PICS: Take a 7-day Rollercoaster gravel ride from Swellendam to Plettenburg Bay
When you think of sports in South Africa, rugby, cricket and soccer are the most prominent in the country. Cycling would not make it to the top of the list. So, you might be surprised to know the Cape Town Cycle Tour attracts 35 000 riders annually and the 947 Cycle Challenge some 30 000 riders. These two events are respectively the biggest timed mass participation cycling races in the world.
The truth is, South Africa’s great weather, diverse landscape and natural beauty lends itself to exploration. And cyclists know the best way to take in your surrounding is by bicycle.
And bicycle holidays have become very popular globally.
The Western Cape, with the added benefit of hosting the Absa Cape Epic, is already a top destination for competitive cyclists from around the world. The Cape Cycle Routes initiative, established by the Western Cape government as part of its Project Khulisa strategy to grow the tourism sector, aims to show off the natural beauty of the province to leisure riders, and create new jobs at the same time. Which makes the addition of a new gravel adventure exciting and relevant - Gravel riding is growing and a boom in the industry is predicted within the next five years.
London-based HotChillee has specialised in organising endurance cycling holidays since 2004. Having run its five-day, 600km Cape Rouleur event in the Western Cape for the past seven years, the company has added a gravel adventure to its South African calendar - with the Rainmaker RollerCoaster set to become a sought-after 7-day experience.
Race or ride – it’s up to you
The Rainmaker RollerCoaster starts in Swellendam before finishing in a coastal resort of Plettenberg Bay 7 days later. The opening stages take place in and around Swellendam, including the Bontebok National Park where it’s not uncommon for cyclists to see a variety of antelope species and even Cape Mountain Zebra along the Breede River.
Adventure through the Karoo is included in the 2019 route with towns like Calitzdorp, Oudtshoorn and Uniondale on the stage list.
This point to point ride has no vehicle transfers, the journey is made purely by bike. The epic adventure gives participants the option to race in teams of two or ride the 550km course in small supported touring groups. The event is open to mountain bikes as well, but the parcours will suit the speed of a gravel bike.
Entry fees include all meals and accommodation, with a discounted entry rate for South African based riders.
Making an impact
This year HotChillee has also teamed up with Qhubeka and the Buffalo Foundation, aiming to raise 500 bikes across their 2019 multi-day event series for the Kwanokuthula community. The bicycles raised will be handed over on the last day of the Rainmaker RollerCoaster. They plan to distribute over 3000 bikes over the next three years.
Event date: 5 - 11 October 2019
Entry cost start from: R14 350 per rider. Click here for further event information