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Cape Town Cycle Tour

The Mother City’s Mother of Cycling Races

The Cape Town Cycle Tour would have celebrated 40 years of racing glory in 2017, but organizers were forced to cancel the city’s biggest cycling event because of extreme weather conditions. And since it’s not only Cape Town that gets hyped about this race – it’s the biggest individually timed cycling event in the world - this disappointment has naturally led to the build- up and excitement levels for 2018’s race (and the event’s “second try at 40”) to go from bubbling under to explosive proportions. The CT Cycle Tour kicks off on the second Sunday in March, and will attract about 36 000 cyclists who will cover 109km of the city’s most scenic locations.

The Tour’s Pedigree

The Cape Town Cycle Tour sets itself apart from other cycling races in many ways, one of which being that it is an open celebration of cycling for cyclists no matter their ability. This is one of the few places in the world where amateurs and pros, young and old, come together to participate in one event. The honor of being the oldest person to complete the race goes to Japie Malan, who finished on a single bike in 2010, with a time of 06:48:52, and on tandem in 2012, with a time of 05:49:00. He was 90 and 92 years old respectively. Forming the last leg of the Giro del Capo, a race made up of many stages (Cape Town is the last), the CT Cycle Tour’s worldwide esteem is helped along by regularly hosting big names in cycling, like Lance Armstrong, Miguel Indurain, and Jan Ulrich. This in turn adds the title of International Platform to the city’s favorite cycling event, with cycle gear brands lining up to be part of the day.


It all started in 1978, when an idea took to life as Bill Mylrea and John Stegmann organized a cycle race as a way to bring attention to cyclists’ need for dedicated cycle lanes and increasedroad safety. Petitions weren’t working, endless pleading and phone calls weren’t working… The Big Ride-In was their last resort. A few hundred riders showed up to take part in the race, including the city’s mayor, but it didn’t have the kind of impact Bill and John were hoping for. The next move was to establish a long-distance race open to the general public. Get more people involved to make more noise. At this stage the Cape Argus newspaper came on board as a sponsor, and the race was called the Argus Cycle Tour. An honorable first was experienced in 2001, when the race became part of the UCI (International Cycling Union) Golden Bike Series – the first non-European city to do so. In 2014, after other big sponsors joined, the name changed for the last time to the Cape Town Cycle Tour. With its humble beginnings of 525 riders in 1978, the event broke the 1000-rider mark in 1980, and 14 years later that number exploded to 20 000. In 2017, over 40 000 entries were fielded, resulting in thousands of cyclists being turned away. At this stage, it’s safe to say the CT Cycle Tour is a respected international event that can no longer be ignored. With the city’s roads now sporting dedicated cycle lanes and more and more locals taking to two wheels to get around, the age of the bike has taken hold in Cape Town.



It’s often hailed as the most beautiful bike race in the world, thanks to the breathtaking scenery Cape Town is famous for. Taking what happened in 2017 as a huge learning curve, organizers for the CT Cycle Tour have decided to change the starting point in 2018 from its usual spot on Hertzog Boulevard to the Grand Parade. With participants’ safety a priority, the new starting point will mitigate the wind risk. Lining up alongside the Castle of Good Hope, riders will follow the usual route along pristine coastlines through False Bay and Simon’s Town, before moving by Cape Town Nature Reserve and on to the awesome mountains, of which Chapman’s Peak is always a highlight. Finally the coast will welcome riders again, and signal that they’re almost home free – Camps Bay, Clifton, Sea Point – when they eventually end up at Green Point Stadium. Those not racing can still enjoy the spectacle from a few prime spots throughout the city: the starting point at the Grand Parade and Nelson Mandela Boulevard are great locations to catch the start of the event. A picnic in Newlands Forest on Paradise Road would be topped with a stunning view of cyclists as they make their way by, but if you’re more inclined to a beach day, Camps Bay and Sea Point promenades are top spots – with trendy restaurants close by.

Tips for First Timers

If this is your first time participating in the CT Cycle Tour, we have a few helpful tips that will give you a strong start. One of the most important things to remember is to pick up your race number and pack at the Cycle Tour Expo at Cape Town Stadium. There’s no getting to the starting line without your number, let alone doing the race, so diarise this one. As important as it is to keep your muscles loose before the race, be careful not to overdo it. You don’t want to tire yourself out ahead of time. Keep it simple – no more than 1.5 hours – and stick to flat bike lanes or easy coastal roads. The day before the race, you’ll want to make your last meal something nutritious but light. Eat early, and try to pack in foods that are high in slow-release energy. Do a final check and prep of your bicycle gear and cycling clothing. Your focus should be on the full experience of the race, and that won’t happen if you’re under-prepared.

Training Programs

Taking on the Cape Town Cycle Tour requires overall fitness and endurance. Most cyclists start their training programs 2-4 months before race day, depending on how much time they have and how much work they need to put in. You need to assess your physical ability in order to determine what kind of training program would be best suited to you. Although the event gets a lot of attention on the aspects of scenic beauty – this is Cape Town after all – there are some sections of the race that can be particularly grueling. A training regime that builds strength and endurance is key to making it across that finish line.


You’ve put in months of hard training, adapted your diet, gleaned yourself into a lean cycling machine, and are about to participate in the world’s largest individually timed race. You have everything you need to start – grit, determination, fitness… High-performance cycle gear is what’s going to help you finish. Not enough emphasis can be placed on the importance of having quality cycling clothing and gear with you as you embark on your CT Cycle Tour experience. This is the difference between the fly-by- nighters and the ride-or- diers. Which one are you?


PI Stall

Friends, countrymen, ride-hards – lend us your ears… One of the world’s leading brands in cycling isn’t about to miss out on one of the world’s biggest cycling events. Look out for the Pearl Izumi Stand on race day, where we will have our latest range of bicycle gear and apparel on display and available to purchase.
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