New route to woo cyclists
Cape Cross a world-class biking facility
PROGRESS on the epic cycling route between Plettenberg Bay and Cape Town ratcheted up a gear yesterday with the launch of the first section of the multimillion-rand initiative.
Dubbed the Cross Cape, the route will include worldclass trails through some of the Western Cape’s hidden gems. It was started in an attempt to boost tourism and create thousands of jobs in the province once fully operational.
The first 5km of the 600km route was official opened yesterday at the Garden Route Trail Park between Knysna and Sedgefield, with MEC for Economic Opportunities Alan Winde and several other enthusiasts undertaking the maiden ride.
Local tourism body Knysna and Partners chief executive Greg Vogt said the section was on a par with world-class single track trails and would carry the stamp of approval of the most discerning international riders.
“The goal is to attract 100 000 international cyclists to the region every year, and leave them wanting to come back for more. So we want our trails to be up to standard,” he said.
Winde said his vision was to see the route becomes a “bucket- list” activity for cycling enthusiasts.
The development of the new route is being driven by the Western Cape government, Wesgro, local municipalities and private sector stakeholders in the region.
In the current financial year, the Western Cape government will invest more than R4 million in the initiative, which will include road track, mountain trails, jeep and forest tracks.
“This initiative stands to deliver a major economic boost for the Western Cape and especially for the small towns along the route,” Winde said.
Through projects like the cycle route the department wanted to create up to 100 000 jobs.
“The increased economic activity the route will bring into our region will drive new economic opportunities for residents.”
Winde said some of the job opportunities would be created through accommodation establishments, bike servicing services, restaurants and trail parks.
He added an example of one of the communities set to ben- efit from the initiative was Keurhoek.
“The community there relied on forestry, an industry which no longer exists in the area, for survival. So the route would create a new opportunities that weren’t there yesterday.”
The first leg of the route – about 160km between Plett and George – is set to be completed by March. The entire route is scheduled for completion in about two years.
“The success of the Cross Cape to date, and our ability to launch the first 5km, is due to the drive, support and leadership shown by the local municipalities, tourism offices, landowners, cycling communities, technical teams and businesses along the Garden Route”, said Wesgro spokeswoman Judy Lain.
“The Western Cape’s landscape, mountains, long safe district roads and the fact that we are embraced by a magnificent coastline provide cyclists of all levels the opportunity to explore one of the most beautiful places in the world by bike.” – Garden Route Media
Western Cape MEC for economic opportunities Alan Winde leads the pack during the maiden ride of the first 5km of the Cross Cape route at the Garden Route Trail Park.