Hey Holla: Q&A with Holla Founder, Nic Jordan
We interviewed Holla Trails Founder, Nic Jordan, to find out more about how Holla started, the vibe, his favourite routes and more…
How and why did you start Holla Trails? I was riding around the farms with friends and more and more people started joining us and we were worried farmers would stop us from riding there, so I started toying with idea of creating a trail system. When a young lady cyclist sadly got run over and killed on the M4, I realised riders needed somewhere safe to ride.
How involved are you at Holla these day? Are you hands on? I am very involved in the strategy and the philosophy of Holla Trails as well as how the trails should be presented. I guess you could say I fine tune the experience 😉 I am quite particular about how the business is run so I often go past the trail head and give input and we hold a bi-weekly management meeting.
Holla has such a nice vibe at the trail head and coffee shop, how have you managed to create this energy? To be honest we have such a cool, hardworking and fun crew at Holla. This combined with everyone always being so happy when they come for a run or ride creates the atmosphere. I often say its such a nice place to work as you so seldom see anyone grumpy so our job is just encouraging the team to have fun and good banter with the clients.
What is your favourite route? That’s a tough one. I love certain parts of different routes. The last bit of the Pink long single track is unbelievably fun riding, the Red single track is so beautiful and totally underrated and the Maroon is a dream for trail running.
Are you a trail runner or cyclist or both? Both!
What community projects are you involved in through Holla? Snipr – We have provided the funding for an intersection to be covered by number plate recognition cameras that identifies stolen or suspect vehicles and makes the area safer for all reasons but particularly for the farmers and their staff who let us run our trails through their farms.
We have also worked with Osizweni School from the very start where we do grounds and some building maintenance. The school is based just off of the Yellow route.
What do you love most about Holla Trails? I love the joy it generates and the impact it has made in so many peoples lives from simple joy to the dramatic, where it’s had huge health improvements for people. We are a community and seeing happy faces, friendships cultivated and knowing we have been the catalyst for that, brings great satisfaction.
What initiatives have you taken to make Holla more eco-conscious? We have a philosophy of “choose single track not single use” so we don’t provide takeaway cups anymore and we only sell water in glass bottles. You can purchase a re-usable Holla branded glass coffee cup at he trail head if you do wish to take your coffee on the go!
What has been your biggest challenge with Holla from a business point of view? Running Holla has quite big overheads and the first 6-7 years was spent just trying to break even. While in the beginning it was started as a passion we still had to have a bakkie of guys on the trails early every morning. Holla Trails only exists because of the goodwill of a large number of farmers and while it’s their generosity that allows the trails to exist, how wonderful is it that so many people support the system and always have a valid permit indemnifying the farmers when riding, even though it’s so easy to access illegally if they want to?
I never would have imagined what an amazing bunch of people we would have attracted and how big it has become in 10 year. With 340kms of trails, I believe we are the biggest network of trails in South Africa!