Biking the Cape of Good Hope
By Steve Jermanok
When Brit Mark Lawson followed his South African-born wife, Gaynor, to Cape Town, the avid cyclist was surprised that there was no reputable bike outfitter in the region. In 2009, he opened Cycle the Cape, offering day and multi-day jaunts to the Cape of Good Hope, the Garden Route, the Wine Country and Namibia. We booked a 2-day ride on the Cape Peninsula, a stunning mountainous sliver of land, surrounded on one side by the Atlantic Ocean and the other side, the Indian Ocean. On the first day, we were supposed to bike through Hout Bay and over Chapman’s Peak, but it was rainy and cold, so we chose to visit the penguins at Boulders Beach and had dinner on the beach at Fish Hoek, within easy walking distance to the flat we rented above Mark and Gaynor’s house. It was the first time on the trip that I felt like a local, not a tourist.
The next morning, the sun was out and it was about 65 degrees Fahrenheit, a perfect day for biking in September. Mark and Gaynor drove us to the entrance of the Cape of Good Hope National Park at the tip of the peninsula. For the next 5 hours and 44 kilometers later, we would bike the entirety of the park. We biked past zebras, ostriches, and large antelopes called elands. We would pedal along the pounding waves of the Atlantic to take the requisite photo at the Cape of Good Hope sign. Then we proceeded uphill to the Cape Point Lighthouse, where the magnificent vista of high peaks and sandy beaches reached all the way to Cape Town’s signature Table Mountain. After an exhilarating downhill run where the ocean waters were a blur to the left and the right, we had lunch at a relatively new surfer and biker hangout in Scarborough, The Village Hub. It was the perfect day ride for us. Mark can custom-design the itinerary to fit your biking ability and provides road bikes, helmets, and lodging for overnight rides. He has also partnered with a lodge in Kruger National Park if you choose to end your trip with a 3 or 4-night safari. I might have to check that out if I ever get the chance to return and bike the Garden Route.