Great road rides to do in Port Elizabeth

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We chronicle some of the best road cycling on offer in the windy city.  (Photo: @Richardpearcephotography)
We chronicle some of the best road cycling on offer in the windy city. (Photo: @Richardpearcephotography)
  • We get the road riding insights, from a local.
  • Port Elizabeth has terrific coastal road riding routes, with some surprisingly steep climbs.
  • It will be windy, though, so practise your best aero tucking technique and prepare to do some hard work out front, on a group ride.


One of Port Elizabeth’s most popular routes is the Marine Drive loop, an undulating 40km out and back ride along the unspoilt coastline.

On an early morning, you are guaranteed a low-traffic ride to start your day and on your return, there is usually the opportunity to observe a beautiful sunrise over the Indian ocean.

The ride starts from iconic Hobbie Beach, the venue for many Port Elizabeth triathlon and bike races. A straight 22km ride delivers you to the quaint little village of Schoenmaker’s kop, or Schoenies – as locals know it.

Here you will find an old cannon, dating back to old frontier wars and plenty of heritage trails to explore on foot. This popular route is frequented by both weekend warriors and novice riders. You might also get lucky and bump into some of the professional triathletes that live in Port Elizabeth and regularly train on this route, including Kyle Buckingham or Natia Gouws.

The riding is quite flat, with less than 200m total elevation gain. If time trialling is your thing, then Marine drive is your playground.

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Cycling
Epic mornings on Marine Drive. (Photo: @Brucecampbell87)
Cycling
The friendly city lives up to its name - giving a hand up Van Standes climb. (Photo: @Brucecampbell87)

Inland, some climbs, and farmlands

Port Elizabeth has a wide variety of cycling routes to keep you riding all week, offering you diverse experiences.

If you continue on Marine drive to complete a single lap of the Ironman course, then you will turn right on Schoenies, a nice test to the legs for about 2km averaging 2- to 3% gradient. Once conquered, Sardinia Bay road comes up on the left, this stretch is just shy of 7km with an average 1% gradient and gives one a chance to unleash the legs and ramp up that average speed again.

Sardinia village is a tranquil settlement nestled between suburbs and a nature conservation area that stretches to the sea. The majority of horsepower you see here usually on four limbs. There are many stables in the area and often cyclists will pass horse rides on the verges along this route.

A right turn from Sardinia road takes you up Link road, just under 1km, but featuring a steep 5% gradient, delivering you to the famous Grass Roof farm stall on the corner with Seaview road. May training squads and trail runners camp here on weekends.

Grass Roof is the convergence point of most training routes in Port Elizabeth. It is 30kms from Hobbie beach, 15km from the Ironman turn around (45km turn point) and 40km from the edge of the farmland routes.

Those willing to climb further, up Maitlands (2km at 4.5% gradient) are often rewarded with the sight of dolphins just off Maitlands beach. Once over and down Maitlands, you can turn left and take on ‘the wall’, an unforgiving climb that peaks near 10% but averages 7% gradient and will is nearly 3km in distance.

Port Elizabeth has routes for all abilities and training for any distance you could wish to ride. All we can warn you about is that there will be wind. It could be the beastly east or that local favourite, the westerly, but you are guaranteed to earn your right to ride, battling the winds.   

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