With a full weekend line-up of road and mountain bike races, there will be a discipline and distance to suit every participant who enters The Herald VW Cycle Tour in and around Nelson Mandela Bay later this month.
On Saturday, January 31, the off-road action starts from the Addo Polo Club race village and offers everything from the 500m Powerade Toddlers’ Dash to the technically demanding 80km Extreme for advanced mountain bikers.
Also on Saturday, those who prefer tar to trails can sign up for the family road events, which roll out from the Hobie Beach race village on the Port Elizabeth beachfront.
Starting with the family-friendly 21km Leisure Ride, the Powerade-sponsored road races also include a 10km Sprint, 2km Kiddies’ Ride and 500m Toddlers’ Dash.
The 30th edition of the 106km Classic feature race and the shorter 55km Pursuit bring the Eastern Cape’s biggest cycling festival to a close on the Sunday.
Kevin Campbell, who coordinates local social cycling group Hardcore Time in the Saddle, said his members were all looking forward to the event.
“We haven’t entered as a group but we will be there in numbers. We’ll have plenty of riders doing the mountain bike race on the Saturday and plenty doing the road on the Sunday – and some are even doing both.”
Campbell said the annual cycle tour was definitely a calendar highlight and a favourite among local fun riders.
“We have some fantastic scenery inland near Addo and along our coastline.
“One thing I can say is that PE has a huge cycling community and this is growing all the time.”
He said his group catered for riders of all ages, experience, fitness and skill levels and had more than 370 members on its Facebook group.
“We have an average of 20-plus riders who turn out for our regular Saturday rides.
“It’s a pancake ride out to the market at St Alban’s Church. There we taste the best caramel pancakes in PE and then we ride back.”
Campbell said what started two years ago as an effort by him and two friends to “get off the couch and do some exercise to lose our boeps” had grown beyond their expectations.
“Being slightly oversized, we knew we would never win any races so our rides were fun and social. This attracted others and the more fun riding we did the bigger our group got.
“Our policy is that we ride as fast as the slowest rider and no one rides alone.”
This is a policy they will once again be employing in the bunch on race day.
Cyclists have until Monday, January 19, to enter online.