Lonely Planet Writer

The world’s largest individually-timed cycle race kicks off in Cape Town this weekend

Thirty-five thousand cyclists will congregate in the Mother City this Sunday for the 40th year of the Cape Town Cycle Tour, the world’s largest timed cycling event.

Cyclists climb Suikerbossie Hill with Chapman's Peak in the background.
Cyclists climb Suikerbossie Hill with Chapman’s Peak in the background. Image by ANNA ZIEMINSKI/AFP/Getty Images

Starting and finishing in Cape Town, the 109 km route will take participants through some staggeringly beautiful areas of South Africa’s Cape Peninsula. The cyclists start by heading southwards and soon make the steep climb up to the top of Edinburgh Drive. It’s then a descent through the wine-growing area of Constantia before reaching the shores of False Bay at Muizenberg. Hugging the coast, the route then passes the scenic shoreside town of Fish Hoek and the penguin enclave of Simon’s Town before cutting inland to cross the peninsula. Notable points on the second half include Sun Valley, Noordhoek, the famously stunning road at Chapman’s Peak and Hout Bay. The push to the finish along the Atlantic shoreline takes the cyclists beneath the stunning Twelve Apostles and through Camps Bay.

Great places to view the proceedings include Hertzog Boulevard in town, from where you can absorb the frenetic energy of the start. It’s a tale of two speeds at the viewpoints on Paradise Road and Edinburgh Drive, with the former seeing cyclists whizzing downhill and the latter offering the sight of them slowly pushing up the steepest sections of the day.

A post shared by Steffan van der Male (@svdmale) on Mar 5, 2017 at 11:14pm PST

The town centre of Fish Hoek, the lawns at Glencairn Beach, and Jubilee Square in Simon’s Town are all good vantage points on the first half of the route. The beach or beachfront restaurants in Camps Bay are prime viewpoints on the second half, as is the Promenade and the official finish line. Feeling inspired to participate? Register at capetowncycletour.com. Or sit back and watch it all in comfort, and then contemplate riding in 2018.
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