Chappies to open for Argus?

I’m not a big fan of cyclists, generally. They clog up the local roads, ignore red traffic signals, weave and wobble all over the place and then moan when you hit them. Yes, some of my best friends are cyclists, but we know that if civilities are to be maintained during a braai or social curry, then the subject of cycling is best avoided.

It doesn’t help living in Cape Town, where the Cape Argus Cycle Tour – the largest timed cycling event in the world – takes place each autumn. Sure, it’s “just a day”, but there’s all the road closures, detours and damn lycra everywhere. And all the parlance in all the local pubs is about “going sub-three” and stuff. (I was hugely disappointed when I found out that this was time to do the race and not metres underwater.)

But now, taking over the entire peninsular for a weekend and more is not enough. They want Chapman’s Peak Drive reopened for them for the day. “Because they’re special”…

photo: Hubert January on Flickr.
Chapman’s Peak Drive, ruining a mountain recently.

I should explain. Chapman’s Peak Drive or “Chappies” is a stunning road cut into the cliffs between Hout Bay and Noordhoek with some of the most amazing views in the world (personally, I prefer the R44 south out of Gordon’s Bay, but anyway…). But with cliff cuttage comes rock fallage. Fortunately, the (allegedly corrupt) Entilini company who built and now operate the toll road knew about this and put big nets up to catch the rocks which would otherwise squash the cars. These are called catchfences (the biggest misnomer since Pussy Galore) and they don’t work. That’s why Chappies has been closed since heavy winter rains last year made it too dangerous for cars and buses and lorries and people to go along the 9km route.

But not for 35,000 cyclists in March, apparently. No. They are invincible (except when in contact with motor vehicles) and thus, falling rocks pose absolutely no danger to them at all. And so they want Chapman’s Peak reopened for them. For the day.

Never mind the poor souls who live in Noordhoek and Kommetjie who have had to add an extra 40kms onto their journeys into Cape Town for the past 6 months. Entilini (who helpfully get paid by the Province whether they are collecting tolls or not) have consistently ignored their desperate pleas to reopen the road. “No,” say Entilini, “it’s unsafe! Rocks and stuff. Gravity. Squashed car. Lawsuit. See?”
But it looks like they’re going to open it up just so the visiting Jo’burg lycra brigade can have their jollies on March 8th. If I lived in Noordhoek, I’d picket, toyi-toyi and block the road*.

The announcement was promised last night and, because it’s being made by the Province, will actually be made this afternoon. And if it’s a yes, it will be a big two fingers up to the local residents, at which point, maybe we should be asking what Entilini stand to gain from the deal. Because otherwise – why would they open an unsafe road for 35,000 potential targets?

EDIT: And, as widely predicted on this blog, they have opened Chappies for the Argus. Shock.

What a disgrace. As Kaiser Chiefs once said: I predict a riot. Although knowing the gentle folk of Noordhoek, perhaps it will just be a stern letter to whoever will listen.
Presumably, on Monday 9th March, it will suddenly become “too dangerous” again and be closed for another 6 months.

* This is what I would do if I lived in Noordhoek and does not amount to incitement to violence.

46 thoughts on “Chappies to open for Argus?

  1. Maybe the company reckons that people who wear lycra and cushions on their bums won’t sue if hurt by falling rocks?

    Lady Fi´s last blog post was: Embarrassing … or what? (Note: 6000 miles… is not responsible for the content of external internet sites)

  2. “And all the parlence in all the local pubs is about “going sub-three” and stuff.”

    Well if you will insist of drinking in those “poofter pubs” behind the lentil curtain what else can you expect?

    At the “Royal Oak” all we talk about is the footie & the size of the new bairmaids knockers.. 🙂

  3. LadyFi > It’s all very dodgy. I think Noordhoek is going to sell out of drawing pins on Argus day…

    DW > Yes, been there, done that. But it’s in backstreet TableView. Decent clientele though. My M-i-L left her cellphone there and – GOT IT BACK! 😮

  4. Yeah you see even with the risk of being hit by falling rocks, us cyclists will still have a far greater life expectancy than say, the writer of this post, all that pent up anger towards people that are healthier and fitter than him. Just cant be good for his already cholesterol clogged heart.

    He also didn’t think to factor in the money his Capetonian friends in the hospitality/tourist industry (probably the only industry that keeps Cape Town going) will pull in from 35000 cyclists arriving from Joburg. Don’t bite the hand that feeds you. Or wait… The hand that pays the taxes that builds your useless nets to catch your useless rocks. Not to mention the roads that you have to unfortunately share with cyclists to get to your waiter/chef/bookstore * job so that you can save enough money to move to Joburg to get a real job.

    * you wouldn’t be moaning if you didn’t have to work on a Sunday so I will just assume one of these three job titles matches the description of your chosen career.

  5. Marine Circle is hardly a backstreet, it must be at most 50m from the beachfront. But agree they are friendly lot. Left loads of stuff there over the years & always got it back.

  6. Gregg > Welcome to 6000 miles… Where have you been all this time?
    It’s your sort of lucid, logical voice, together with that mischievous dangerously witty satirical streak, that this blog and its readers have been missing and thus, I would like to invite you to take over the reins (or should that be the handlebars – ho ho!) immediately. Or not.
    I must say, you are very rude about Cape Town though. Perhaps you should stay up in Joeys and cycle round some of your picturesque mine dumps if it

  7. Hey Greg, chill a bit. Go ride a bike or something. . .

    I don’t want to speak for 6000, but I’m sure that if there were any ‘pent up’ anger, it would certainly not be towards people that are ‘healthier and fitter’, but towards the smug, arrogant and self-righteous who clog our roads in pursuit of their recreational activity.

  8. Tim > Absolutely Tim. To me, it was Gregg that sounded a bit uptight.
    Meh – I don’t like cyclists, but the main gripe in this post was in support of the Noordhoek/Hout Bay/Kommetjie residents who have had their lives disrupted for months on end when – if the Argus does get permission to go through Chappies – there is obviously no issue with the catchfences.
    That said, I do find many cyclists smug, arrogant and self-righteous. My favourite bit is when they say that car drivers are killing the planet, before jumping back on their CO2-belching plane back to Gauteng.

  9. I actually live in one of the areas affected by the Chappies closure, so directly affected.
    For the most part I don’t mind cyclists. What I do mind is the attitude that some (or perhaps many) display and the ridiculous arguments given to justify why they have as much right to road use as motorists. Their complaint about cars killing the planet is just plain ridiculous as most are car drivers anyway. Besides, when confronted by the argument that cyclists don’t pay road-taxes, they admit this very fact.

    One of my favourites was when someone supporting cycling on a very one-sided radio show asked the question “how many motorists have been killed by cyclists?”, to support the anti-motorist argument…like we go out there and intentionally knock them over (even though it may be very tempting sometimes – this is a joke, Gregg). It’s like asking how many sharks have been killed by surfers. Just plain stupid.

  10. Yeah we may have mine dumps rather than a pretty mountain to look at. Yeah its a pity those mine dumps are what well… funded South Africa’s economy for the past 100 years or so. Oh wait, but fortunately capetonians built a mountain so that everyone can have a point of reference in case they get lost traveling between their place of residence and their drug dealer in Obs. I think my point really is that its quite sad how Capetonians are always moaning about people from Joburg visiting their beautiful city, when they forget that the only reason it gets maintained in its pristine condition is thanks to the stream of tourists, students and retirees from places like Joburg contributing to its economy.
    I’m sure you have recreational interests yourself 6000, and although your interest obviously doesn’t involve tar, it cant be such an inconvenience to pass a cyclist safely and calmly on route to your local pie-eating club or whatever it is you do for fun.
    Actually I wasn’t being rude about Cape Town, just a percetage of its population who feel that the people who actually contribute to its economy have no right to visit there. This same percentage of the population also seems to be in their 30’s, works in a coffee shop, and doesn’t fall into a taxable income bracket… the only contribution this sort of person makes to Cape Town, is keeping its thriving Tik industry going.

  11. Gregg > Wait – I though I sold books? Now I work in a coffee shop and take tik because I don’t ride a bike?
    I would argue that most of Cape Town’s tourist money comes from sources other than Jo’burg. But thanks so much for propping your poor Western Cape neighbours up with your hard-earned cash for the past century, anyway.

    I have the feeling that many people will look at what you’re writing and think that you are the perfect stereotype of cyclist from Johannesburg.
    And you probably think that’s a “good thing”.

  12. Tik’s popularity in Cape Town is quite possibly due to the stresses of dealing with obnoxious visitors, who don’t seem to have a sense of humour, and are also rather poor readers, judging from Gregg’s way-out-of-proportion response.

    Quinn´s last blog post was: They tried to teach my baby science… (Note: 6000 miles… is not responsible for the content of external internet sites)

  13. Quinn > Fair point, but remember that taking tik to ease our concerns over obnoxious, illiterate visitors has the useful by-product of making us Capetonians remain super slim, despite our pie-scoffing antics for the rest of the day.

  14. Umm Tim your putting words in my mouth now. I can’t remember the last time I heard a cyclist complain about how cars kill the environment. In fact all the cyclists I know (and yes I ride for one of the biggest clubs in the country) drive expensive motorcars and pollute the environment just like you. No we ride for sport and not to save the planet.
    No we don’t pay road taxes, your quite correct. If by road taxes you are referring to the annual license fees paid by vehicle owners I don’t see the relevance as the roads are (sometimes) maintained etc. out of funds that the government obtains through income tax, which I assure you that myself and my fellow cyclists contribute to more than the average pedestrian or in fact, licensed vehicle driver. Lets keep it relevant Tim.
    And the relevance here is that wherever you are driving to, it cant be THAT urgent that you cant at least slow down a little bit (at least down to the speed limit) to spare the life of another equal, tax paying human being. You joke about running over cyclists, but this is a reality we are faced with everyday, while we are obeying the law, riding in single file on the very left centimeter of the road and we get idiots still trying to intentionally run us over. And often get it right. No, we don’t have to kill ignorant motorists. Natural selection takes care of that for us. Unfortunately cyclists and pedestrians are often killed in the process.

  15. Gregg > It’s not often that an insult cuts me through to the bone. But you have managed just that and I am sickened by your words. How dare you, sir? How very dare you?
    You are a cyclist – you are IN NO WAY an equal human being to me. You have less wheels and you wear stupid, STUPID clothes and quite possibly have fertility problems.
    Never have I been so insulted on this blog. Well, not since someone suggested I was from Bloemfontein, but he apologised pretty promptly.

  16. I think I have better luck getting my point home if I went to my local zoo and preached it to the polar bears. 🙂 Anyhow, I tried. I really did. See, I wear my stupid (cycling clothes) on the outside rather than bottle it up and project it onto a blog.
    Perhaps its not my words that are sickening you, but the aftertaste of light bulb from your last hit of Tik.
    Actually if you tried to ride a bike (fear not…fortunately most of them have lifetime warranties on the frames, so if it happened to buckle under your weight, they would replace it at no cost) you would realize that the saddle supports your weight via your buttocks and not via your reproductive organs.
    This has however been a very entertaining debate, but I must get back to making a living now, so that I can afford to pay for accomodation in your lavishly overpriced hotels and still have some change left over to tip the waiters and waitresses so they can support their children and grandchildren.
    I hope at least any motorists ready this will at least give the next cyclist they encounter on our tar the benefit of the doubt, that they have the right to live, even if they doubt their contribution to maintaining and developing road.
    So in Capetonian Speak… like peace out man and like say like hi to the dassies and the like vynbos duude. Perhaps you’ll understand that bit. 🙂

  17. What, that your argument clearly lacks any point, Tim? Do you only ever open your mouth to change feet? Your only points were that cyclist are arrogant. Perhaps you are mistaking arrogance for fear of being driven over. How would you know this about us if we are on our bicycles and your in your car. Wow. So easy to get to know us while your wizzing past at 100km/h in a 60 zone through half a centimeter of glass with your middle finger raised out the sunroof and your other hand on the hooter. Whatever Tim.

  18. Gregg > A few points. If I may. Yes, I may. My blog.

    1. Yes, you are trying.
    2. How can writing on a blog for plenty thousand people to read be classed as “bottling something up”?
    3. The lightbulb thing – please. Down here, we’re very energy conscious and now inhale our crystal meth from CFL bulbs. Sure, the mercury is a bastard at first, but I find it clears my nose ready for the next hit.
    4. If your buttocks are what rests on the saddle, that would explain why cyclists can only talk when standing up.
    5. Another error: you suggest that cyclists deserve to live. *just kidding folks!*
    6. It’s Fynbos. With an F. Don’t they teach you anything at school up there?

  19. Gregg > And the “how does Tim know that cyclists are arrogant” thing?

    He’s talking to you on here. ‘Nuff said! 😉

    Have a happy and safe Argus. I’ll be the one watching at the top of Edinburgh Drive with the shaky hands and the big bag full of nails.

  20. I am a bit confused – yes the lycra might be a bit tight. You actually do care after all? It is through concern for the 35 000 cyclist that your write this. You are worried that by opening the road one or more of them might get injured by falling rocks. You are so concerned infact that you are willing to picket (conditions apply).

    Thank you.

    Ordinarylife´s last blog post was: Tortoise and the hare? (Note: 6000 miles… is not responsible for the content of external internet sites)

  21. Yep. 6000 has some points. Good funny ones. 🙂
    Specially number 6. No in Joburg we give our plants actual individual names, we don’t bundle them all into one category regardless of whether it starts with a V or a F. 😉
    Tim on the other hand dedicates his posts to blatant insults that he can’t justify for love, money or a few grams of Tik. Wait this next point is dedicated to you Tim… speaking right down to your level… I know you are but what am I?
    Awesome, look forward to seeing you at the Argus 6000. I’ll be the guy in the tight shorts and shirt with pockets on the back, riding a bike that costs more than your annual rent money that you pay to the foreign owner of the property you live in. 😉 Just kidding 🙂
    Great blog 6000, I’ll be sure to add it to my favorites list.

  22. OL > I do care. But the lycra is still obviously a bit tight if you think it’s for cyclists! 😉

    Gregg > I’m almost convinced that was genuine. Almost… 🙂

  23. OL > Not as much as I care about your health sitting hunched over a computer all day as your little picture suggests. Come ride a bike, get some fresh air, the risk of getting hit by a falling rock is far less than the risks of heart disease caused by sitting around idle all day.

    6000 > It was. Almost.

  24. Well in that case her picture nor her name doesn’t paint a very good picture. As Ironmen don’t generally have too much time to spend on their computers and they don’t generally live an Ordinary Life. They only yearn for one. Trust me.

  25. Gregg buddy – the insults were flowing freely from your posts dude, just scroll up a bit and re-read them. By the way, I was attacking the arguments of cyclists in general, not you in particular. As I said earlier, for the most part I have no problem with cyclists, it’s just the arrogant ones that bug me. You fell squarely within that category with your earlier posts. Your later ones are more conciliatory (disregarding your comments about me being a tik-addict, or whatever you were implying…I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you were being tongue-in-cheek). So…truce! 🙂 maybe cyclists and motorists can be friends, stranger things have happened…

  26. Gregg > Time to go home now. After all – you Jo’burgers have to be back at work at 5am.

    Tim > “…stranger things have happened”? It just trips off the tongue, doesn’t it?
    But then I sat down with my pie and my tik and I thought – do they?

  27. Tim, 6000, right you both are. Very much tongue in cheek, Joburg vs. Cape Town rivalry has about as much chance of being resolved as BMW and Mercedes teaming up to produce a C330i. Us with our money and our real jobs (just kidding, someone has to pour us cocktails and coffee on our visits to cape-town) and you with laid back lifestyles, beautiful scenery, awesome roads to cycle on and excellent food and wine. Cyclists and motorists can seriously share the road, until our government builds us cycling paths everywhere (and I’m sure they have better things to do, like feeding the homeless and revamping Thabo’s jet with leopard print upholstery) we have no choice really. I as a cyclist and a motorist can see where your frustration comes from. Not all of us keep to the road rules, ride in single file and only in double file where the verge allows enough safety to do so. But I assure you that there clubs and organisations out there that promote this and try to enforce safety rules within there clubs. Check out and if you must (“rival” club Cyclelab). Unfortunately we cant reach every cyclist out there, but the bigger we grow our club, the more people we can educate. Also support ThinkBike, they look out for us pedal powered cyclists as well as the motorized sort.
    So yeah, it has been a fun day Tim and 6000, idle banter about who’s cities have the best lightbulbs. Goodtimes. But I hope I made my point.
    How about a truce A) You let us have chappies (oh wait we already do its been opened). B) We’ll provide much spectacle with our pain and suffering and funny shorts while you sit next to the road and shout as many insulting or inspiring comments as you please as we go wizzing past.
    Spare us a thought for the 1cm of tar we use. Cycling is addictive as Tik and despite loosing guys to accidents on a regular basis and getting bikejacked, we just can’t stop. 🙂
    Peace out Cape Town. LOL.

  28. So, twice in one week you’ve managed to stir up the masses (should that read plebs) with your posts.

    Gregg > I’m a cyclist and religious reader of this blog. To take offence to anything that 6K writes just proves your arrogance and lack of sense of humour. I grew up in the Garden Route and I can tell you now that we’d prefer it if you Jo’burgers just stayed up north with your big, expensive cars and flash boats that are made for dams and not the ocean. You cost us more money in clean-ups and NSRI than you are worth. And Capetonians and foreign tourists tip a helluva lot better than you tight-arsed Vaalies. Enjoy your 14 hour work days so that save enough money to come and visit us while we enjoy our 7.5 hour days with a walk on the beach in the morning and a decent meal in a good restaurant in the evening! Also, how about you learn the difference betweeen “your” and “you’re” – something that really annoys us educated southerners!

    DelBoy´s last blog post was: Hot, hot, hot! (Note: 6000 miles… is not responsible for the content of external internet sites)

  29. “…But then I sat down with my pie and my tik and I thought – do they?”…I suppose that was after you flattened your bike frame riding home via your drug dealer in obs, from your job as a waiter in a coffee shop to support your grandkids?

  30. I love it when people jump to conclusions!

    More ordinary people do Ironman than elite athletes. And most ordinary people need to work, which generally means spending time at a computer.

    Ordinarylife´s last blog post was: Tortoise and the hare? (Note: 6000 miles… is not responsible for the content of external internet sites)

  31. The majority of cyclists are dicks (myself excluded)

    The majority of cyclists look like dicks when they are cycling (myself included)

    Cyclist do not have as much right to the road – they don’t pay any road tax and additional funding via speeding fines and don’t have big metal shells to protect them from incompetent drivers and themselves

    Entelini are clearly incompetent or corrupt or both – I can’t understand that a road that was open for many, many years is suddenly inoperable.

    I do however, think that Chappies should be opened to cyclists for the Argus. Chappies is an integral part of the ride and just because it is open to cyclists for one day doesn’t automatically mean it has to be open permanently for motorists (the same logic in point 2 sort of applies – you are not comparing apples with apples).

    If rocks start falling, you would think that cyclists should (mostly) be able to hear the noise, look up and take evasive action which you obviously can’t do in a car.

    I do fear the dreaded health and safety curse of the UK is sneaking in here. Yes – there is a risk that a cyclist could be killed on Chappies by a falling rock. But I reckon 1 in 35 000 is acceptable attrition, as long as it isn’t me. There are plenty of other ways cyclists can kill themselves on the route – accidents, heart attacks, cycle rage, other falling rocks at non Entelini maintained passes etc. This is Africa – life is exciting and dangerous so lets embrace it and accept the 1 in 20 000 000 chance of being squashed by a falling boulder.

  32. Goblin > They are a vocal lot. My favourite noises that they make are “Crash!” and “Argh!”.

    Gregg > I didn’t realise tha your needs were so few. You can have 1cm of tar anytime. Face first?

    Del > PMSL at the NSRI comment – how very true!

    Tim > It was – were you watching me?
    P.S. I was reading a book from my shop at the time. And it was on a Sunday.

    OL > Not if you work as a tik-sniffing bookshop waiter like all us Capeys.

    TA > “Use it on your website”, you said. So I did.
    “This is Africa – life is exciting and dangerous”.
    I knew there had to be some reason for moving here – and it certainly wasn’t imported soap.

  33. And then to top it all off Cape Town this March will host not one major cycling event, but TWO. You see, the Cape Epic is no longer starting in Knysna. The prologue stage actually takes place ON Table Mountain. So instead of there only being one week of cyclists, we hit the jackpot and get TWO!! Isn’t that awesome?? 😉

    I know a lot of cyclists prefer the route over Chappies than the “Detour” route. I also know that people from Kommetjie should also have a right to use Chappies. It’s disgusting that the road hasn’t been open all summer. I mean, it’s been teeming with rain all summer hasn’t it? (Oh wait, that’s Joburg. Not here…stupid place doesn’t know it rains in winter, not summer…)

    One thing that gets me is this apparent common misperception that Joburg funds Cape Town. What rot. If anything, Joburg SHOULD support us because we were here first, and if it hadn’t been for us Joburg wouldn’t even BE.

    Great article 6K. Nice one.

  34. Orange > Ha! Brilliant! I never thought of that one.
    Had it not been for a nice quiet bay here in CPT, My vd Stel would probably have continued round to Mozambique and Jo’burg would be Maputo. If you see what I mean.

  35. Hey 6K (will check later why the name) I am one of the treacherous cyclists who will be attempting BOTH of these events. My advice is pick up a bike and get to know why!


  36. Dianie > Welcome – thanks for visiting – and for the comment.
    Look, I used to cycle when I was in the UK. Didn’t mean I needed to wear lurid lycra and ride down the middle of the road (or mountain) 17-abreast. It was functional cycling – get me to work and back. No silly clothing, no silly helmet, no silly attitude.
    P.S. Don’t pick up the bike – try sitting on it. No expert, as I say, but I’m sure you’ll find it less strenuous that way. 😉

  37. hahahah – that was so funny – the comments i mean – the blog wasn’t too bad either!

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