Sunday, March 8, 2009

Cape Argus Pick 'n Pay Cycle Tour

Cape Argus Pick 'n Pay Cycle Tour under way.Cyclists toil up a spectacular but gruelling pass with the Atlantic ocean behind them

Today, 8th March, the annual Cape Argus Pick ‘n Pay Cycle Tour takes place in Cape Town, South Africa. This race is the world’s largest individually timed cycle race. It is the first event outside Europe to be included in the International Cycling Union’s Gold Bike Series. With 35 000 cyclists tackling a 109km route around the beautiful Cape Peninsula, this race is, at the same time, spectacular as well as gruelling.

It is always staged on the second Sunday in March and as a one-day event, fast becoming an international draw card. Foreign entrants are in excess of 2000 cyclists, with a number of former Tour de France winners having taken part in the cycle tour. Among others, five-time Tour de France champions Miguel Indurain and Eddy Merckx, three-time champion Greg LeMond, two-time winner Laurent Fignon and 1997 winner Jan Ulrich.
Foreigners taking part are a blessing for businesses and tourism in the Western Cape. I like to think that if someone has come over to South Africa to take ride the Argus (as it is known locally), afterwards they’d take in other sites in and around Cape ultimately venturing up the east or west coast or inland to visit more of our beautiful country.

Here are a few fast facts about the Cycle Tour

The Cape Argus Pick ‘n Pay Cycle Tour started in 1978, when 525 cyclists set off on an epic journey around the Cape Penisula. Today over 35 000 cyclists are participating while more than 200, 000 spectators watch the event from various points along the route.

Local businesses and tourism benefits from more than 30,000 visitors who come from outside the Cape Province to enjoy the atmosphere of Lifestyle Week pumping more than R200-million (approximately US$20-million) into the province’s economy.

The total value of the bicycles used in the Cycle Tour is estimated at R150 – million / US$15 –million. At the finish, the stationary bikes in Bicycle Park is truly an impressive sight.

A local job is created for every eight visitors to Cape Town.

Approximately 110, 000 litres of Coca Cola and Energade are drunk during the Cycle Tour. On average every cyclist eats at least two bananas during the race. Competitors are urged to take care as 65,000 banana skins could prove slippery across their path.

The Cycle Tour is organised and run by volunteers. On the day of the race, more than 1,300 helpers act as marshals and timekeepers, hand out refreshments, exercise traffic control and administer first aid.

The Cycle Tour medical team sees in excess of 600 patients during the race. Problems range from dehydration and heat exhaustion to fracture from falls. Thousand of rubs are provided to cyclists during the day.

My younger son, Angus is taken part in the Cycle Tour today. This race is first-time-racers-friendly and I believe that he will complete it in good time. His mother-in-law, father-in-law, regular Cycle Tour participants as well as many other people from town, are taking part in this phenomenal race today.

Below is a fun photo of Angus on my stationary spin-cycle which I gave to him about a year ago. I’ve asked him to have an official photo taken during the race. Later on I’ll post the results and any relevant Cycle Tour stories he may impart to me on his return.

My younger son, Angus, always ready for a joke, poses on a spin-cycle on the back of his pick-up!

Cycle Tour information quoted from:


  1. You must be so proud of him, Jo ! I simply love the photo of him on the back of the 'bakkie' on the bike .... tooooo funny (going nowhwhere fast ?!)

  2. Thanks Lynda, I heard this morning that the Cape is experiencing gale force winds and people were struggling to mount and stay on their bikes. I've not contacted him, I'm sure I'll hear all about it tomorrow when he and Amanda come home. Yes, Angus has an incredible sense of humour and doesn't mind a laugh at his expense. When both our sons visit, we never know what will come out next: they're both incredibly quick witted - get it from their dad! Hugs Jo xxx

  3. It sounds like a terrific day out for cyclists and spectators and of course much needed revenue in these tough economic times. I look forward to reading how they get on in the race.

  4. Thanks, yes Peggy, I'm also waiting on tenter hooks to hear how my "family" got on: my son, and his mil and fil. The wind was very strong so we're not sure who managed to finish the race or even ride it! Hugs Jo


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