If you are cycling the Cape Town Cycle Tour for the first time in 2015, you have probably heard the words Suikerbossie and Chapman’s Peak more than a few times, but are these hills really as bad as people make out…?
The first time I cycled the Cape Town Cycle Tour (previously the Cape Argus), I did so on a rented 20-year old mountain bike that had done more miles than Mo Farah! The journey was a painful one, and as I only had two gears left by the time I reached Chapman’s Peak, I was one of the many who got off my bike (in shame), and pushed the old rust bucket to the top of what seemed like a very long stretch.
Much the same happened when I arrived at the base of Suikerbossie, I was exhausted, I could hardly change gears, and while the South African crowds were more than encouraging (I even got the odd push every now and again), this long steep climb was almost too much to bear – but I still finished (let’s not mention times here)!
In 2014, however, I had a completely different experience riding a high quality tandem with my partner in crime, and while both Chapman’s Peak and Suikerbossie were challenging after a long ride, we flew up both of them with incredible speed!
The South African crowds are absolutely amazing on this final climb of the Cycle Tour route, and when they are not offering you a beer, an energy drink, or a banana, they are throwing buckets of water over you, spraying you down with the hose pipe, and running alongside you – just for fun!
So if anyone asks me what I really think of Suikerbossie – well, I would have to say a lot depends on your bike, but the rest depends on your attitude. If you really want to get to the top and grab your first Cape Town Cycle Tour medal – you will do it!