Inspired by the pioneers of microadventure – Grant Petersen and Alastair Humphreys – I started a S240 Bicycle Microadventure group in 2015. Our first overnight bicycle microadventure took us to the secluded beachside campsite at Miller’s Point, located about 50kms from Cape Town’s CBD on the Indian Ocean near Simon’s Town. Since then we have been back many times and it is one of my favourite overnight (S24o) camping destinations.
The route to Miller’s Point is incredibly scenic although challenging both in distance and elevation. It follows the popular cycle route along the Atlantic Seaboard with three fairly decent climbs: Suikerbossie up to Llandudno, Chapman’s Peak drive and Blackhill. As one of the most spectacular marine drives in the world, Chapman’s Peak Drive is know for its stunning vistas of ocean and mountain, lazy winding turns, challenging climbs and fascinating engineering. From the bottom of Blackhill the route meanders gently along the coast, passing through small coastal villages of Glen Cairn and Simon’s Town. Just south of Simon’s Town you will find Miller’s Point campsite.
For the return trip there is the option of a quick detour to the quaint fishing village of Kalk Bay for breakfast and then taking a gravel shortcut through Clovelly wilderness area to Noordhoek. For those who don’t want to cycle the entire way back or skip the climbs, there’s also the option of catching the train from Simon’s Town or Muizenberg back to the city.
OUT OF THE RUSH
Leaving the city during rush hour requires some clever short cuts to bypass the worst of the gridlock. There is nothing more satisfying than cruising past stationary vehicles, with your bags packed and adventure on the horizon! Beyond the city limits, the route meanders along the incredibly scenic Atlantic Seaboard.
PIT STOP ON TOP OF THE WORLD
After a quick stop off in Hout Bay for some refreshments and to pick up some last minute supplies, we pushed on, heading up Chapman’s Peak Drive. At the top is a fantastic viewpoint that makes a perfect pit stop to catch one’s breath, take a few snaps and share a beer.
From the top of Chappies, its a scenic free wheel all the way down into Noordhoek, chasing the light (especially in winter) to make it to the campsite before dark. On long summer afternoons, we stop off en route at the Noordhoek Farm Village for a leisurely coffee or lunch at the Village Roast or Cafe Roux before taking on the final climb up Blackhill. After that it’s plain sailing along the meandering coastal road runs from Glen Cairn to Simon’s Town and through to Miller’s Point.
We arrived at the campsite before dark and were able to choose a good spot to pitch the tents, settling in for a night of fireside chats, cooking and relaxing – drinking wine and toasting marshmallows late into the night. The campsite has nice grassed and shaded spots to pitch tents. There are even trees to set up hammocks and lean-tos. With electric points and modern ablutions it almost feels like glamping.
The best thing about Millers, is waking up to the sounds of the Indian Ocean and the golden shades of dawn. Rising early for coffee and stroop waffels, and a morning dip in the ocean are a must before packing up and heading home. The sea at Miller’s is calm and warm(ish), being the Indian Ocean. This wonderful private bay is very sheltered and secluded – we were the only people on the beach save for a few seals and dassies!
The route home would not be complete without a stop off at Olympia Cafe in the quaint fishing village of Kalk Bay, which is a great place for a second breakfast! After refueling, some of us chose to cycle back via the same route, while a few continued on along Main Road (M4) to the Southern Suburbs. For those who don’t want to cycle the entire way back or skip the climbs, there’s also the option of catching the train from Simon’s Town or Muizenberg back to the city.
SHORTCUT TO SWIMMING
For the return trip there is the option of taking a shortcut through Clovelly which takes you along a serene gravel road through fynbos wilderness past the Clovelly Golf course to the start of Silvermine Road in Noordhoek. This is a great option especially on hotter days when you can jump in the river for a dip.
The coolest thing about overnight bicycle adventures is that by 10:30am I had showered, changed and was back to normal work/family life as if nothing had happened. Except, to echo Grant Petersen – “I think the S24o is about the most fun I have had with my bike!
Photographs © David Malan and Leonie Mervis
- Scenic tarred roads and challenging climbs
- Meandering coastal roads, look out for whales, dolphins and seals.
- Secluded seaside camping in a nature reserve. Go to sleep to the sound of the ocean.
- Great swimming in quiet bay at Miller’s Point during the summer months.
- Must Stop Spot: Noordhoek farm village (coffee/lunch), Olympic Cafe (breakfast – try out their croissants and scrambled eggs, a firm favorite).
- Best time to go: September – April if you enjoy warmer swimming weather. If you prefer your camping quieter, go during the week and avoid the December holiday season rush.
- Bookings & location: Contact Miller’s Point. Favorite campsites Number 13 or 14.
- Taking the train: To cut down on distance you can catch the train to Muizenberg (20km) or Simon’s Town(5km) and start your ride from there. Choose your departure time carefully, as bikes aren’t allowed on the train during peak hours.
- Bike shops: The closest bike shop is Cranx in Noordhoek
- Supplies and food: There are plenty of shops along the way. The last shops to stock up on drinks, fire food and food can be found on Main Road in Simon’s Town.
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