Cape Town and the Winelands region is rolling in cyclists visiting to participate in one or more of a host of cycling events from today onwards. As more and more cyclists are taking to the road, often selfishly to the detriment of motorists, anger is building up from motorists against cyclists.
Today the Bestmed Tour de Boland commences, and will be ridden in four stages of 121 – 145 km per day over the next four days. The race begins in Franschhoek and stage one ends at Helshoogte Pass; stage 2 is from Stellenbosch to Tulbagh; stage 3 covers Tulbagh to Riebeek Kasteel; and the last stage of the race is ridden from Riebeek Kasteel to the Franschhoek Pass. The organisers want to offer the road riders a good challenge on a European cycle race standard combined with the best of beautiful Boland views.
On Sunday the 37th Cape Argus Pick ‘n Pay Momentum Cycle Tour takes place, with 35000 cyclists participating in what has become the world’s largest timed cycle race. Most of the Cape Town city centre will be closed to traffic on Sunday morning, and all of Victoria Road from Hout Bay through Camps Bay to Bantry Bay and Beach Road in Sea Point is closed to traffic for the whole day, the race starting in the city centre and ending at the Cape Town Stadium. The event generates R450 million for the economy of the Western Cape, says provincial Tourism Minister Alan Winde.
The ABSA Cape Epic takes place from 23 – 30 March, a tough endurance race covering picturesque areas in the Cape Winelands, and generates about R218 million for the province.
Most cyclists have left their getting fit to the last minute, and are taking to the city streets to get ready for Sunday. Many cyclists have no understanding of the new Western Cape cycling law applicable to both cyclists as well as motorists, including cyclists not riding abreast and keeping to the left of the lane, and motorists having to leave cyclists a 1 meter distance from their vehicle. Shocking is this first documented example of Cycle Rage, supposedly having taken place in Sea Point. It has gone viral, and the public is expressing its outrage at arrogant and irresponsible cyclists taking over the streets of Cape Town! Minister Winde urged cyclists to ride safely, saying: ‘Cyclists must play their part by respecting fellow road users’, reports The New Age.
The Argus Cycle Tour is a very important sporting event for Cape Town, and has magnificent tourism benefits in giving out-of-towners a taste of the beauty of Cape Town if they have not been in the city ever, or for some time! It also has a tremendous economic benefit for the city and its tourism industry, most accommodation establishments being sold out, and restaurants doing excellent trade over the weekend.
POSTSCRIPT 5/3: Two of the three Cycle Rage cyclists presented themselves at the Sea Point police station, and spent the night behind bars. They were due to appear in court today.
Cape Argus Pick ‘n Pay Momentum Cycle Tour 2014, 9 March 2014. www.cycletour.co.za Twitter: @CycleTourTrust
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage