What to expect on the Bespoke Boland Cycle Tour in 2024/5

Our Beloved Boland Cycle Tour expands to its longest offering yet

In the 2024/5 edition of our bespoke Boland Tour, we’ll be circumnavigating the Western Cape Winelands in a 1500km road cycling spectacle that promises to leave even the most die-hard cyclo-tourists in awe with its jaw-dropping scenery, exciting activities and unique experiences, both on and off the bike. This is what to expect and there are over 30 items listed below:

Stunning route 🏆

Our tried and tested route of 900 miles starts and finishes in Cape Town. We leave the Mother City and embark on a journey that includes the vast Karoo, spectacular climbs, Big Five Game country, the Southernmost Tip of Africa, back into the Winelands, passing countless wine estates and finally up and around Table Mountain. Total distance of 1500km for the Boland Cycle Tour sounds just about right.

On tar roads 📌

We handpicked the best roads out there and 99% of our route is firmly on tarmac. Our aim is always safety first. The minor gravel sections are wide open district roads that can be tackled on road bikes. There is no jeep track or single track, so be sure to bring along your aero road bike, touring bike, or gravel bike. And for those who opt to rent a bike locally, please contact us well in advance so we can confirm availability for the Boland Cycle Tour.

45-65 miles/day 🚵‍♂️

Manageable daily distances mean ample time for off-the-bike activities. Stages typically vary from 45 to 65 miles each, with day 1 being the shortest, as we get to know each other. And the longest day right at the end, with Cycle Tour Sunday. Ideal tour dates will include the official Cape Town Cycle Tour on the final day, however alternatives with and out-and-back option of the most beautiful part of CTCT are also available.

3 weeks of cycling 🗓

We spend a generous 3 weeks on tour, to experience the best scenery and adventures that the Western Cape has to offer. This allows us to enjoy the riding and activities at a leisurely pace — to appreciate every moment. We stop and smell the roses; have coffee when we feel like it; enjoy the lawn and shade to shelter from the summer sun if necessary; and have plenty of time left in the afternoons for ourselves and each other.

Improve your skills 🧰

Become a better cyclist, either by silently observing what happens on the road and how others handle themselves. Or by outright asked and learning from our ride captains, tour guides, enthusiastic youngsters or experienced long distance riders. At the very least you will have fun and enjoy the cycling trip of a lifetime, but you will also very likely leave with many new tips and tricks in your arsenal to share with others.

On your own bike 🚲

Please bring your own bike, where possible. We will gladly help to store your bike box for the duration of the tour and have it available again at the end. And there are optional experienced help on hand for bike washes and packing before your departure. Alternatively, should you wish to rent a bike, kindly notify us long in advance of your requirements, as this is a busier time of the year for cycling in the Cape.

Sweeper vehicle 🚑

We have a dedicated vehicle for victualling and on the road requirements. Not an ambulance, as with our races, but especially handy on those longer days. And he might even offer you a lift, should the need arise. Our sweepers will ensure no one gets left behind and they will also surprise us with some of the most scenic water points on the Boland Cycle Tour route.

Water points 🥤

We may surprise you with a coffee stop on top of a mountain. Or an ad hoc break under a tree in the middle of nowhere. And we can fill up at the many quaint towns, villages, and farm stalls en route. Think fruits and nuts and energy bars and energy drinks and the like. Our cycling days are not that strenuous, but your fluid intake remains important.

Comfy groups 👨‍👨‍👧‍👦

An intimate group of around 20 riders is on the Boland Cycle Tour is ideal. However, the total number of guests can be double that. But anything more, and exclusive accommodation becomes challenging in some of the smaller towns we visit. The benefit of the smaller group is also more personal attention and no-one gets lost in the crowd.

Ride guides 👋

Experience counts. We are your helpings hands en route. We share stories and accompany you while cycling through this beautiful country. Choose to do your own thing, or (preferably) join a group that ride at your comfortable pace. There will be faster, medium and slower options., And we like to mix it up by inviting a few youngsters to come and cycle with us on certain stages where possible.

Breakfast 1st 🕗

Our days in the saddle are not too long, which allows time for a proper sit-down breakfast before each ride. There may be the odd exception, with breakfast stop en route, or a breakfast pack prior to a longer day. Our accommodation arrangements are typically bed and breakfast and 9 out of 10 times we’ll have breakfast at the venue before hopping onto the bicycle.

Typical days 🙌

You are here to ride & relax & explore. A typical day on tour is as follows. Cycling starts after breakfast. Enjoy a scenic day on the bicycle, with a water point or two before the finish. Then take some time off, have a bite to eat, and recover after the ride. Before an afternoon activity, often in a group, or free to explore on your own. Finish off with a group dinner and a quick overview of what to expect on the following day.

Tour jersey 👚

You will receive a tour jersey on presentation at the end of day 1, to be worn on certain days, including the grand finale. A size chart will be available and additional garments may be ordered. There are some great scenic photo opportunities where we’d like to be identified as the Boland Cycle Tour Group, but as always, we’ll give you a heads-up well in advance.

Bring your +1 👫

Non-cyclists are most welcome to join us and we cater for partners alike. From our experience, non-riders add a valuable and fun component to the outing — and make great photographers! The more, the merrier. Therefore, Cyclists, Partners, Tour Guides, Soigneurs, Photographers, Enthusiasts, Content Creators and Friends are all welcome on the Boland Cycle Tour.

GPX files 🗺

We love plotting adventures and GPS files will be shared in advance — so you can have the route, distance, and climbing available on your device. Or  you can choose to ignore the digital instructions and simply follow the group or take instructions from your group ride caption. Made with RWGPS & shared on Strava. And we are creating Komoot profiles as well.

Accommodation 🛌

Accommodation is mostly 4-star, where available. We stay in a combination of hotels, BNB’s and some family run establishments. By default, we book shared twin rooms, and single supplements are possible, specified in advance. In some of the smaller villages we visit there are fewer accommodation options, but we think you will be pleasantly surprised with the quality .

Meals included 🍴

Meals included are breakfast & dinner. Enjoy local cuisine, braaivleis, bobotie, potjiekos, koeksisters, pannekoek, and so much more. We treat lunch as a final water point, enjoying fruits, nuts, biltong, droewors, etc as a light post-ride-snack. A post-ride beer and a dinner drink is also included, but generally alcoholic beverages are for your own account. And there are many tops wines to choose from here in the Western Cape Winelands.

Bike washes 🧼

A clean bike is a fast bike. In order to keep your prized possession in tip-top shape, local technicians may professionally clean it a few times on tour. This will be an optional extra and available at certain locations on tour. Or you can DIY. Ideally after a bit of gravel; before your private cycle tour; and more if needed. Most often a quick wipe to clean the frame and a proper drivetrain clean+lube is all you need.

Special diets 🥑

Herbivore, carnivore, or omnivore? Tell us your dietary requirements (and allergies!), and please be cognizant of the fact that in some remote areas our options might be more limited. Quick summary from the heart foundation. In South Africa we lean towards a light or full English breakfast, but  most often continental or European options are also available in Hotels & B&B’s. And dinner is a hearty affair. Generally, the cost of dining is very attractive in South Africa.

Exciting activities 👏

Game drives. Stargazing. Sundowners. Shark cage diving. Wine tours. Massages. Table Mountain. Cable car. Hikes. Caves. Walkabouts. Nature reserves. Museums. Sightseeing. Tourist attractions. Lookout points. And more. Choose to take part, or simply do your own thing. All of these activities will be available at some point on tour and you can choose how you want to be involved, or not.

Cycle tour Sunday 🥇

Your longest day in the saddle will be right at the end of the tour when you are fit and ready for the Cape Town Cycle Tour. The stunning scenery will keep you occupied right to the finish line. And then we celebrate. Please note that a private CTCT route out-and-back option from Cape Town to Cape Point is also available as an alternative for a different time of year, when the tour would not coincide with the “biggest timed bike race in the world”.

Glorious summer 🔆

Our beautiful route is great for cycling, most of the year round, other than the wetter winter months of June, July & August (which still don’t come close to European Winters). Consult the Weatherman and don’t forget to wear sunscreen! South Africa can be a land of extremes, and we’ve have some heat and cold and wind during odd times. It is not uncommon to have 4 seasons in one day, and certainly over the course of a 3 week bicycle tour covering 1500kms…

Transfers included ✈

We’ve taken the hassle out of your arrival and departure by including airport transfers to and from your hotel. And should the need arise for an ad hoc trip, humans can pick an UBER and for bicycles try #bicyclecouriers. We also have internal transfers from Stellenbosch back to Cape Town towards the end of the tour and these are also included in your Boland Cycle Tour package.

Special requests 👊

Is there something we missed? Or that you would really like to include? Please tell us, as we would love the opportunity to try and accommodate your request. And it may benefit everyone. Nothing is off-limits and we are always keen to hear what you would like to do. Tell us and we’ll see if we can make it work. What will it be?

Variation possible 👌

We prefer to have our plans cast in stone. But we know that things change and we may change plans where necessary. While striving to keep you informed, safe and happy. Hence, variation is possible if so required. Your accommodation, route, GPX files, meals, ride captains, water points, after hours activities and even photo opportunities are identified well in advance, but may chance when deemed necessary.

Safety first 🆘

Safety first. Help is a button press away! Join more than 100,000 South Africans and over 500 events that already use mySOS to provide peace of mind for participants. Download it here for use on the Boland Cycle Tour. We also use WhatsApp groups to keep all riders and participants informed with updates and news while on tour, and when in doubt you can also ask your ride captain, or the group.

Telecoms 📶

We are mostly on regional tar roads and usually within mobile reception. Opt for international roaming or grab a local sim card from MTNVodacomTelkom, or Cell-c. Wi-Fi should be available at most overnight venues. And in an emergency your friendly tour organisers may also share Wi-Fi hotspots if required. But for the most part we have a great local telecoms network and infrastructure.

Beneficial ZAR 💸

Local currency is the South African Rand and is has been steadily losing value against the USD, meaning international guests have a lots of purchasing power, almost R18 for each $1 at the time of writing. Do your bit to come and boost our local economy and have fun while doing so. Wining and dining is cost effective while the variety is seemingly endless.

Easy payments 💳

Card machines are almost everywhere, for debit & credit cards like VISA & Mastercard. Or tap your phone or smart watch. Keep a couple of Rands in cash, just in case. Diners club & AMEX isn’t accepted everywhere though. I prefer going with just my card to tap and have a bank note or two in cash somewhere on my bike for just in case.

Loadshedding 💡

Because we are special. SA doesn’t have enough electricity for 60 million+ local residents. So we all take turns (except the politicians) and you can expect to be without electricity for a couple of hours per day. Track the schedule on EskomSePush. We’ve had a brilliant zero-loadshedding streak for the last month or so, but that was likely just smoke and mirrors and politics for local elections. Let’s see how it goes. And if you do the Boland Cycle Tour on an e-bike, we’ll just have to time your charges in-between stages.

Dos & don’ts 🙏

Please don’t cycle with earphones. We stick to the left hand side of the road and go in single file where need be. No littering — we cannot speak for everyone but take great pride in our surroundings. Keep your gels/sachets empty bags on your person until the next town or hand it to the support car or sweeper vehicle. We respect nature and tread lightly, so that others can also enjoy what we are privileged to.

Tell your mates 📢

Take photos, make memories and share it with us, with each other, and with the world. Our official tour hashtag and social media pages will be shared and we encourage you to share your content, preparation and experiences. The best compliment you can give us is to tell someone else about your experience while cycling in sunny South Africa and be sure to mentioned our proud #bolandcycletour.

Be ambassadors 🦚

Over the course of 3 weeks you will experience our beautiful country on-and-off the bicycle like few others have had the privilege to do. We ask that you soak up the experience and tell others about your adventure. South Africans are a resilient and adaptable bunch, as you will soon get to experience. We ask that you Be Proudly South African, like we are.