Tour of Ara

South Africa's most grueling adventure race

A 6-day all-gravel vintage steel road bike stage race in the proud tradition of the early Italian multi-day races.

The Tour of Ara, named for the Southern Hemisphere constellation of Ara, is a prestige race that is ridden mostly on South African-built steel racing bicycles in the proud tradition of the early Italian multi-day stage races.

As always, each Tour of Ara is a race against the clock, and stages are very difficult and challenging, predominately over varying quality dirt roads, with the longest day being about 200 km. Riders encounter soft sand, corrugated roads, loose stones and sharp tyre-shredding rocks, and possibly even rain and snow.

The Tour of Ara is completely independent, and paid for by the entrants; there are no sponsors or patrons, and no prize money – we aim to keep it that way. This race is ridden entirely at ones own risk. You cannot hold anybody but yourself responsible for what might transpire during the Tour of Ara. So don’t come crying if you get a flat or lose a finger. Prepare, train, and know your abilities and limitations before entering.

In August 2014, the first edition saw 35 cyclists race nearly 700km of gravel in six days, from the mountains of Franschhoek to Robertson, north to Touwsriver, then south of the N1 to Laingsburg. From there north-east to the little town of Merweville, then a climb into the west to Sutherland, after which the last stage to the south was raced to the finish in Matjiesfontein.

The dates for the next Tour of Ara race are 1 – 6 September 2018, and this will be your last Tour ever. I believe 5 years is a good run to the Tour, and I’ve decided to share this news now as the chorus of “I’m doing this next year” and “it’s on my list!” has grown louder and louder. For those of you who want a last chance to ride the Tour, 2018 is your year…

There are still a few spots open for Tour of Ara 2018. If you’d like to come and race with us this year, please send an entry request email to as soon as possible to secure your spot.

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