The second day of our Cape Tour started more easily than the first. We already had the bikes, and Roni and Art came to our hotel in the silo district of the waterfront for breakfast. After we had fuelled ourselves and the bikes, we slipped onto the highway out of Cape Town towards Paarl. The major road arteries come right into the centre of Cape Town, so it doesn’t take long to get out of town. We headed down the N1 highway for about half an hour, then turned off towards Stellenbosch.
Stellenbosch centres one of the 3 major wine regions around the Cape, and is one of the oldest established towns in the country. The wine estates are generally very pretty, and we enjoyed the views as we wound our way in towards the town. Once through Stellenbosch, we took the Helshoogte Pad (Hells heights road) to Franschhoek. This has to be one of the prettiest and most enjoyable biker roads I have ever ridden. Windy roads through pretty hills and beautiful curves, alongside the stunning farms and spectacular views make this ride special.
Franschhoek means “French corner” and is named after the French settlers that arrived in the 1600’s. The French legacy remains strong there, with many of the farms, shops, restaurants and hotels having French names. It was reminiscent of riding through rural France for a time.
From this little piece of France, we rode down the hills and passes to the Theewaterskloof Dam, a huge piece of water acting as the largest water storage and supply for Cape Town. We stopped on the bridge over the dam for some views and more pictures, and had a chat with another biker who had stopped to do the same. From here, we took the R321 road to Grabouw, and then headed east for about 5km’s to our lunch stop.
Art had told us about the Hickory Shack, a Texas barbecue stop. Just of the main road, a shady building with a large, covered verandah is home to this meat feast restaurant. Happy to get out of the sun for a bit, we drank litres of cool water and then happily chewed through our ribs and brisket. Well cooked and with lovely sauces, I was in my element. Well watered and fed, we mounted up once more and headed out for the next section of the ride.
From our lunch spot, we headed further east over the Hottentots-Holland mountain and then turned south towards the coast. We met the sea at Kleinmond, and then took the amazingly pretty coastal road all the way around Betty’s Bay into False Bay, smiling all the way at the pretty sea views and lovely curvy roads. Through the nice towns of Pringle Bay, Rooi Els and Gordons Bay we rode, through Somerset West where we left the coast for about 10KM;s before turning back down to the area of Khayelitsha.
Khayelitsha is both the largest and fastest-growing township in South Africa. Located on the dunes, many of the houses are built from scrap, and most don’t have their own water or electricity supplies. We saw no tarred roads, just sand tracks between the shanties. It was a real reminder of the poverty that many in this wealthy country suffer.
Past Khayelitsha, we rode on towards the distant hills of Cape Point. We passed alongside Mitchells Plain and closed in towards Muizenberg, when we found the road closed by police. We were expecting to be diverted back in the direction we came from, but the police waved the bikes through. As soon as we got closer to Muizenberg we realised why they had shut the road – the holiday traffic had rendered Muizenberg pretty much impassable. We took advantage of the slim profile of the bikes to filter through the traffic and pass miles of very slow-moving cars, which was very satisfactory.
Around the coast we continued to Fischhoek, where we turned north and rode over the top of the Point peninsula towards Noordhoek, and the rode the superlative Chapman’s Peak Drive. Many car adverts and some movie scenes have been shot along this road, recognised by many (including the BBC) as the worlds most beautiful marine drive. We stopped for more pictures, then went through the toll booth before finally reaching Hout Bay, where we dropped Roni and Art to collect their car etc.
My Satnav had run out of battery by this point so I navigated the final half an hour by feel, but didn’t run into any problems. we rode through Constantia and Newlands, and we ended up back at the hotel in one piece. I think that the ride today has probably been my most enjoyable of any that I have done before. The views, mountains and passes, the wine estates and the roads, the ever-changing landscape and the indescribable beauty that nature can provide, all under the clear blue, sunny sky all contributed to this amazing biker day. I would recommend this ride to everyone.