Even though the Cape Town Cycle tour has been shortened due to the raging Cape Town fires that affected the direct route of the cyclists, there is still reason enough to celebrate and support this iconic event happening on the most beautiful of places in the world.
Although everyone understood the reasoning behind the shortening of the route, many tough cyclists were disappointed about the announcement to cut the race from a looped 109km to a circular 47km.
(The image below shows the new, adjusted route for the 2015 race. You can view the large image here.)
The good news is that these dedicated sportspeople will now be able to claim that they've done the epic Cape Town Cycle Tour in under 1 hour!
More amateur cyclists are also in luck, as the pressure of this big race is now slightly less.
Also see: LIVE: Cape fire under control, enters fifth day
If you’re not one of the 35 000 riders taking on this year’s Cape Town Cycle Tour, it doesn't mean you have to miss out on the fun and festivities.
Pack a picnic, slap on some sunblock and head to a spot somewhere along the route to cheer the riders on.
David Bellairs, a Director of the Cape Town Cycle Tour Trust, has drawn on his vast experience of the event to suggest a few of the best vantage spots.
Areas to be watching from on the new, adjusted route:
“If you live near the city centre be sure to catch the great vibe and excitement,” says Bellairs. “If you're travelling by car you can park in many of the surrounding side roads and walk to the start area (just follow the sound!). You could also make use of the MyCiTi Bus service or take a ride to the start. The atmosphere is always electric!”
Nelson Mandela Drive
There are quite a few pedestrian bridges where you can position yourself
This is perfect if you live in the Southern Suburbs, as access to this part of the M3 is super easy on foot if you park somewhere in the vicinity of Forrester’s Arms: “The riders have warmed up by now and are well on their way after negotiating the difficult descent at Hospital Bend,” says Bellairs.
“The Newlands Forest area is accessible from the East side of the M3, as well as the pedestrian subway at the ‘Parks and Forest’ area. You will be treated to the spectacle of thousands of colourful cyclists speeding along.”
Reachable from Main Road, Claremont, this is “a good place to watch the cyclists as they speed down Paradise Road and start the climb up Edinburgh Drive.”
This is the steepest gradient of the Cycle Tour and gives spectators a chance to cheer the cyclists along as they struggle up the first significant climb of the route.
“If you are keen to spot a family member or friend then this is the best vantage point as the cyclists slow down on the ascent. And if they’ve done enough training they should still be in good enough shape to give you a smile in response,” laughs Bellairs.
The bridges along this section are also a crowd favourite and a good place to watch the big bunches speeding past below you.
Muizenburg and Kalk Bay
Locals will line the roads through their areas before the riders get to Fish Hoek.
“The traffic circle and Main Road in the centre of Fish Hoek always attract many spectators watching the riders heading south down the Peninsula. You’ll be amazed at the speed of the leading cyclists as they go through there,” says Bellairs.
A few rules to remember when watching:
• Don't litter
• If any baboons cross your path, ignore them. Don't feed them and keep food out of sight.
• Don't throw cigarette butts anywhere as the Cape's hot, dry weather provides the perfect conditions for fires.
• Unless you are camping on your front lawn you may not make fires along the route (this includes open and gas fires).
• Do not remove or break rocks, pick plants or feed any animals.
• When you drive out to support the cyclists along the route, be careful where you park your car, as not to cause any damage to the fynbos.
• Also bear in mind that despite all the road closures, the traffic laws still apply. Don't risk parking illegally - you're likely to find a pink letter stuck to your car window.
Note the following roads have been affected and the necessary MyCiTi route deviations have changed.
Temporary stops are being established in:
Riebeek Street eastbound, between Loop and Long Streets
Lower Long Street, between Walter Sisulu Avenue and Wharf Street
Cullinan Street, between Walter Sisulu Avenue and Wharf Street
The following places have also been affected, and therefore cut from the Cycle Tour due to the Cape Town fires:
Simonstown Main Road
Miller’s Point and Smitswinkel
Misty Cliffs & Sun Valley
Noordhoek farm village
Camps Bay strip
Sea Point Promenade
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