March 03, 2011
Cape Town cycling adventures with Bike & Saddle
Photos supplied by Bike & Saddle
Cape Town has long been a great city for cycling and recently, efforts have been stepped up to increase the number of cycling paths and encourage urban exploration by bicycle. With this in mind, I gladly accept an invitation from Bike & Saddle to head on their nighttime heritage cycle through the city centre.
I am joined by Cape Town Tourism’s Hannah Deall and Mike Metelerkamp, as well as Irish couple Daniel Pollio and Kathleen Connelly, who won a competition last year sponsored in part by Cape Town Tourism.
Our trip starts outside the five-star Cape Grace at the V&A Waterfront at 17h00, where we are kitted out and given the opportunity to test drive Bike & Saddle’s fleet of aluminium road bicycles and choose the comfiest set of wheels. Other equipment provided includes helmets, luminous safety triangles and water bottles, which are quite necessary when the temperature is around 30°C.
Between the two tour guides for the evening, language offerings include Spanish, German, Portuguese – and English, which we all agree would be the most convenient. One of our guides, Jorge Gonzalez, comes from Spain but has lived in Cape Town three years. Throughout the tour, he impresses me with his knowledge of Cape Town’s history, especially regarding the composition of the city centre and the communities around it.
From the V&A Waterfront, we cycle along the promenade through Mouille Point, which is the finishing point for the famous Cape Argus Pick n Pay Cycle Tour. With Table Mountain towering above on the left and the Atlantic Ocean sparkling on the right, it feels good to be in Cape Town!
The tour then turns toward Green Point, where Jorge proudly pulls up outside Cape Town Stadium and recalls how his national team beat Portugal here in their Round of 16 clash during the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ on their way to becoming football world champions for the first time.
He recalls fun times along the Fan Walk during the tournament, as well as during recent events such as the U2 concert, and stresses the need for Cape Town residents and visitors to attend events at the magnificent stadium to ensure its sustainability.
The tour proceeds through Strand Street, which was the Cape Town shoreline several hundred years ago, hence its name. A cycle path along Adderley Street, completed in 2010, takes us past a number of attractions such as the Adderley Street flower sellers.
After passing through the Company’s Garden, we stop to check out some historic buildings such as St George’s Cathedral. We then enter the Bo-Kaap, where Jorge explains how slaves brought Islam to the Cape in the 18th century. The colourful houses in this area give off a unique neighbourhood vibe. Every person we pass takes the time to wave and smile, despite our interrupting an important street cricket match. “Good on you for using eco-friendly transport,” says one gentleman, giving our group the thumbs up.
We complete the gentle ride back to the V&A Waterfront as the sun begins to set. We park the bikes at the water’s edge outside the Cape Grace and sit down to enjoy some bubbly and eats. Admiring the view of the yachts in the dock, the twinkling lights, and our spectacular setting, we take a moment to reflect on our 10km adventure.
Book your ride
If this way of spending an early evening in Cape Town appeals to you, you can contact Bike & Saddle by phoning +27 (0)21 813 6433 or visiting their website. Bike & Saddle’s night tour is suitable for people of basic fitness and cycling experience.
Watch their YouTube video below for a virtual preview of the tour.