Cape Town Cycle Tour
After 41 years, this is now one of the world’s leading cycle events, but when Bill Mylrea, John Stegmann and Louis de Waal first proposed the Argus Tour, it was meant to be a protest ride to ‘encourage’ the city council to think about bicycles as part of its urban planning, and look after cyclists on what they called the “busy roads”. Cycling has become so big in South Africa, thanks to the Cape Town Cycle Tour, that those dreamy objectives are now being realised across the city in the form of bike lanes, and cycle safety projects within and beyond the city limits.
The Cape Town Cycle Tour is the largest road cycling event on the South African calendar.
It’s a vibe
There is an energy on the route you won’t feel at many other events. For the professionals, it is a case of “see and be seen” – everyone who is anyone rides the Cape Town Cycle Tour. Newbies are encouraged by near-tangible waves of support from thousands of enthusiastic spectators who line the route. The weekend warriors and serious amateurs churn up the kilometres, marshalling their bunches in an effort to chase the proverbial carrot of a personal best time. Or the hallowed sub-three.
“Cycling owns Cape Town for the day,” comments Oliver Munnik who has finished more than 15 Cycle Tours, many in the elite bunch. “The whole city kind of sits back and it is the one day that you, as a bike rider, have the key to the city.”
Most beautiful route in the world
That “key to the city” unlocks some of the most visually diverse scenery you could think of. Passing by two oceans, fynbos-sloped mountains and a modern cityscape, the 109km course is arguably the most beautiful of any mass-participation race route in the world.
Traditionally the race is held on the second Sunday in March – and 2019 was no different. On 10 March, some 35 000 cyclists lined up at the Grand Parade Precinct before setting off on the iconic route that includes highlights and challenges like Wynberg Hill, Smitswinkel, Misty Cliffs, Chapman’s Peak and Suikerbossie.
The beauty of the event lies not only in the backdrop, but also the fact that it brings together all manner of cyclists from around the world. At elite level, it is the race every South African professional wants to win. Further down the ranks, it’s the benchmark event by which every serious amateur cyclist in the country measures themselves. A Cycle Tour PB is a much-cherished accomplishment and those in the realm of the three-hour mark wear the badge with pride.
The closer one gets to that, the smaller the increments in which improvements are measured. But those front bunches are the minority and for most, the day is much more about the camaraderie and the fun.
Whoever you are and whatever your ability, completing a Cape Town Cycle Tour is a definite tick against the bucket list and a source of enduring memories … until you make more on the next one.
Our very own
Many of the marshals on the roads and Rotarians. Both Jennifer and Lesley are members of the Kirstenbosch Rotary Club, and their job is to ensure the safety of the bikes while cyclists go for a bite to eat or something to drink after the race. In the attached photos we see them ensuring the bikes only leave with their rightful owners.
|Information and photographs taken from: www.capetowncycletour.com|