So popular is the Cape Town Cycle Tour that its start is the second biggest movement of biomass on earth, superseded only by the wildebeest migration of the Serengeti. Far outnumbering participants, though, are the thousands of spectators that line the route.
Those of us who are less inclined to inclines, as it were, can still get involved in the world’s largest individually timed cycle race. Supporting the race can be a great deal of fun, even more so if you’re properly prepared.
Having a spot along the course is good, but not all spots are created equal. Ideally, you want to be in a position where the cyclists pass relatively slowly. This gives you more time to stare into their sweaty, hot faces, appreciate the agony that their legs are going through and then shout some vague encouragement at them.
Cyclists have to worry about complicated things like carbo-loading, fluid intake and electrolytes. As a spectator you have no such worries.
A solid breakfast of bacon and eggs is fine, as are some fried onions, and even a few mushrooms. Remember to bring along your skottel, camping stove and plenty of tomato sauce.
Towards the end of the race some of the more casual riders might be tempted to ask for a bite or two – this is up to your discretion.
Read: How this old fart got fit
No, I don’t mean chugging water to avoid dehydration. Sporting events tend to blur the traditional concept of time a bit, which opens the door to one of life’s greatest pleasures: day-drinking!
Don’t hit the red wine, though, or the rest of your Sunday might be a write-off. Instead, a few beers for the boys and some bubbly for the ladies will lend a certain joviality to the proceedings.
The real reason for the presence of spectators is to convince the participants that cycling around the peninsula during the hottest time of the year is a good idea.
Clapping works a treat here, as do arbitrary cheers, but to really mark your mark you need to get creative. Here are some of my personal favourites:
Shout “Go John” at a large group of cyclists – there’s bound to be a John in there somewhere and he’ll feel very special.
Yelling a simple “Continue cycling” is also good for instruction and motivation.
“Look! It’s the human race!” makes for a fantastically lame joke. Past experience has told me that jokes about the menstrual cycle are not well received.
And of course, shouting “nearly there!” no matter where you are on the course is always pleasantly infuriating.
Who can ride the Cycle Tour twice in one day?
How to cycle safely
Be the best supporter