35th Cape Argus Pick n Pay Cycle Tour: The Mother of all Cycle Tours
Started in 1978, this year saw the Cape Argus Pick n Pay Argus Cycle Tour in its 35th year and the event has no signs of slowing down. This world-class event that sees athletes gather from not only around South Africa, but around the globe, is now also the world’s largest individually timed cycle race. The lead up to race day is also filled with events and activities, and saw the Good Hope Centre play host to the Cape Argus Lifecycle Expo. Here, participants (joined by friends and family) were required to collect their race numbers and were also able to get a free medical check-up and purchase any last minute supplements and cycle gear, from one of the many stalls on display.
Finally, on Sunday 11 March 2012, approximately 35,000 cyclists lined up at the start line in Cape Town’s city centre and put foot to pedal (or hand to pedal in some cases) and took on a gruelling 110km around the Cape Peninsula. The elite group had an early morning start just after 6am, while the rest of the cyclists were released using a staggered start system, with the final group leaving just after 10am. Participants were faced with many challenges like the climb up Boyes Drive, the winding roads along Chapman’s Peak and the taxing cycle up Suikerbossie, where some conquered and some were conquered. However, the word on the ground was still that the biggest challenge on race day was the extreme heat. Temperatures soared to heights of around 41°C, as cyclists made their way along the scenic route of the cycle tour. This resulted in many cyclists being treated for headaches, nausea, dehydration and other heat related conditions. One cyclist remarked that “At one point I was so hot that I seriously considered abandoning the race and running into the beautiful ocean for a cool down. The gorgeous scenery really helped to keep me going.”
This year’s cycle tour was won by Reinardt Janse van Rensburg in the men’s category and by Ashleigh Moolman in the ladies category. The ladies finish ended dramatically with a massive crash, as the tightly packed group, sprinted for the finish line. With the main contenders finished, the balance of the day belonged to the courageous participants who braved the heat and enjoyed the rest of the race. Spectators enjoyed watching cyclists who made the most of the event by wearing themed cycling gear from cow outfits, to witches on broomsticks and cyclists with wings.
Many cyclists also had long outcroppings from their helmets in a show against the poaching of rhino’s, which has been a major concern in the last few months. Some unusual sightings included participants on unicycles, recumbent bikes (lying or sitting down) and customised tandem bikes. Local celebrities and politicians also took part, including Victor Matfield (Former Springbok and Blue Bulls Rugby Player), Helen Zille (Premier of the Western Cape) and Fikile Mbalula (Minister of Sport and Recreation)
This incredible cycle tour route offers participants glorious views of Muizenberg, Fish Hoek, Simon’s Town, Chapman’s Peak and Hout Bay to name a few areas. Following their final ascent up Suikerbossie, they can then enjoy the gorgeous final stretch along the Atlantic Seaboard, passing the well-known beaches of Camps Bay and Clifton and finally the Sea Point promenade. These spectacular views are sure to provide exhausted riders with ample doses of inspiration and one can certainly say, that true to its name it for the most part, a tour rather than a race.
So with another successful Cape Argus Pick n Pay Cycle Tour over, the Mother City showed once again, that she’s not just a pretty face but that she can also come to the party on the sporting front. So join her next year on 10 March 2013 and be sure to also make time to explore her many splendid offerings.
I’m a fun loving, adventure seeking young lady with a zest for life that lives in the beautiful city of Cape Town. I have a Bachelor of Commerce Honours degree and a Postgraduate Diploma in Tourism Management from UCT. I have had the good fortune of travelling and working internationally on a global secondment programme for a large corporate and have had many amazing travelling experiences. I also enjoy travelling locally in our beautiful country South Africa and have taken international students on many travelling experiences across South Africa. I love hiking, most outdoor activities, reading, developing people and especially writing. I believe in the power of taking the road less travelled and in the power of pursuing a purpose filled life.