You know its Argus season in Cape Town when there are more people wearing lycra than fedoras and more people drinking energy shakes than flat whites. The Cape Argus Pick n Pay Cycle Tour is the largest timed cycling event in the world and will attract around 35 000 cyclists to the Mother City. Of those cyclists more than two-thirds will be from outside of Cape Town. So, in anticipation of the influx of non-Capetonians, we thought we'd make a guide to travelling to the Mother City during the Tour.
You will probably have booked your flights already, but if not, you'll want to do it ASAP. Thousands of people will be taking flights into Cape Town International so make sure you're booked in.
You'll also need to send your bicycle down. Many of the airlines offer free bicycle transportation for the Argus, but you'll need to make sure that your chosen carrier does. The airlines have rather specific instructions, and you'll have to pre-pack your bike in a certain way and drop it off a few days prior to departure. Speak to your airline to find out the exact specifications. You can take your bike to certain bike shops and have them pack it for you, or you can get your own box and do it yourself. If you're going to box your own bike, here is a step-by-step guide on how to do it: http://citybikes.com/how-to/how-to-box-a-bike-pg120.htm.
|if a car drove the same route ... it would take around 2 hours 45 minutes to complete. This means that the lead cyclists are going slightly quicker than a car.|
Hotels and Guesthouses
When booking your hotel you will want to stay as close to the Start and Finish as possible. The race's start and finish-lines are close in proximity to each other, so it's convenient to book a hotel in that area. Look at staying in the City Centre or along the Atlantic Seaboard for the easiest commute. For a map of the area go to Cape Town suburbs. Some roads will be blocked for the race making it a good idea to stay close by rather than sitting in heavy traffic coming into the city on race day.
Many local hotels make sure to accommodate cyclists during the period, knowing that most of their occupants are in town for the race. They will most probably make a strong room available to store your bike, and set out a healthy breakfast early on the morning of the race.
If you're looking at hiring a car, don't leave the arrangements too late as many of the rental cars will be booked out well in advance. You can go to http://www.justcarhire.co.za/ for great deals on car rental. Try to be as organized as possible as it can get pretty chaotic at the airport when everyone is trying to pick-up cars. Just add a bit of extra time for drop off and pick up. The vehicle you choose will depend entirely on how big your travelling party is, but remember to take into account all the added baggage and bikes you'll be transporting.
After the race
After the race is finished, why not make your way to Kirstenbosch for their Summer Sunset Concerts. Bands play on an open-air stage in the beautiful botanical gardens, while you get to relax and enjoy a picnic. On 11 March the local band Goldfish will be playing. Goldfish are a Capetonian band that have made it big on the international stage, playing a blend of jazz and house music.
Alternatively you could head to a restaurant in Cape Town. There are many options to choose from, but you'll still need to make a reservation early to make sure you have a table. Head to http://www.wininganddining.co.za to browse the different options in Cape Town.
- Interestingly, if a car drove the same route, following the speed limit and in average traffic, it would take around 2 hours 45 minutes to complete. This means that the lead cyclists are going slightly quicker than a car.
- It is estimated that the tour will bring around R400-million into the country's economy, of which the Western Cape will be the main beneficiary.
- The youngest person to ride the Argus is Bradley Dunn who rode on the back of his father's tandem bike at the age of 4 in 1988.
- The oldest person to ride the race is Japie Malan who completed the race a few months before his 88th birthday in 2007. He completed the race in a time of 05:48:18.
- The race has only been stopped twice. Once in 2002 when the temperature reached 41 C and there was a concern about heatstroke. The second occasion was in 2009 when the winds reached over 100km/h and cyclists were blown off their bicycles.