Tis the season for carols...
ByeCycle Electric Bicycle Tours in Cape Town
Explore the Mother City by bike without breaking a sweat
A magical wardrobe in The Chronicles of Narnia (a popular series of fantasy novels by C.S. Lewis) gave four curious children the chance to explore a world that was unknown to them. It was a portal to a new realm filled with wonder and adventure.
Fast-forward to the 21st century and Cape Town-based tour company ByeCycle is making use of a device – the electric bicycle – that, although not nearly as rustic as an enchanted wooden closet, serves a similar purpose to the Narnia cupboard: it makes a whole new sphere of exploration available to people who never had access to it before.
That is, this two-wheeled wonder gives all types of riders access to the joys and benefits of a standard bike tour – they can interact with the Mother City’s sights on a more intimate, on-the-ground level and enjoy the care-free feeling of wind in their hair – but without any of the effort or exertion. And so essentially, ByeCycle owners Jenny and Andrew Trench have opened up a new world where people can journey effortlessly up steep hills, glide along off-the-beaten paths and see all of Cape Town’s stunning scenery from a saddle regardless of their fitness level or age.
“Just the other day, we had a 73-year-old man soaring up Signal Hill on one of our tours,” exclaims Jenny. It is the e-bike’s integrated electric motor that makes it easier for even older individuals like the man in question to conquer sheer slopes without having to do much strenuous pedalling, and this, of course, makes a cycling tour that much more laidback and enjoyable.
“You don’t have to sweat; there’s no huffing and puffing. It’s just great fun,” says Jenny. Part of the appeal also lies in the bike’s versatility: those that enjoy the physical side of cycling can still exert themselves by tuning the settings of the bicycle to reduce motor intensity and those that are allergic to exercise can adjust the bike accordingly too. And since the bike does most of the work for you, you’re free to shift your focus away from getting the tyres to turn and onto the sights and smells around you, allowing you to really soak in and appreciate your environment.
Jenny and Andrew work with a passionate, dedicated team of tour guides to ensure that the excursions on offer are exciting and reveal not only the common Cape Town landmarks but the hidden gems too. Some of the key options include the Sundowners on Table Mountain Tour, which takes the form of a 2.5-hour trip to the top of Signal Hill to watch the sun go down while enjoying snacks and Champagne; the Sunday City Breakfast Ride, which explores key landmarks in the CBD and includes a breakfast stop; and the daily Promenade Ride, which is a smooth cruise along Sea Point’s recreational strip. On top of these, cyclists can customise their own tours for special occasions and they can get quite creative as this modern beast of a machine can take riders almost anywhere in the Mother City.
An electric bike can go as fast as 35km/h, meaning that cyclists can cover quite a bit of ground in one trip - although the folk at ByeCycle encourage more relaxed speeds so that rides can take in more. The main prerequisite for participating in a tour is that you must be able to ride a traditional bike; however, as emphasised, you don’t have to be cycling fit. Those worried about safety can take comfort in the fact that a service car follows every tour to tend to any bike emergencies, and the two-wheelers also come with helmets and bags (to store belongings). Riders are encouraged to wear closed shoes and comfortable clothing in order to get the most out of the journey.
“Most people don’t want to get off them,” says Jenny about the many ByeCycle tour-goers who get addicted to the electric bikes after trying them for the first time. And no doubt, cyclists don’t want to dismount the bikes for the exact same reason that the curious children from The Chronicles of Narnia kept wanting to go back to the magical wardrobe. After all,, why would you want to part ways with something that adds such magic to your life?
Note: The maximum body weight allowed on ByeCycle’s electric bikes is 100kg and participants must have a minimum height of 1.6m. Under-16s are unfortunately not allowed to ride due to the bicycle’s motor feature.
Tip: Eager to actually own one of these two-wheeled motorised beauts? Then you’ll be happy to know that ByeCycle also sells electric bicycles at its store in Oranjezicht.
The Bill: Each bicycle tour is priced differently.The Sundowners on Table Mountain Tour costs R690p/p (and includes champagne and snacks), the Sea Point Promenade Ride is R590p/p and the City Tour is R650p/p.
Booking a ByeCycle Tour:All tours, except for the Sea Point Promenade Ride (which allows for riders to pop in at the Promenade any day of the week), must be booked in advance, and a minimum of four riders is required for an excursion to run. Bookings can be made by calling +27 (0) 76 403 7320 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Looking for other exciting ways to explore the Mother City? Have a look at our overview of top Day Tours in Cape Town.
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