This coming weekend Cape Town will be bursting at the seams, with thousands of Cape Town Cycle Tour riders descending on our city, for the Cape Town Cycle Tour on Sunday 10 March. Continue reading →
For the first time in the 38 year history of the Argus Cycle Tour the temporary 47 km route this year will be less than half of the standard 109 km route, due to the devastating fires raging in the South Peninsula, an important part of the Argus Cycle Tour route.
The Route reduction comes ‘in solidarity and support for those affected by the tragic fires burning on the mountains around Cape Town‘. Western Cape Minister of Economic Opportunities and keen cyclist Alan Winde has requested participants to wear a red arm band, to demonstrate their solidarity. Continue reading →
A R20 million project by the City of Cape Town will expand cycle and walking lanes in the Cape Town city centre to new lanes to be developed in suburbs outside the city centre, reports the Cape Times.
Cycle lanes will be developed in Athlone, Rondebosch, Mowbray, and Salt River, and will lead to the green cycling lanes already seen on city centre roads, such as Bree Street and Somerset Road. In addition, walking paths and cycling lanes will be developed in Khayelitsha, Gugulethu, Nyanga, Philippi, Steenberg, Atlantis, Delft, Kuils River, and Bonteheuwel. The linkage between the city centre lanes and the Liesbeek Parkway cycle route, as well as from Observatory and Woodstock, will commence next week.
The Pedal Power Association has welcomed the planned additional cycle routes, stating that the Argus Continue reading →
The high number of cycle fatalities every year, especially in the months leading up to the Cape Argus Pick ‘n Pay Cycle Tour, led to the launch of a ‘Safe Cycling’ campaign in 2011 by the Pedal Power Association, and a demand of the Western Cape government to pass a law to separate cyclists and motorists by 1,5 meters. The law has not yet been passed, but the Pedal Power Association hosted a reminder “Ride for Your Life” awareness ride from Camps Bay to Hout Bay and back yesterday, three weeks from the start of the Cycle Tour.
The Pedal Power Association communication to its 20000 members clearly places the blame of any cycle accident on motorists, and yesterday’s ride was geared to ‘get the message out there that we will not stand for any more cyclists being hit by vehicles’. The day before a cyclist was knocked over and died in Johannesburg. T-shirts, licence disk holders, and bumper stickers have been designed and the participating cyclists were incentivised to wear the T-shirt. Western Cape Minister of Tourism Alan Winde, himself a keen cyclist, participated in yesterday’s cycle safety awareness ride, Tweeted about it prior to the race, and posted a photograph on Twitter.
While cyclists project that motorists are at fault when there are cycling incidents, it is clear to see on Twitter that many motorists are annoyed at the disrespect shown by cyclists for the rules of the road, for riding two or more abreast, for riding in the middle of the lane without making space for motorists, for swearing at motorists daring to hoot at them, and for breaking many rules of the road. While motorists may try to keep the distance of 1,5 meters, they are dependent on cyclists keeping to the left of the lane, so that they do not have to drive into oncoming traffic. The bumper stickers are designed for cycle-friendly motorists, who want to help by becoming safe cycling ambassadors.
The safe cycling awareness ride message probably hit home to cyclists yesterday, which is an excellent start, but little has been done to build a better relationship between cyclists and motorists. The Argus Cycle Tour is an important tourism contributor, and generator of economic income for the Cape, so it is important that both parties tolerate and respect each other in the run up to the cycle race of the year, to prevent cycling and the Argus Cycle Tour from being synonymous with accidents and negative publicity!
Pedal Power Association. www.peddlepower.org.za
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter:@WhaleCottage
For the first time in many years, it would appear that fewer out-of-town cyclists will be participating in the 35th Cape Argus Pick ‘n Pay Cycle Tour, if the accommodation bookings in Camps Bay are a benchmark. Relative to past years, when the Cycle Tour weekend was fully booked weeks in advance, this coming weekend is well but not yet fully booked. Fewer of the bookings already taken for the weekend are related to the Cycle Tour, compared to previous years.
The 35000 participant 110 km Cycle Tour next Sunday is the largest individually timed cycle race in the world. Fewer than 10 % of the cyclists are from overseas. It is organised by the Pedal Power Association and the Rotary Club of Claremont, and monies raised from the entry fees are shared with community upliftment and cycling development projects, R3 million having been raised in 2011. It is estimated that the Cycle Tour will contribute at least R500 million to the economy of the Western Cape, based on 2011 information.
Running alongside the Lifecycle Week, which consists of an Expo related to cycling and also is the Cycle Tour registration venue, are two further cycle events. This weekend the 208 km Columbia Grape Escape is taking place over three days, from the Durbanville Racecourse to the Boland Agricultural High School on Friday, from the school to Diemersfontein in Wellington yesterday, and from Diemersfontein to Boschendal today. It is the second time that the Grape Escape has been organised. In addition, the 11th Cape Argus Pick ‘n Pay MTB Challenge is being held at Boschendal. Yesterday it challenged novice and casual mountain bike riders, and today it is more experienced riders who have chosen to ride 32, 52, or 65 km. Some of the cyclists participating in one of these ancillary races are also riding the Cycle Tour next week, such as our Whale Cottage Franschhoek guest Anton Mellet.
Concern for the environment is a characteristic of the Cycle Tour, with clean-up crews at every refreshment station, and waste sorted thereafter. Last year 98% of the waste was recycled, say the organisers. Recycled products are used where possible, such as cardboard bins, bin liners, and cups. Airspace above the Cycle Tour route is restricted to helicopters with permission, to reduce potential harm to any animals affected by the noise. The MyCiTi shuttle bus service will be free of charge between the Thibault Square and Stadium stations, and will run from 6h00 to 18h00 on Sunday. The Table View MyCiTi service will commence an hour earlier than normal, at 5h40, on Sunday. Trains can also be used to get to the start, running to normal Sunday schedules. Cyclists are encouraged by the organisers to use public transport on Sunday.
A number of major roads in the city and Cape Peninsula will be closed for most of the day, including Hertzog Boulevard, Heerengracht, De Waal Drive, Nelson Mandela Boulevard (eastward), M3 (southbound), M4 between Muizenberg along the coastal road, Chapman’s Peak, Victoria Road from Hout Bay to Bantry Bay, and Beach Road from Sea Point to the Stadium.
The Cape Argus Pick ‘n Pay Cycle Tour is the ultimate New Year’s resolution for many Capetonians and South Africans. The cycle race is an excellent means of showing off our beautiful city, with its backdrop of Table Mountain, the Twelve Apostles, Chapman’s Peak, Table Bay, False Bay, and the Atlantic Seaboard. We encourage motorists and cyclists to drive and ride safely in the week ahead.
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage