32 Awesome and Fun Facts about the Cape Town Cycle Tour

Cycling fever has definitely hit Cape Town, as it does every year at this time when the Cape Town Cycle Tour and it’s many thousands of participants arrive in Cape Town. This cloudy morning on my drive to Plumstead for the opening of Anja’s Plumstead (facebook.com/anjasplumstead and www.anjasbantingpantry.co.za) the big yellow road signs were everywhere. Tomorrow, the 6th of March 2016, is the day that 35 000 cyclists from all across the world will partake in the world’s largest individually timed cycle race. In one of the most beautiful cities in the world. I wonder how many of them will be banters. Anja’s Plumstead is positioning itself as a banting destination store with loads of goodies aimed at Cape Town’s army of banters. I chatted to Sally-Ann Creed who co-authored the best selling Real Meal Revolution with Prof. Tim Noakes, Jonno Proudfoot and David Grier. The Real Meal Revolution is the fastest selling book in South African history with a staggering 200 000 copies sold! Sally-Ann tells me that she has many clients who are athletes, including cyclists, who use the banting diet to optimise their performance. Sally-Ann is launching a couple of new books this year. One is a cookbook co-authored with Jason Whitehead, one of my favourite chefs, and the other will further explore the banting diet. Very exciting stuff indeed.

So with all this talk about cycling and diets I decided to make myself a bulletproof coffee, to fuel my mind, and sat down at my laptop and with the help of Google and Wikipedia did some research on the Cape Town Cycle Tour. And here is what I found; 32 things about the Cape Town Cycle Tour that I didn’t know and I hope you will find interesting. If there is anything I should have included, please don’t hesitate to write to us and we will be sure to include it.

  1. Cycling started as a sport officially on the 31st of May 1868 with a 1200 meters race at the Parc de Saint- Cloud in Paris and was won by expatriate Englishman James Moore. He rode a wooden bicycle with iron tires. The bicycle is now on display at the museum in Ely, Cambridgeshire, England.
  2. 110 years later, in 1978 Bill Mylrea and Jon Stegmann organised the Big Ride-In to draw attention to the need for cycle paths in South Africa.
  3. The Ride-In, which was held under the auspices of the newly founded Western Province Pedal Power Association (now Pedal Power Association) was a great success and attracted hundreds of cyclists, including the Mayor of Cape Town. The cyclists met on the Grand Parade and rode down Adderley Street to the Foreshore.
  4. The Ride-In was won by Lawrence Whittaker.
  5. From this the Cape Argus Cycle Tour was born.
  6. In 2014 the race was renamed the Cape Town Cycle Tour.
  7. Its major sponsors are the Cape Argus, Pick ‘n Pay and Momentum.
  8. The Cape Town Cycle Tour injects some R500 million into the Western Cape economy every year, but even more significant is the millions it raises for welfare and the impact this has on the needy both regionally and beyond.
  9. The main beneficiaries of the Cycle Tour are the Pedal Power Association (PPA) and Rotary Club of Claremont, which are equal stakeholders in the Cape Town Cycle Tour Trust, the organisers of the annual event.
  10. The Rotary Club of Claremont and the Pedal Power Association (PPA) share around R9 million of the proceeds between them, thanks to those who participate in this iconic event.
  11. The Pedal Power Association (PPA) and the Rotary Club of Claremont plough these funds back into numerous organisations in local communities, including schools; children’s homes; skills development programmes and cycling development projects.
  12. The Cape Town Cycle Tour is the first event outside Europe to be included in the Union Cycliste Internationale’s Golden Bike Series.
  13. The Golden Bike Series includes seven events in seven countries.
  14. The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI; French for “International Cycling Union”) is the world governing body for sports cycling and oversees international competitive cycling events.
  15. The Union Cycliste Internationale is based in Aigle,Switzerland.
  16. The Cape Town Cycle Tour, with as many as 35 000 cyclists taking part, is the world’s largest individually timed cycle race.
  17. The Cape Town Cycle Tour forms the last leg of the Giro del Capo, a 5 day multi-stage race for professional and leading registered rider.
  18. The Cape Town Cycle Tour is traditionally staged on the second Sunday of March.
  19. This year, however, the Cape Town Cycle Tour will take place on the 6th of March 2016.
  20. The Cape Town Carnival will now take place on the 12th of March 2016.
  21. In recent years the race has usually followed a scenic 109 km circular route from Cape Town down the Cape Peninsula and back.
  22. In 2009 and 2010, as well as during previous years until 1999 the race had followed slightly different routes, between 104 km and 110 km in length.
  23. The course records for conventional bicycles for the 110 km course over Chapman’s Peak are:
    1. Men: 02:27:29 by Robbie Hunter in 2008 and
    2. Women: 02:44:04 Renee Scott 1991.
  24. The record for the highest number of consecutive victories within a competitor’s age group belongs to Penny Krohn who scored 25 such age group wins.
  25. By far the quickest time ever recorded (and highest ever average speed) was set on the 105 km course in 1993 by Wimpie Van der Merwe in his fully faired recumbent (02:16:40, averaging 46.1 km/h).
  26. The oldest cyclist to complete the race within the maximum allowed seven hours is Japie Malan (92 years old at the time) during the 2012 Cycle Tour – on a tandem in a time of 05:49:00.
  27. The oldest woman to complete the race is Mary Warner (80 years old at the time) during the 2006 tour, in a time of 06:43:38.
  28. This race was originally planned to run over 140 km, including a leg to Cape Point, but was reduced to a 104 km route when authority to enter the Cape Point Nature Reserve was refused.
  29. The organisers convinced Cape Argus, a local newspaper and sponsor, to grant the event the right to use its name.
  30. The event now forms part of one of five cycling events which take place over a period of one week starting a week before the Cycle Tour and culminating in the Cycle Tour. The other events include:
    1. Tricycle Tour (youngsters under 6 years of age)
    2. Junior Cycle Tour (youngsters between 6 and 12 years of age)
    3. MTB Challenge (Mountain Bike)
    4. Giro Del Capo (5 day pro stage race, the last day of which is the Cycle Tour itself).
  31. The race was stopped twice due to extreme weather, although in both cases many competitors had completed the race by then:
    1. In 2002 due to heat: stopped at 14:45 at Ou Kaapse Weg when temperatures reached 42 °C.
    2. In 2009 due to strong winds: stopped at 16:30 at Chapman’s Peak due to gusts up to 100 km/h that blew cyclists off their cycles. Initially the cut off time was extended from 7 to 8 hours due to the strong wind. Despite the late closure many cyclists were affected, because starting for some groups was delayed by as much as 2 hours due to extreme winds at the starting line-up.

Add Comment