Curated by Cape Cycle Routes (an initiative of the Western Cape Government), the Cycle Tour 364 includes sections of the route taken by the iconic Cape Town Cycle Tour (the world’s largest timed cycle race held in Cape Town every March). Open 364 days a year (the ‘365th’ being the day of the actual race) the route follows a 123km loop around Cape Town’s peninsula from the historic V&A Waterfront to Cape Point through the southern section of the Table Mountain National Park, with superb views of mountains and fishing and surfing spots on the coast. Along the way there are many opportunities to stop off and experience the rich culture of the Cape from local markets and bike friendly cafes to quaint seaside villages and historic sights. For those looking for a less challenging ride, the distance can be broken down over 2-3 days, with plenty of options for bike friendly places to stay or camp.
Here we share an in depth experience of cycling the route, with tips and trail notes to help you plan your adventure.
MUST KNOW & ROUTE NOTES.
- Fitness and Skill level. You need to be reasonably fit and have adequate cycling skills to undertake the full distance of this route. For less fit cyclists or those who want to take their time we recommend breaking the 123km ride up over two or even three days.
- Accommodation. Use our directory to find Cape Town’s bike friendly lodgings or campsites.
- Navigation and maps. Download our GPS route or print out a route map from the Cape Cycle Routes website. As there is no signage specific to this route, so we suggest that you familiarize yourself with the route before you leave. It is always a good idea to have a hard copy of the route as without battery power or GPS, you may find yourself in a fix.
- Water & Food & Coffee. Hydration is key and we suggest two water bottles per bike and electrolytes if you have the propensity to cramp. Food and supplies can be found at various shops and restaurants along the route. See our list of bike friendly cafe’s & restaurants on the route.
- Bikes. A good quality, geared bicycle with which you are familiar with is critical. If you want to rent a bike, we suggest a good road, mountain or e-bike and include a bike fit/body setup of some kind to ensure a comfortable ride. For ebikes bring an extra battery or stop off at one of the bike friendly cafes along the way to recharge. A degree of bicycle maintenance acumen will be helpful as there are long stretches where no support is possible. For the rest you’ll find bike shops in most of the major towns on the route. A bicycle lock is essential for stops. Carry a bank card as well as cash. If you opt out and need a taxi, ensure you have preloaded the Uber app 😉
- Tour operators. If you are looking for instant ride buddies and guided rides on this route contact a local tour operator.
- Mobile devices. Battery life on phones and GPS devices on rides longer than 8hrs must be considered. Photo taking and location tracking drains smartphone battery life and so a powerbank is a must. Our group switched off phones and rotated one as active camera and tracker to preserve battery.
- Road Conditions. You’ll be riding primarily on roads with no bike lanes and vehicle traffic. You should be comfortable riding in some amount of traffic. Ride responsibly and stay alert especially on Chapman’s Peak Drive and sections where the road is narrow (e.g. between Clifton, Bantry Bay and Sea Point). Check road conditions ahead of time as they can change frequently due to weather or roadworks. Use lights to make your bike more visible especially if you are planning on riding at dawn/dusk.
- Safety & Security: While this route is well used by local cyclists, there are sections (as you head towards Cape Point) that are very isolated and we do suggest riding in a group of 4 or more. It’s a good idea to let someone know where you are and preferably use a friend tracker app like Life360 should there be any reason you need to be collected or want to opt out.
WATERFRONT TO CAMPS BAY
As you leave the V&A Waterfront keep the ocean to your immediate right. At Moullie Point you can jump off Beach Road and onto the bike path / sidewalk. This car free cycleway runs parallel to Beach Road and will take you all along the Atlantic seaboard promenade, past the Moullie Point Lighthouse and Green Point Urban Park and through Sea Point. At the Sea Point Pavilion get back onto the road. From here the road narrows considerably as you pass through trendy Bantry Bay, Clifton and Camps Bay, with their popular beaches, restaurants and bars. Stay alert for opening doors and cars parking on this section.
CAMPS BAY TO HOUT BAY
The road opens up again as you enter Bakoven with a large shoulder and plenty of spots to stop off at the roadside craft market or enjoy the spectacular views of mountains, sea and city. Look out for seals and whales which can be spotted off the coast especially during Spring. If you are taking a scenic ride, it is worth stopping off at one of the city’s hidden gems, the Oudekraal Beach. This marine reserve is part of the Table Mountain National Park area, and has a beautiful little beach and quiet cove for an icy dip. You can park you bicycle at the entrance car park (lock it to the railings) and walk down to the beach. Back on the road you’ll find yourself following along the base of the Twelve Apostles until it rises up and over the Nek at Llandudno. The Valley of Hout Bay opens up in front of you as crest of the climb and the ride down and through the village to the beach offers numerous opportunities to be distracted, with bike friendly cafes and markets well worth visiting.
HOUT BAY TO BRAKKEKLOOF:
With the beach stretching out to your right, you begin the climb up spectacular Chapman’s Peak Drive. A toll road on which cyclists travel free, the 9km pass took seven years to build, and opened to traffic in May 1922. It hugs the mountain and seems to be tacked onto the cliff face as you round the top and descend the other side. Just as you think it cannot get any better, the views of Noordhoek Beach stretching into the distance are guaranteed to take your breath away. For a quick bite to eat or coffee on the roll pop into the bike friendly The Village Roast at Noordhoek Farm Village. From here the road is flat all the way to the Sun Valley/Brakkekloof intersection, which marks the end of this section.
BRAKKEKLOOF TO SIMON’S TOWN
From the Sun Valley/Brakkekloof intersection you climb up Black Hill for the first glimpse of False Bay at Glencairn. For those who wish to bypass the Black Hill climb, you can turn left at the intersection and take a detour via Fishhoek to pick up the coastal road. From Glencairn follow the coastal road to Simon’s Town, which has a long naval history, made apparent by the dated gun placements. This quaint Victorian-looking town, complete with pubs, fish and chip shops and tea rooms is fascinating to explore. Stop off at Jubilee Square for a great view of the Harbor and for a bit of history visit the museum and the famous statue of Just Nuisance – the first dog to be enlisted into the Royal Navy!
SIMON’S TOWN TO CAPE POINT GATE:
From Simon’s Town the road winds past Boulders Beach and its famous penguin colony. The trees on the golf course give a good indication as to the prevalent wind direction. The views across the bay are expansive and as you start the final Smitswinkel climb (named after a tiny bay below), Cape Point can be seen stretching out ahead of you. At the top of this incline is the entrance to the Cape Point Nature Reserve, which conserves one of the world’s six floral kingdoms: The Peninsula’s endemic fynbos. Bicycles are allowed within the reserve and a day permit can be bought at the entrance. To find out more about exploring the reserve by bike, read our ride report.
CAPE POINT GATE TO BRAKKEKLOOF:
Baboons are often seen foraging along the road on this section. The wind either blows from behind or into your face. The road swoops down past Scarborough, where you once again reach the coast. Stock up on supplies or grab a snack at Scarborough’s bike friendly Village Hub before heading off along the coastal road. It is truly sublime riding through Misty Cliffs. There are some choice surfing spots all along here. The final hill climbs up the back of Kommetjie, and its landmark Slanghoek lighthouse. Then it’s down through the village, before the long straight section past Ocean View and Masiphumelele, and back to the Sun Valley/Brakkekloof intersection.
BRAKKEKLOOF TO HOUT BAY
From Brakkekloof/Sun Valley intersection it is a flat cruise to Noordhoek Village, nestled against the side of the mountain. Here you could easily swap your bike for a horse and gallop across the beach. Or just enjoy coffee and eat delicious pastries at the Noordhoek Farm Village, which boasts a number of restaurants and shops. Chapman’s Peak Drive starts with a preliminary hill opening, up vistas of Long Beach and Kommetjie, before turning the corner and starting the more substantial climb of the course, with dramatic drop-offs to the ocean below. Look out for surfers and the sharkspotter who keeps vigil. This is a most worthy and memorable climb and the descent to Hout Bay is truly exhilarating.
HOUT BAY TO WATERFRONT:
The infamous Suikerbossie climb out of Hout Bay is quite busy, but has a good wide shoulder. The exclusive beach suburb of Llandudno offers up a panoramic ocean view. It is complemented by the sight of Lion’s Head and the back of Table Mountain as you continue on towards Camps Bay. The vibrancy of city life is evident as you pass the beaches and eateries and private balconies of this Riviera-like part of Cape Town. As you reach Sea Point it is a good idea to slow down and meander along the bike path along the promenade. It will guide you past the Mouille Point lighthouse and back to the well-sign posted V&A Waterfront, where your journey ends.
Photographs by Cape Cycle Routes and additional route notes by Kirsten Wilkins
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