Chapman's Peak- Cape Town

 Chapmans Peak is named after John Chapman a pilot of an English ship, which becalmed in Hout Bay back in 1607.They first started hacking into the mountain between 1915 and 1922 to build the road from Noordhoek to Houtbay,a small fishing village.The road was reopened in 2005 once they resurfaced it and engineered nets to prevent rockfall hitting the road.The road stretches 4.75km with an average gradient of 2.7% and a maximum of 13%.Chapmans Peak cuts into a sacred mountain with clay rocks radiating the suns rays against it.Chapmans Peak in more recent years is known as the final shakeup on the Cape Town cycle tour which is the biggest sportive event in the world.

There's something special about this climb.It brings back so many wonderful nostalgic memories as a kid.Chapmans Peak is a combination of  the perfect distance and elevation for you to take in some of the world's most spectacular views.Every corner is magical as the road cuts into the clay rock mountains and opens up to the most delicious views of the Atlantic Ocean.There are many routes you can approach Chapmans peak but I always recommend hitting it from Noordehoek side.
Cruising along Muizenberg the wind is calm with the African sun beating down on you.As you cruise past St James pool which back in the day used to be one of the few places for people of colour to swim at.There are some tasty places to stop, chill and grab a coffee.One place I can’t recommend enough is Kalk Bay,a traditional hangout spot for most cyclists to grab coffee and catch up with old friends.Bootlegger's serves amazing coffee or Chai latte which is on point and you have to try the banana bread, Oh my god is it delicious!!!
As you swoop round the bay you approach Fish Hoek.The view to the left opens up and you get this panoramic view of the Indian Ocean.As you exit Fish Hoek the road winds to the left and you head towards Glencairn where the wind always picks up and you are always guaranteed a headwind along that section.Two kilometres ahead is Simon's Town,the Cape's Naval Base and the famous Jubilee square..Opposite Jubilee Square is a small cafe called mermaids cafe this is my go to stop if I'm doing a short spin.
There are signs every few kilometres don't feed the baboons.I've ridden this road alot over the last 20 years and its not that often you’ll bump into baboons.This time I was faced by a gang of 20 baboons all waiting on the side of the road waiting to rob the only cyclist brave enough to enter their territory.The most sensible thing would be to turn around head back home or wait for them to clear off.For some bizare reason I thought firstly I’m not turning around.Believe you me this is not my first rodeo.Its not uncommon to come across wildlife in the cape region.So I dropped into the 53x15 and gave it full gas for 300 metres flight or fight until i was out of their territory.
At this point you can now almost see the tip of Southern Africa.I love this final section it's quiet you are in your own element and it's just a brief escape from the madness of the world even though you might have just escaped death few kilometres down the road.As the road harks to the right and takes you inland it kicks up breifly for 300 metres before you get slingshot downhill.This section is superfast as you fly downhill effortlessly towards Scarborough.In Scarborough there’s a cycling friendly cafe serving healthy smoothies and coffees.As you exit scarborough you are now graced with your first glimpse of the Atlantic Ocean and kite surfers taking on the wild waves in the distance.The road dips to the right and you have the final run in towards Chappies.The road surface is velvet and smooth,its like you having your legs savoured before you hit chappies in just a few kilometres.The initial run into Chapmans Peak is fast and as you hit the first ramp its like all your momentum get's pulled out from under you due to the change in road surfaces..The first kilometre is like a little teaser asking you “are you ready?”
To the left there’s a shark warning flag indicating whether you are about to be eaten up alive or you about to live another day.From this point its like entering the gates of heaven.You get invited into this paradise of absolutely breathtaking endless views.After every corner opens up to more spectacular views.It's at this point I’d say stop and just take in the views because it simply is spine-tingly gorgeous.As you enter the overhanging cave it just allows you to escape the african sun for a brief moment before you enter the paradise again.This is where the real climb starts, the incline rises gently as the road winds through the red rock vista.As you go past the derelict watch house on the left you get a glimpse of the seal island in the distance which is just off the coast of Hot bay where thousands of seals seek refuge.The final kilometre the road eases off just slightly as you build speed towards reaching the top of Chappies.This iconic location is where people stop for selfies as it opens up to panoramic view of Cape Town's finest.The descend from here can be sketchy.Cape town is known for its ferocious winds.You might not be hit by winds on the descent on the first corner but don't be fooled the winds coming off the sea can easily catch you by surprise.So I’d proceed with caution heading down.As you fly dow into Hout Bay there is a cafe to the left  which we’d recommend stopping there for refreshments otherwise continue to the next climb Suikkerbossie but we’ll leave that for another adventure…..