Cape Town Cycle Tour introduces a 42km short route

Short options have transformed endurance events around the world, and the Cape Town Cycle Tour's gateway 42km route looks set to do the same.

By Tim Brink |

The 45th Anniversary Cape Town Cycle Tour, which will be held over its usual 109km route around the Cape Peninsula on Sunday 12 March, 2023, is proud to announce a baby brother, due on the same day!  

The 2023 Cape Town Cycle Tour will boast a shorter 42km route that will complement the Mother City’s’s celebration of cycling by taking riders out and back along the M3 freeway, just the way the full field did in 2015’s fire-shortened Cycle Tour. Riders will start in the shadow of the Cape Town Castle and make their way southbound on Nelson Mandela Boulevard and the M3 until reaching Steenberg Road (where the traditional route peels off towards Muizenberg) before turning around to head home the way they came, finishing in Green Point with the 109km riders.

Both events will take place on Sunday 12 March, 2023, taking advantage of the full road closure the City of Cape Town affords the iconic event for the safety of the tens of thousands of cyclists who make this pedalling pilgrimage. The simultaneous running of the two events also minimises the impact on the rest of the city’s residents, with negligible road closure differences in place as the M3 can be fully isolated from surrounding suburbs.

The 42km entry fee is R320; entries will open on Monday, 5 December at 1pm, and are for riders eleven years old and older (juniors must be eleven in the year of the event). Perfect, then, for a family outing and to get a taste of the freedom of two wheels, without the suffering of Suikerbossie.

This shorter route has been in planning for nearly a decade, and forms the ideal gateway event for cyclists and non-cyclists alike, who want a piece of the Cape Town Cycle Tour, but aren’t quite sure they have the full distance in their legs yet. The answer, of course, is we all have it, but the shorter option allows for some experimentation, and pared-back options like this have proved a successful starter course to many endurance events across the world, leading to greater entries in the main dish in later years.

“The response to the shorter route, created out of necessity, in 2015 was fantastic,” says David Bellairs of the Cape Town Cycle Tour Trust, organisers of the Cape Town Cycle Tour.

“There was the very real chance that the 2015 event would get cancelled, but the 42km route out and back along the M3 allowed us to put on a show for all the cyclists who had made their way down to the Cape. After the near-cancellation, I think there was a lot of relief that the event went ahead, but we also saw a lot of cyclists who were simply happy to ride 42km on the day. We have toyed with introducing the shorter route ever since and now, thanks to our excellent relationship with the City of Cape Town, we are able to bring the concept to life as an official part of the Cape Town Cycle Tour.”

 Photo by Gary Perkin

Mayor of Cape Town Geordin Hill-Lewis, who is himself a new cyclist and a first-time rider in the Tour, is very excited by the prospect of a shorter course. “What a great idea! It’s like they read my mind. Now us beginners, who haven’t yet started training, can also have some prospect of finishing. This will open up the Cape Town Cycle Tour to thousands of new participants, like me, and will spur the further growth of cycling in Cape Town. The Cape Town Cycle Tour is already one of the City’s flagship events for both local and international cycling enthusiasts with the scenery rivalling any other major cycling tour in the world. I think it’s fantastic that a shorter route is being added to broaden the appeal of cycling, and I look forward to seeing all of you on the day as I take part in my first Cape Town Cycle Tour as the Mayor of this beautiful city.”

With the traditional 109km Cape Town Cycle Tour already attracting tens of thousands of riders and the launch of the short route Cape Town Cycle Tour, the 45th anniversary of the event is shaping up to be a fun-filled day of cycling celebration. 

“We are thrilled to offer riders this new option,” says Bellairs. “It’s an opportunity for those riders who are maybe not confident tackling the full distance to take part in a great day of cycling, and perhaps encourage them to start small before aiming big.”

READ MORE ON: 42km Cape Town Cycle Tour CTCT short route

Copyright © 2024 Hearst