Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Cape Town tours by bicycle push upmarket

I've long been a fan of cycling as an alternative way to visit Cape Town's communities, particularly the so-called 'township' of Masiphumelele, offered by AWOL Tours and the Bicycle Empowerment Network (BEN). The range of cycling options for tourists has grown nicely over the past year for casual cyclists and more serious enthusiasts.



ByBike offers all-day rentals of bicycles and helmets from locations along the Southern Line train, which runs from the central Cape Town Station along the False Bay coastline to Simon's Town. The Southern Line train ticket is hop-on, hop-off, so you can get on the the train in the centre of Cape Town, hop off in Observatory, rent a bike and pedal around the shops and parks in Obs, get back on the train and get off at Muizenberg for a surf or coffee or pedal over to the False Bay Ecology Park (Rondevlei Nature Reserve), or visit Kalk Bay or go all the way to Simon's Town and pedal to see the penguins at Boulders Beach (or carry on to Cape Point and back). R120 for an all-day rental is a bargain. I love it, and hope they thrive. Be sure to check out their blog for descriptions of the rental locations and updates on specials and activities they're involved with.

For the more serious cycling enthusiast, Newmark Hotels has partnered with John O'Connor Cycles to provide high-end road bikes for a set of day tour itineraries around the city, down to Cape Point, and further afield into the Winelands. Not having to pack your bicycle will be a welcome relief for many cyclists who would love to get in a good ride while they're on holiday, combining their love of the bike with the experiences on offer in Cape Town. Newmark Hotels run the V&A Hotel, the Ambassador and other higher-end places as well as a couple of swank restaurants. The quality is very good as are their locations, and it seems to me that they've created an offering with a lot of appeal. A 4-hour guided tour of the city centre is R600, and they have shorter and longer itineraries that more or less scale up and down in cost from that.

There are other cycling opportunities, from the annual Cycle Tour (the world's largest timed cycling event!) in March, to the Cape Epic multi-stage mountain biking race, to mountain biking tours and rentals, to affordable casual cycling as part of more traditional Cape Town area tours, to more customised excursions with top-flight cyclists and more.

With an increase in dedicated cycle lanes in Cape Town and plans on the books for many more, the cycling options in the Mother City should only continue to expand and diversify.

[Photos: BEN Bikes, ByBike, Newmark Hotels]

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Blogging Hiatus

Gentle Reader,

Some five years into the life of Afrika T, I now find myself unable to keep up with contributions at a level that I and you have come to expect from this blog. Partly this is because of other activities in responsible tourism (see example here, and another here), partly from other projects in sustainability (see examples here and here), and partly for reasons that are more personal.

I am certainly still active online and in responsible travel, so feel free to comment on existing posts here, to follow me on Twitter, and to note what I've been reading online via Delicious. I also hope to return to Afrika T, so am not bringing the blog to a halt, just declaring a hiatus of indefinite duration...

Thank you for your support over the years, and, if you're a newcomer to the site, may it still prove valuable.

Kind regards

Kurt

5 December 2011