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Biking the Atlantic Seaboard: The Mode Less Travelled

2017-12-11 10:16

Capitec Bank has launched its #LiveBetter campaign, which encourages people to explore new and unexpected places in their cities – on any mode of transport!

There’s nothing quite like a bike ride to clear the mind and refresh the soul. With apologies to Robert Frost, it’s the mode less travelled that makes all the difference.

Of all the roads in the all the world to ride, I’ve chosen the Atlantic Seaboard route from Mouille Point to Llandudno and back. There are none more scenic or more memorable, certainly not within 10 minutes of central Cape Town. It’s a great stretch of coastal road, and a bike gives you the chance to really take it all in and appreciate the surroundings. Beach road in Mouille Point is great little strip, dotted with trendy cafés, ice cream parlours and eateries.

‘The Point’ is also home to John O Connor Cycles, which is a great bike shop to pop in at when you realise you’ve left your bike repair kit at home, and that the broken glass you crossed in the parking lot has punctured your tyre. They’re also home to a fantastic variety of bikes and accessories from beginner to expert – so for those looking to get into biking and those already in-love with the sport, be sure to stop in.

We started off our ride with a coffee at Café Neo on Beach Road, an affogato at The Creamery is also a great option. Caffeine is scientifically proven to improve cycling performance, and I’m not one to argue with science.

There’s a rideable bike path along the promenade, but the weekend logjam of prams, pets and professional instagrammers make the wide but relatively busy road a good alternative. Heading away from the lighthouse and past the putt-putt course, you reach the T-junction to turn right onto the dual-carriage section of Beach road. This little strip past the outdoor gym, public art and seaside walkway is a gentle cruise as you head toward the traffic circle. From the first circle and through the second, St John’s Road presents the first little climb of the ride. It’s a good way to wake the muscles, get the lungs working, and remind you to shift to a lighter gear. It’s mercilessly steep, but mercifully not too long.

If you’re as unfit as I am, take a moment to catch your breath as you head through Bantry Bay, Clifton. There’s a gentle, fresh Atlantic Ocean breeze that’s cool and refreshing. It’s salty and crisp, and makes me think of oysters and champagne. The bendy road zig zags through an area with what seems like an omnipresence of construction, so take it easy and enjoy the view, but be on alert for potential obstacles.


Turn the corner toward Maiden’s Cove and greet the Twelve Apostles who stand sentry along the mountain top. You’ve gently climbed a few metres of elevation at this point, but the grand views of sea and mountain have probably distracted you enough not to notice. Now cruise down into Camps Bay with gravity repaying its debt. Enjoy the ride through Cape Town’s premier parkway, and make a mental note to stop along the strip for a well-deserved Heineken when the ride is done.

The Twelve Apostles Pass starts at the western end of Camps Bay from Bakoven, and presents a long, gradual climb up Victoria Road that leads all the way to Llandudno. You’ll likely encounter lots of other cyclists along this section, most of them greeting with a friendly nod and a smile.

Just ahead is the turnoff to Llandudno, which I gratefully accept as an exit opportunity. The road down from here is a welcome chance to relax. Enjoy it and a break on the beach as that downhill turns into a also pretty strenuous climb to start off with, on the ride back.

But that’s a problem for later, and bike rides are about living in the now. It’s hard to pick a favourite spot or view of a ride like this – but ending at the beach is always a win. And there’s a cold one at Camp’s Bay or one of the awesome Clarke’s specials for breakfast, coffee, burgers and oysters waiting for your return trip, win-win if you ask me!

Clarke’s specials:  Coffee O' Clock: All coffees R12, Monday - Friday, 7am - 8am. Breakfast Special: Two farm eggs on toast + a coffee or a freshly squeezed orange juice, R30, Monday - Friday, 8am - 9am. Two for One Tuesday: 2 Cheeseburgers or 2 Zucchini & Beet Burgers (or one of each), R95, Tuesdays, 6pm - 7pm. Clarke's Oyster Cult: Fresh West Coast Oysters, R15 each, Monday - Saturday from 5pm

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