They had a chilly start in Cape Town this morning with temperatures dropping to just 1°C, but winter doesn’t last for long in that part of the world, and both spring, and the start of the South African cycling season, will be here before we know it.
South Africa is one of the best places in the world for a cycling holiday, and while escorted cycling tours run throughout the year, things really begin to heat up in December, when the first of the Western Cape’s three most iconic sporting events takes place, the Stellenbosch Cycle Tour. This is followed swiftly by the 99er Cycle Tour in February, before the crème de la crème, the Cape Town Cycle Tour in March 2018.
If you fancy cycling in South Africa this winter, here’s a brief overview of each event, and what it has to offer international cyclists:
The Stellenbosch Cycle Tour: 3rd December 2017
The Stellenbosch Cycle Tour is a magnificent 97km race through the Western Cape Winelands. Attracting some 5,000 national and international cyclists each year, this well-organised event is suitable for both professional and hobby cyclists, and while there are a few demanding climbs along the way, namely Helshoogte Pass right at the beginning, the total accent is just 1285m, which is mild when compared to many European rides in the Alps.
The Cape Winelands are perfect for a winter break, especially in December when the temperatures are warm and the wine is cool, and if you like the idea of cycling, wining, dining, and sightseeing, the Stellenbosch Cycle Tour will slot seamlessly into your travel itinerary.
The 99er Cycle Tour: February 2018 (date TBC)
One might automatically think that the 99er Cycle Tour is 99km long, and it was when it was first established in 1999, but today it’s a 102km route starting and ending in the Durbanville region of the Western Cape, and it’s a fabulous ride! Hosted by the El Shaddai Christian School in Durbanville, the event is organised by over 350 volunteers, who dedicate their time in a bid to raise funds for the school, while coordinating this fantastic annual cycling event.
Much like the Stellenbosch Cycle Tour, the 99er Cycle Tour is a premier seeding event for the Cape Town Cycle Tour, and while it may not be as ‘international’ as the other events in our line-up, it’s well worth a ride, and there’s every chance you’ll make new South African friends along the way.
The Cape Town Cycle Tour: 11th March 2018
The world’s largest time cycle tour, the Cape Town Cycle Tour (previously the Cape Argus) remains one of South Africa’s leading sporting events. 35,000 cyclists line up each year to take part in this magnificent 109km route around the Western Cape, which traverses along one of the most picturesque coastlines in all Africa.
Entries for the Cape Town Cycle Tour are like gold dust in South Africa, and if you are not lucky enough to secure one in the ballot, you need to be quick to get one from one of the many charity groups. Some international travel agents have guaranteed entries for the Cape Town Cycle Tour, so if you want to join the line up in March 2018, now’s the time to secure your place!