Cape Town Cycle Tour History

It all began with a leisurely breakfast in 1977. The breakfastees – engineer Bill Mylrea and architect John Stegmann – can even remember what the breakfast cost: a princely R1. The subject was cycling, cycling safety for the small number of recreational cyclists who travelled the roads of the Western Cape, and mobility for the masses.

What Cape Town needed as it expanded apace, more than anything else, was a network of safe and efficient cycle paths that would keep riders safe and allow commuters to get to and from work swiftly and in one piece. After many years of submitting, pleading, begging and cajoling, these efforts were getting nowhere, mainly thanks to government’s lack of will, and partly because of lack of kickbacks. Not even a 3 000-signature petition could persuade the Department of Transport to just look into the possibilities. It became clear that the established cyclists needed to revolt. And so they did. Mylrea and Stegmann created The Big Ride In.

Held under the auspices of the newly formed Western Province Pedal Power Association (now called PPA) in 1977, it set out to demonstrate that, actually, a lot of people rode bikes. And so they did, with hundreds riding into the Cape Town CBD, to the City Hall, the Grand Parade, Adderley Street and the Foreshore. Included in their number was the mayor, John Tyers. And it was impressive, to all but the relevant authority, which still saw no future for bike paths. From this hugely unsuccessful success was born the Peninsula Marathon – a gruelling event that would, according to the experts at the WPPPA ‘require at least two months’ preparation’. They even went as far as recommending: ‘Unless you are able to spend R300–R500 on a super machine, your best bet is a ten-speed tourer (with drop handlebars, if you like) for around R100 new, or R50–R75 second-hand.’ The Peninsula Marathon never saw the light of day, as an event. In late 1978 legendary Cape Town mountain biker and potter Steve Shapiro harangued the marketing folk at The Argus (where he was working at the time) to get involved.

It was to be a mass-participation event open to all who wanted to enter. That second bit was important: this was a trying time for forward-thinking sports administrators, and actually for forward-thinking humans. From the outset, the organising committee wanted the Cycle Tour to be an official, sanctioned event, but no matter how much the Department of Sport loved the idea and wanted a part of it, their proviso that it only be open to white participants remained a stumbling block, to the degree that Mylrea was forced to write the department’s representative an extremely polite letter in the build-up to the event, telling him that this was a non-segregated event. This was brave stuff in the late 1970s, when BJ Vorster and PW Botha were ruling the roost. But the spirit of cycling, and its inclusivity, prevailed, and on 28 October 1978 over 500 cyclists left the start line outside the Castle in Strand Street.

The route we know and love today almost didn’t happen, on a number of levels. Initially, a number of options were looked at – northwards to Melkbos and back; out to Paarl for a 250–300km return trip; at one point it was even going to be a two-dayer – before the founding fathers settled on a start as close to the City Hall as they dared, before heading south along the newly built Blue Route freeway and on down to Simon’s Town. From there, the initial plan was to head into the Cape Point Nature Reserve, turn around at the farthest point, and for the riders to return whence they came.

Unfortunately (or fortunately, if the thought of 35,000 riders negotiating that narrow reserve road in two directions is too scary), the managers of the park, SANParks in today’s parlance, threw their toys out of the cot, and rather than kowtow to yet another quasi-government department, the organisers decided to bypass the entrance to the reserve and head through Misty Cliffs, over Slangkop and then Chapman’s Peak and Suikerbossie, before finishing at the lamp-post opposite what is now The Bay Hotel (it was called the Rotunda in 1978), where a pair of tables welcomed finishers.

The plan was to start with a bang – the SADF was persuaded to ‘fire’ a cannon from one of the Castle ramparts; in reality, they agreed to put a thunderflash in what looked like a cannon. At 07:00, precisely nothing happened, as those entrusted with our national safety failed completely to ignite the glorified firework, housed in a cannonesque steel pipe that was also packed with flour to simulate smoke. After some muttering, a second attempt was made, with disastrous effect as the entire contraption blew up. Thankfully nobody was hurt, and the first batch of riders – the non-registered – got under way.

From its infancy, the Cycle Tour set standards in world cycling, and world sport. This was to be the first time that the average Joes would race the same course at the same time as the officially sanctioned racing cyclists. The world and national governing bodies were, and still are, dead set against this happening, for any number of nonsensical reasons, but the organisers were determined to have a celebration of cycling for all cyclists, so the split-group arrangement was instituted to great effect. The event would separate the two well into the 1990s, and the federations are still, regularly, threating ‘their’ riders with dire consequences if they ride this unsanctioned monster, 41 years later. Thankfully, sense prevails each time, unmentionables are unknotted and the biggest timed bike race in the world marches on.

 

Source: https://www.capetowncycletour.com

 

The world’s biggest timed cycle race – the Cape Town Cycle Tour – turns 41 this year and is expected to be as big as ever. Last year, during the height of the water crisis, the Cycle Tour Trust bought two-million litres of water, which they put into the Cape Town municipal grid. But, the water crisis has subsided now, and they’re back to doing what they do best … putting on the country’s best cycle race, which attracts overwhelming support from the many spectators dotted along the tour’s 109km route.

 

7 Places to watch the country’s biggest cycling event and the date, route and entry info for those participating

Even if you’re not riding the Cape Town Cycle Tour, it’s still a very special event to be a part of, even as a supporter: It’s the biggest cycling event in SA with 35000-plus riders taking on the 109km route starting in the Grand Parade precinct and finishing in Green Point. We have a list of spots along the route from where you can watch the cyclists  and some great things to do while you’re there.

Or perhaps you’re a cyclist and you haven’t entered the race. No worries, we have the link to where you can enter on and even some info on how to you can still partake after entries have closed. Plus: How to bring your bike on a plane, if you’re flying in for the Cycle Tour.

CAPE TOWN CYCLE TOUR 2019 DATE, TIMES AND ROUTE INFORMATION
The Cape Town Cycle Tour Road Race takes place on 10 March 2019. Last year, the start was moved from Hertzog Boulevard to the Grand Parade Precinct to avoid the wind complications that caused the cancellation of the 2017 race. Other than that, and reaching Nelson Mandela Boulevard earlier, the race follows the traditional route around the Cape Peninsula taking in the sights along Simonstown, Misty Cliffs, Noordhoek and of course Chapmans Peak.

WHERE TO WATCH AND WHAT TO DO
The Cape Town Cycle Tour is regarded as one of the most beautiful races in the world. And you can be a part of it by hitting the roadside and cheering on the cyclists. Here’s where you can watch the riders passing through and show some gees too.

Edinburgh Drive
Edinburgh Drive AKA Wynberg Hill is an early test of the riders’ mettle because of its steep gradient. Your support will be most welcome, especially to those who at that point feel that they may not have trained enough for the race.

Getting There: It’s a pretty long slog but you can catch a train to Plumstead and walk to the top. Alternatively, you can drive there and find roadside parking, or park in the parking lot opposite Victoria Hospital.

Glencairn Beach
This is a flatter part of the route where racers normally maintain a quick pace. Watch them zoom by and spur on those who may still be feeling flustered after Edinburgh Drive. If it’s a scorcher out, you can head down over the train tracks to take a dip in the tidal pool.

Getting There: Road closures rule out using your car to get here. Instead, grab a train to Glencairn Station and make a day of it.

Simon’s Town
It’s a pretty hectic slog along this section and, depending on the time you’re there, most riders will be going pretty slow, some may even be struggling. Help them along with words of encouragement and maybe even a cold Coke (although there is a water point in the vicinity). While you’re there, why not set some time aside to explore Simonstown.

Getting There: As with Glencairn, driving here is out of the question, but a select amount of trains go all the way to Simonstown.

Noordhoek
With the biggest test lying just ahead (Chapman’s Peak) every rider will be a little nervous heading through this section, especially beginners who have no idea what they’re getting into. A little “you can do it” will go a long way to give them the vooma to take on the challenge. If you get tired of cheering the cyclists on why not head to  Noordhoek Farm Village which is home to the famous Cafe Roux.

Getting There: With no train station and no escape from road closures, this vantage point is best saved for those within walking distance of Noordhoek’s main roadt.

Hout Bay
Tired, but relieved cyclists will be coming through the Hout Bay area after mastering the gruelling Chapman’s Peak. The experienced ones will know what lies ahead, the inexperienced may only have heard the legends. Either way, while you’re here why don’t you head to Hout Bay Harbour for a walk-around the Bay Harbour Market.

Getting There: If you’re a smart driver you can find and access a good viewing point with your car, especially if you live nearby.

Suikerbossie
This is what lies ahead of Hout Bay. It’s neither steep nor long, but Suikerbossie has become a legend along this route because most riders are spent after what came before. Your support is probably most needed here. It’s close to the final stretch, so a little reminder of this could provide some motivation. Getting There: Strictly for those who live close by.

Sea Point
The final stretch: it’s fast and jubilant riders will be thinking about nothing more than the finish line. They may or may not need your support anymore, but it’s satisfying to see them flying along after the long and hard is done and dusted. You can do this while having a drink and a bite to eat at Strolla Restaurant and Bar.

Getting There: 
Natives of Sea Point and surrounds have it easy. A smart driver will be able to avoid the road closures and get to Sea Point Beach Road although some walking will be required.

Source credit: www.capetownmagazine.com

4 Jan 2017

LEVEL 6 WATER RESTRICTIONS

The City of Cape Town has implemented Level 6 Water Restrictions, effective from 1 January 2018 until further notice.

But what does it all mean? Well, a whole lot.

RESTRICTIONS APPLICABLE TO ALL CUSTOMERS

No watering/irrigation with municipal drinking water allowed. This includes watering/irrigation of gardens, vegetables, agricultural crops, sports fields, golf courses, nurseries, parks and other open spaces. Nurseries and customers involved in agricultural activities or with historical gardens may apply for exemption.

The use of borehole/wellpoint water for outdoor purposes, including watering/irrigating and filling/topping up of swimming pools, is strongly discouraged in order to preserve groundwater resources in the current dire drought situation. Borehole/wellpoint water should rather be used for toilet flushing.

All boreholes and wellpoints must be registered with the City and must display the official City of Cape Town signage clearly visible from a public thoroughfare. All properties where alternative, non-drinking water resources are used (including rainwater harvesting, greywater, treated effluent water and spring water) must display signage to this effect clearly visible from a public thoroughfare.

No topping up (manual/automatic) filling or refilling of swimming pools with municipal drinking water is allowed, even if fitted with a pool cover.

The use of portable or any temporary play pools is prohibited.

No washing of vehicles (including taxis), trailers, caravans and boats with municipal drinking water allowed. These must be washed with non-drinking water or cleaned with waterless products or dry steam cleaning processes. This applies to all customers, including formal and informal car washes.

No washing or hosing down of hard-surfaced or paved areas with municipal drinking water allowed. Users, such as abattoirs, food processing industries, care facilities, animal shelters and other industries or facilities with special needs (health/safety related only) must apply for exemption.

The use of municipal drinking water for ornamental water fountains or water features is prohibited.

Customers are strongly encouraged to install water efficient parts, fittings and technologies to minimise water use at all taps, showerheads and other plumbing components.

RESTRICTIONS APPLICABLE TO RESIDENTIAL CUSTOMERS:

All residents are required to use no more than 87.5 litres of municipal drinking water per person per day in total irrespective of whether you are at home, work or elsewhere. Therefore, a residential property with four occupants, for example, is expected to use at most 10 500 litres per month.

Single residential properties consuming more than 10 500 litres of municipal drinking water per month will be prioritised for enforcement (see note 1). Properties where the number of occupants necessitates higher consumption are encouraged to apply for an increase in quota.

Cluster developments (flats and housing complexes) consuming more than 10 500 litres of municipal drinking water per unit per month will be prioritised for enforcement (see note 1). Cluster developments with units where the number of occupants necessitates higher consumption are encouraged to apply for an increase in quota.

You are encouraged to flush toilets (e.g. manually using a bucket) with greywater, rainwater or other non-drinking water.

No increase of the indigent water allocation over and above the free 350 litres a day will be granted, unless through prior application and permission for specific events such as burial ceremonies.

RESTRICTIONS APPLICABLE TO NON-RESIDENTIAL CUSTOMERS:

All non-residential properties (e.g. commercial and industrial properties, schools, clubs and institutions) must ensure that their monthly consumption of municipal drinking water is reduced by 45% compared to the corresponding period in 2015 (pre drought). (See note 1 below.)

All agricultural users must ensure that their monthly consumption of municipal drinking water is reduced by 60% compared to the corresponding period in 2015 (pre drought). (See note 1 below.)

The operation of spray parks is prohibited.

No new landscaping or sports fields may be established, except if irrigated only with non-drinking water.

For users supplied with water in terms of special contracts (notarial deeds, water service intermediaries or water service providers), the contract conditions shall apply.

NOTE 1: Failure to comply will constitute an offence in terms of the City’s Water By-Law, 2010 (or as amended). The accused will be liable to an admission of guilt fine and, in accordance with Section 36(4), an installation of a water management device(s) at premises where the non-compliance occurs. The cost thereof will be billed to the relevant account holder. Customers with good reason for higher consumption need to provide the City with motivation to justify their higher consumption.

Other restrictive measures, not detailed above, as stipulated in Schedule 1 of the Water By-Law, 2010 (or as amended) still apply.

Exemptions issued under Level 4B and 5 restrictions still apply, subject to review with the possibility of being revoked. Water pressure has been reduced to limit consumption and water leaks, and such may cause intermittent water supply.

In summary, the biggest takeouts are:

  • Residential units consuming more than 10 500 litres per month will be prioritised for enforcement
  • Non-residential properties to reduce consumption by 45%
  • Agricultural users to reduce consumption by 60%
  • The use of borehole water for outdoor purposes is discouraged in order to preserve groundwater resources

Source: thesouthafrican.com

Great photos of Monday’s Cape Cycle Tour coming through Simon’s Town.

Pictures by Glen Knox

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