cape of Good Hope SPCA
Samaritan’s Feet
Operation Smile South Africa
Men’s Foundation of SA
The Pebbles Project Trust
Vuselela School Makeover
Mission Without Borders SA
Alta du Toit Aftercare Centre
CANSA Active

Mountain biking is a thirsty business, so it is fortunate for all FNB Wines2Whales entrants that LinAqua are committing to keeping every rider hydrated.

Stellenbosch based mineral water brand LinAqua will be taking care of every FNB Wines2Whales riders rehydration needs from 2019 and beyond. Having recently joined the stage race’s sponsorship family their focus is clear; to provide mountain bikers with high quality drinking water so they can get on with the important things, like riding their bikes and enjoying the #SeriousGEES.

LinAqua first started bottling water, on the Linquenda farm, in March 2019. The water is extracted from deep granite formations and is bottled in 100% recyclable bottles. In fact, even the caps of LinAqua bottles are 100% recyclable. Along with the companys environmental consciousness they are also committed to job creation in their area, employing and upskilling members of the local community.

LinAqua is owned and managed by cycling enthusiasts, Paul Roux, the Managing Director of LinAqua Water explained. “As a community driven business, we wanted to be involved with the FNB Wines2Whales events as it is important to supply cyclists with clean natural drinking water to replenish the natural minerals they have sweated out while on the bike,” he elaborated.

The early summer heat and losing fluids while riding can cause dehydration, Hendrico Burger, FNB Wines2Whales Race Director stated. We are therefore thrilled to welcome LinAqua into our sponsorship family. It can be easy to forget to drink enough water after a stage, but with LinAqua’s bottled mineral water readily at hand it will make it far more convenient for riders to rehydrate.

Burger continued: It is important to FNB Wines2Whales that LinAqua’s bottles are 100% recyclable. Single use plastics are obviously a major concern and as one of the foremost mountain biking stage races in the country, we feel it is our responsibility to lead the way in the reduction of plastics which get sent to landfill. We will be working with LinAqua and all our other sponsors and suppliers to devise ways to mitigate the amount of plastic used during FNB Wines2Whales.

To find out more about LinAqua please visit, while for more information on FNB Wines2Whales please visit


E-Bikes are the fastest growing sector in cycling but events have been slow to allow them into races due to a number of restrictions. Luckily the FNB Wines2Whales Pinotage event is unbound by such limitations, so for 2019, E-Bikers are welcome!

To ensure the safety of their fellow riders all E-Bikers, and their non-pedal assisted partners, will start in the event’s final batch. But they will be able to ride the entire route and with a battery swap service (conditional to you bringing your own spare battery of course), the distance won’t be a concern.

With the added power of an electric motor helping them along, the E-Bikers will be able to take in the route like never before. They’ll be able to cruise up the Vergelegen Climb and conquer any obstacle the race throws at them. As long as, of course, their E-Bikes have the walk-assist function… pushing 20+kg bikes up the Gantouw Pass without that handy function might be a touch tricky. And you can be sure no rider on a one HP(human power in this case) mountain bike is going to lend a hand.

“The rationale behind allowing E-Bikes to take part in the mid-week event is to make it more inclusive,” Sarah Harrop, Head of Marketing and Communications for FNB Wines2Whales, explained. “We’re hoping to attract riders who would otherwise not be able to take part in an MTB stage event for reasons that could vary from disability, age, health issues or simply fitness. It also allows the opportunity for stronger partners to introduce friends, family members or youngsters to the sport without the “10 hours per week” training sacrifice. We will ensure that the inclusion of E-Bike riders will not interfere with the race itself.”

Charging E-Bikes can pose an issue in a race village, however AMPED has come to the rescue and will be ensuring that all E-Bikes are charged and ready to rumble each morning.

The effervescent Joanna, or Jo as she’s better known, Dobinson is one of FNB Wines2Whales’ official ambassadors. She loves nothing more than up-skilling women on mountain bikes through her brand Biking in the Bosch. To help women, of all skill levels, prepare for the 2019 events Jo is hosting three FNB Wines2Whales Women’s Rides on the 13th and 20th of July as well as the 10th of August.

The rides will be hosted through Jo’s skills and coaching company Biking in the Bosch and are free to all female mountain bikers. Those who have already entered the FNB Wines2Whales will receive a complimentary Ciovita race jersey. To secure your spot please email [email protected] and let us know which event you’d like to attend.

Dates and Venues

13 July – Jonkershoek

20 July – Hoogekraal

10 August – Tokai

See our Facebook event

What You Need to Know

The Women’s Rides are for all female mountain bikers, experienced or novice; regardless of whether you intend to ride FNB W2W or not. The idea is to gain confidence on the trails in an inclusive environment where everyone can safely push their limits and learn from Jo as well as fellow riders.

For each session you are required to bring your bike, usual MTB gear (including a helmet most importantly) and #SeriousGEES. Then meet at the designated trail head by 07h30, pay the trail permit fee and be ready to pedal out on a two hour ride by 8am. Upon returning to the trail head riders will be treated to a complimentary glass of bubbles from Wildekrans Wine Estate.

What You Can Expect to Learn

Mountain biking is about more than just fitness. You need grit, determination and sometimes the bush mechanic skills of MacGyver to get you home. With Jo’s help you’ll learn and, knowing Jo, laugh your way through being nervous around CO2 canisters, to plugging punctures for the men in your riding group in no time. Plus she’ll be providing pointers on bike setup, on-bike position and of course some skills tips too.

Book Your Place

Email [email protected] to join one of the group rides. And if you have already entered one of the 2019 races be sure to include your Ciovita jersey size as you’ll be receiving a FNB Wines2Whales cycling top at the first ride you attend.

Land Rover, our official route and vehicle partner, are assisting in ensuring that there’s as much #SeriousGEES on the trails as there is in the famed Race Village. With the gees-o-meter already ringing after our recent Route Update announcement, Land Rover knew that the only way to elevate the excitement was by designating sections of each day’s trails to smiles, skills, and thrills.

Introducing the Land Rover Experience Sections!

Candice Lill’s 2018 FNB Wines2Whales victory capped the best season of her career thus far; but halfway into 2019, she is on course to exceed last year’s results. We caught her in fine form after her European racing block and put her perfectly honed singletrack skills to good use to showcase how each Land Rover Experience section can (and should) be ridden. Here’s a breakdown of what’s to come:

Willie’s Trail

Willie’s Trail provides the first of the events’ Land Rover Experience trails. Located in the run-in to the Grabouw Country Club and the final water point of the day, it provides riders with the chance to test their skills on a lengthy piece of trail that could become sandy if the sun comes out. The trailhead is within easy walking distance from the spectator point at the Grabouw Country Club so expect fans to line sections of the tight and twisting singletrack and cheer you on.

Strava: FNB W2W | Willie’s Trail

KOM: Lance Stephenson (03:48 | 2019)

QOM: Barbara Benko (04:21 | 2019)


Having been rebuilt for the 2019 events there can be no argument that Pofadder is a fitting choice for Stage 2’s Land Rover Experience. At 420 metres long it is by no means the lengthiest singletrack of the stage but it is sure to be the most memorable. It starts as a path cut into the steep mountainside before crossing a the ravine on an  impressive bridge built partially from the farm’s retired wine barrels. The nervous among the FNB W2W field need not be concerned as the bridge is covered by a wire mesh, ensuring excellent grip regardless of the weather conditions.

Strava: Pofadder ST

KOM: Xavier Damseaux (00:52 | 2017)

QOM: Sarah Hill (01:17 | 2018)

The Gorge

The Gorge will be more than familiar to any FNB W2W old hand. The trail hugs the cliff face while below to the left the Onrus River bubbles downstream towards the sea. Featuring an intimidating initial drop, on a bridge, it gradually opens and becomes increasingly easy to ride at pace. It is definitely less technical than it looks, so do not be unnecessarily intimidated, trust your skills and your bike will do the rest.

Strava: FNB W2W | The Gorge

KOM: Alfred Horne (1:05 | 2017)

QOM: Sabine Spitz (1:26 | 2019)