Tomorrow the 40th Cape Town Cycle Tour, more commonly referred to as The Argus after its former media sponsor, will be held in Cape Town, a year after the race had to be called off due to extreme wind speeds. No such action is likely tomorrow. The event planners have gone out of their way to make it as water-friendly as possible. It is surprising that Cape Town appears so empty, and that so few cyclists have been seen on the roads this year.

A total of 35000 cyclists will ride the 109 km route. The proceeds of the race go to the Rotary Club of Claremont and the Pedal Power Association, used for community upliftment programs. The organizers have been asked why the event has not been cancelled due to its impact on the City’s scarce water resources. The R500 million that the event generates for the local economy is an important motivation for it not to have been cancelled this year.

The Cape Town Cycle Tour Facebook page informs that just more than 20000 of the 35000 cyclists this year are Capetonians, who are already subject to the current Level 6B water restrictions. A further 2780 are international riders and 12111 are other local riders. A total of 3 million liters of water has been allocated to the race. Participants in the race have received communication from the organizers that they will be subject to the 50 liter per person per day water quota, and have been requested to strictly comply with the Level 6B water restrictions. Further, the organizers have encourage cyclists to not make the race a family holiday this year, which must be a huge blow to the Tourism industry. Race participants have been encouraged to bring their own water, and to take their dirty Laundry with them, to be washed at their homes on return. The water for the cycle race has been sourced from non-drought areas, such as Swellendam. Ultimately, the event itself will not draw any water from the Cape Town municipal grid. 

Large parts of Cape Town roads will be closed tomorrow, with zero or limited access, up to as late as 18h30 in some areas, especially those closest to the Race end in Green Point. 

No information has been found to explain the quiet city centre as well as reduced number of cyclists practicising for the event, compared to previous years. 

POSTSCRIPT 9/3: In driving to Hout Bay at midday today I did drive past three clusters of cyclists, very diligently driving within the yellow line alongside the vehicle traffic lanes. In the city centre, driving from Camps Bay mid-morning, I saw the sum total of two cyclists! 

Chris von Ulmenstein, WhaleTales Blog: Tel +27 082 55 11 323 Twitter:@Ulmenstein Facebook: Chris von Ulmenstein Instagram: @Chris_Ulmenstein