With entries officially opening today, around 3 000 participants are set to head to the shores of Gqeberha for the 37th The Herald Cycle Tour, hosted by Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality (NMBM).
The 2023 action starts with the mountain bike races at the Addo Polo Club on February 12, after which the road events will take over Pollok Beach on February 18 and 19.
The Herald and Weekend Post editor Rochelle de Kock said the event would offer a “wholesome experience for everyone” and encouraged cyclists and their families to take part in the festivities.
She said there would be more entertainment and stalls as well as lots to do for kids to ensure that everyone could enjoy the experience while cheering on the riders.
As a flagship event on the Bay’s calendar, De Kock said the aim was to expand it without compromising on professionalism or standard of health and safety protocols.
The municipality’s director of sports, recreation, arts and culture, Charmaine Williams, said the city was proud to be associated with the event because of the economic and tourism spin-offs.
She said The Herald Cycle Tour offered an opportunity to position the metro as a preferred hosting destination for sport and recreation events.
The 80km Extreme is the feature event on the off-road programme. It is supported by the 60km Adventure, 30km Leisure, 30km Tandem, 5km Kiddies’ Ride and 500m Toddlers’ Dash.
The road programme is anchored by the 106km Classic for various racing categories on the Sunday with the 55km Adventure for age groups and tandems completing the action-packed day. The 2km Kiddies’ Ride and 500m Toddlers’ Dash are scheduled for the Saturday.
Those with designs on racing the feature events in both disciplines can target the Ultimate Quest title.
The race villages will have family picnic zones (lunch baskets will be available), a family tent, beer garden, kids’ play park, live entertainment on stage and VIP lounges.
The race has drawn support from a wide range of businesses including the Eastern Cape Motor Group, Standard Bank, Powerade, Radisson Blu Hotel, Zuurberg Mountain Village, Relay EMS, Talisman Hire, K&W, Trek and Cyclo Pro, Thule, Wayne Pheiffer Cycles, Coimbra Cycle Centre and Goshawk.
It supports the Smile Foundation, Reach for a Dream, The Herald Christmas Cheer Fund and Uthando Youth Cycling Academy.
Entrants can also support the Helmet Heroes initiative, which is aimed at increasing the safety of those who commute by bicycle.
The goal is to distribute 100 helmets to people on the race route. Riders can make a token donation when entering or drop off pre-loved helmets at registration.
Entries are open on www.heraldcycletour.co.za until midnight on February 5. For other information, contact The Herald marketing manager Berna Ulay-Walters at firstname.lastname@example.org.