Cyclists gear up for the 35th Herald Cycle Tour

The Herald Cycle Tour will be be raced for the 35th time next year.
The Herald Cycle Tour will be be raced for the 35th time next year.

Next year the popular Herald Cycle Tour celebrates its 35th year of existence as one of the top cycling events in South Africa.

With a few local cyclists coming along for the ride over all three decades by completing more than 30 Herald Cycle Tours, it remains an annual event in professional and leisure cyclists’ calendar not to be missed and has built up a reputation of being well-organised — and kilometres of fun.

Duane Nel, who will be starting his 31st consecutive cycle tour when he lines up on the start line in 2020, said the Herald Cycle Tour was one of the best cycling routes in the country.

“I haven’t had one year where I didn’t have a lot of fun. It is always enjoyable riding with friends. The best variant route over the years was when we went up Valley Road, which was quite a lot of fun,” said Nel.

Another cyclist who has clocked up thousands of kms since the beginning of the Herald Cycle Tour in Port Elizabeth is Charles Garai, with over 30 races under his belt.

“I can recommend the Herald Cycle Tour without a doubt — it is a very scenic ride right on our doorstep and, depending on the wind, can be challenging or pleasurable. I remember my very first race, when I forgot to unfasten my toe straps and fell over at the finishing line — luckily on the right side of the line,” chuckled Garai.

Herald Cycle Tour Race Director Julie Briggs, who has been involved with the event since 2012, said the Cycle Tour’s long-standing popularity is due to the fact that the race brings together cyclists from all walks of life and fitness levels, for a day of fun on their bikes.

“They enjoy a day out on Nelson Mandela Bay’s roads. We have full road closure for most of the route — which is a plus for everyone. The professional cyclists along with their team managers head off first, followed by the racing groups, and then the more casual cyclists who are there to soak up the views and atmosphere while cycling with their friends,” said Briggs.

The Herald Cycle Tour 2020 will take place over two weekends — with the Mountain Bike Challenge on 16 February 2020 at the Addo Polo Club and the Road Race on 23 February in Port Elizabeth.

Briggs said road safety for both races, in particular the urban setting of the Road Race in Port Elizabeth, was achieved with the assistance of all safety role players.

“Pears heads up our race office for the road race — enabling clear communication on race day with all parties — including their members who are stationed along the route, the medics, traffic officers, marshals, race officials and roaming marshals.

With a whopping 83 traffic officers along the Port Elizabeth Road Race route, and 105 marshals lining the route, the logistics and manpower behind the success of the event is truly impressive.

Five water points will also provide refreshments along the route for the riders in the road race.

Apart from a safe and well-organised race, fans and supporters can also look forward to entertainment at the race village at Pollok Beach on 23 February. This includes the popular cycle tour lounge — with VIP parking, appetising meals and refreshments, a dedicated bar and comfortable seating.

Other race village attractions include kiddies’ activity zones, with jumping castles, face painting and balloon art, as well as popular food trucks, a beer garden and amazing live entertainment from Nelson Mandela Bay’s best local talent.

Early birds race entrants can again capitalise on entering before the end of November for a discounted rate, while all race entries will close on January 28 2020.

For more information or to register, visit www.heraldcycletour.co.za

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