The Momentum Knysna Cycle Tour will celebrate its 30th anniversary this year and the Knysna Rotary organising committee will mark the occasion with the introduction of a number of new routes and races.
The Knysna Cycle Tour has grown enormously since its inception in 1987 and now comprises four popular events which will take place on 8 and 9 July, the first weekend of the Pick n Pay Knysna Oyster Festival: MTB events, road races, the SPUR Children’s Tour, and the Forest Family Dam Ride.
The MTB event on 8 July is one of the biggest in southern Africa and includes outstanding cycling routes through the Knysna forest. Traditionally the events consisted of four different MTB routes for varying technical abilities – 80 km, 50 km, 30 km and 15 km. This year, the organising committee is changing the 15 km route to an easier, fun ride for all ages, and introducing a 30 km e-bike route.
“We understand that this will be the first electric bike race in the country,” says Race Director Elwin Thompson, “and we are hoping to attract e-bikers from all over South Africa.”
The MTB routes are rated amongst the most scenic in the world and include access to privately owned sections of property that are usually closed to the public. Set up and managed by Leon Evans, known as Dr Evil, they test the skills of competitors to the maximum.
The challenging 109 km road race on Sunday 9 July will follow the route introduced three years ago, which was designed for enthusiastic, competitive roadies. It takes cyclists from Knysna to Sedgefield, Karatara and Barrington, and back to Knysna.
The 50 km road race route is from Knysna to Sedgefield and back along the N2.
This year, for the first time, both these races will include a category for mountain bikes. “We are doing this in response to many requests that we’ve received over the years from cyclists who want to enter both a MTB event on the first day of the tour and a road race the next day, but can only transport one bike to Knysna,” says Thompson. “We are confident that this is going to grow cyclist numbers in both events.”
The SPUR Rotary Knysna Children’s Cycle Tour on Sunday 9 July is a fun, safe event for children aged 2 to 10. There are three events for different age groups, all starting and finishing at the Knysna Oyster Festival Grounds in Waterfront Drive.
Another new innovation this year will see the popular Forest Family Dam Ride on Sunday 9 July split into two events: a 20 km and a 30 km ride. Both rides are scenic MTB routes through the Knysna forest and past some of the town’s dams. The 30 km event is for more experienced riders, while the 20 km ride is for MTB riders of all ages and competency, including children aged 12 years and older. They are guided fun rides and will not be timed.
Says Thompson: “We would like to see as many cyclists as possible participating in events on both days of the cycle tour, and our new events and categories will make this much more feasible. There will also be overall prizes for cyclists who enter events on both days.”
The Knysna Cycle Tour is a one of the biggest and most popular events on the national cycling calendar and a highlight of the annual Knysna Oyster Festival.