Come urban biking in the southern suburbs

It’s worth exploring the tracks, paths and tunnels of Cape Town’s suburbs by bike, says John Loubser of MapStudio, publisher of the SA Bike Book & Events Guide, Top MTB Trails of South Africa and more.

We are spoilt for choice when it comes to cycling in Cape Town, but the 2015 fires burnt out some of the prime mountain biking areas. What is the alternative? Well, option one is to hoist your bike onto a rack and drive north, in a non-environmentally friendly manner, to explore the mountain biking trails of Cape Town’s northern suburbs.

But I recommend that you try urban biking. Urban biking takes two forms: one involves beards, craft beer, skinny jeans and fixed gear bikes with silly gear ratios (single-speed bicycles with no freewheel hub); the other is much more enjoyable and involves riding urban terrain, stairs, tunnels, river paths and some big hills. The southern suburbs of Cape Town are full of these. Take a spin along the Liesbeeck Canal path, which will take you from Alma Road in Rosebank all the way to Newlands, without touching a road.

Or take the Newlands path from Rhodes Memorial gate to Shell Motors at Paradise Place, tear up Boshof Avenue, and keep going though the forest to the Kirstenbosch Cottages. Another alternative is to ride up to Rhodes Memorial off the M3, and descend the awesome single track below the Mount Pleasant Buildings. There is even a cool little track just above the University of Cape Town’s tennis courts.

Finally, why not ride the cycle path from Alma Road in Rosebank all the way to the River Club and do a few time trials on the flat tar towards the bike-friendly Wild Fig Restaurant, which has good beer on tap. If you want more social riding you can join the dots with coffee shops and craft beer pubs.

I am blessed to be surrounded by friends who all ride: we meet twice a week and explore the subways, tunnels and bridges of the suburbs. Technically they allow for fast riding, but most importantly they are great for conversation. Men don’t talk to each other enough, but stick us on bikes and you can’t stop us!

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