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WWestern Cape’s wine-growing region is legendary for its scenic beauty, with towering blue mountains, lush expanses of vineyard and sunny summers that allow the grapes to ripen on the vine. While many tourists choose to explore this panoply of wonders by car, there is no better way to experience the Cape Winelands than on a bicycle.
Cape Town-based Bikes ’n Wines runs bicycle tours for visitors who want to enjoy the winelands in an active way. Its cycle tours take place on private farm roads, through the vineyards and tree-lined avenues typical of this region. Along the way, the groups get to visit some of the best wine farms in the region and to taste the wines (while keeping a clear head, of course, for the cycle back).
All tours are guided, and they range from casual cycling and family tours to more intensive mountain-biking outings.
In line with Bikes ’n Wines’ carbon-neutral policy, it has a partnership with Greenpop, an organisation that arranges for the planting of trees. For every 10 riders who book a tour with Bikes ’n Wines, a tree is donated.
While you can organise a transfer to your location of choice, Bikes ’n Wines also encourages the use of public transport, such as the train, to the starting point.
A tour, for instance, could meet in Stellenbosch (after a train ride from Cape Town), and then involve cycling between 10km and 30km while visiting several wine farms, such as the tiny Lovane Boutique Wine Estate (known for its red wines), Overgaauw (a farm that specialises in Merlot) and Van Ryn’s distillery.
In Franschhoek, guests can enjoy other treats such as a visit to a chocolaterie, while the Wellington area is ideal for mountain bikers. There’s also a mountain-bike tour of the magnificent Hemel-en-Aarde area near Hermanus, where some of the country’s finest wines are made – thanks to its proximity to the sea.
A new and increasingly popular tour is the Peninsula Pedal, which follows part of the route of the famous Cape Town Cycle Tour. This day out starts in Simon’s Town with a stop at Boulders Beach, to see the African penguins, and a side trip to Cape Point. From here, there is a road transfer to Noordhoek, where guests can tackle the dramatic Chapman’s Peak Pass (also known as Chappies) to Hout Bay. Along the way, guests will enjoy a picnic and wine tasting.
Bikes ’n Wines has 45 bikes for hire and all tours are guided, so must be pre-booked. They cater for all levels of ability, even complete novices.
TTravel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
Bikes ’n Wines
Tel: +27 (0)74 186 0418
How to get here
All these areas are easily accessible by road from Cape Town, or simply ask Bikes ’n Wines to provide you with a transfer.
Best time to visit
Spring (September to November) and autumn (March to May) are the most beautiful months in the Cape. Winter is the windy, rainy season, while summers can be hot.
Tours to do
Franschhoek is one of the most scenic parts of the country with many interesting wineries, while Wellington offers mountain bikers good off-road opportunities.
On a bicycle, of course.
What will it cost?
Consult the listed website for the prices of various tours.
Length of stay
A couple of days in the Cape Winelands is almost too short – explore for a week, if you can.
What to pack
Comfortable shoes, a swimming costume and towel, sunscreen and sun hat, a warm top/windbreaker, a camera, money for any wines you wish to purchase along the way.
Where to stay
Bikes ’n Wines offers tours in Wellington, Franschhoek, Stellenbosch, Grabouw/Elgin, Hermanus and Cape Town, all areas with ample accommodation ranging from comfortable B&Bs to high-end hotels.
Many Western Cape towns hold festivals throughout the year. Ask local tourism offices, or see their websites, for more information.
Order some wine to ship home.