Ride and find all Cape Town’s cannons with this new event

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Like many great port cities, Cape Town has historic cannons. With amazing views. (Photo: Brian Brummer)
Like many great port cities, Cape Town has historic cannons. With amazing views. (Photo: Brian Brummer)
  • The Cape Town Cannon Challenge takes riders on a tour of 16 historical cannons.
  • Riders can complete the challenge on their own time and submit their Strava file as validation.
  • A cannonball floating trophy is in play for the FKT.

This weekend saw the launch of the Cape Town Cannon Challenge. The event format is a combination of mixed terrain cycling and geocaching along with a good dose of adventure

Organiser Grant Clark is no stranger to adventures, with Cape Town to Cairo rides on his cycling CV. Most recently, he was part of the exhibition that discovered Sir Ernest Shackleton’s ship. Clark wanted to give cyclists in the Cape Town area the opportunity to have their own adventure.

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Cape Town does not lack for cycling inspiration. But the Cannonball Challenge, adds something novel. (Photo: Brian Brummer)

Sixteen cannons 

"In the beginning of last year, I was riding from the King's Blockhouse on Tafelberg road and noticed a couple of canons. Then I started noticing canons everywhere and thought that it could make a cool route if I link them up," says Clark.

"I was inspired by trail running events like 13 peaks and the Gone 2 Gone series and have based the Cannon Challenge around a similar concept," explained Clark.

Clark wanted to make it a real challenge to give those who complete it a sense of achievement. The route totals 160km and 2750m of elevation gain and will see riders visit 16 cannons in Cape Town Castle, Signal Hill, Llandudno, Kommetjie, Cape Point, Simonstown and Table Mountain, among others.

Cannonball challenge
Some of the cannons, are at the end of gravel trails. Best bring the gravel bike, for that. (Photo: Brian Brummer)

You need to ride off-road, for some of them

The route is a mix of tar, gravel and even some singletrack. Riders will need to employ a gravel or a mountain bike to complete the Cannon Challenge.

"Some of the cannons are located so that riders will need to get off their bikes for a short distance, but we feel like this is part of the adventure and it forces riders to take a look at the cannons," says Clark.

Entry is free and riders need to download the route from the event website. Once the challenge has been conquered, riders can upload their Strava files and complete a form to claim their embroidered finishers badge and be in line for monthly prizes.

gravel bike Cape Town
Discover a cannon. Have a rest. Capture it for Insta. (Photo: Brian Brummer)

All finishers get a badge 

Embroidered badges will be available for those who complete the challenge in a single ride and those who do it over multiple days.

Clark has also created a floating trophy out of a full-sized cannonball. It will be awarded to the rider who managed the entire route in the fastest known time (FKT). Names will be engraved onto the ball as it passes between titleholders.

Gravel ride
The Cannonball Challenge is great outing or ride project, for your cycling group. (Photo: Brian Brummer)

A must-do for riders in Cape Town - and visitors

There will be monthly prizes for men and women who complete the challenge, and hampers for the first ten men and women that ride the challenge each year.

The Cape Town Cannon Challenge is scheduled to run indefinitely. "I would like the route and the challenge to become a fixture of the Cape Town cycling community and something that tourists and visitors use as a way to explore Cape Town," concludes Clark.

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