Can I cycle from Cape Town to Colesburg along the N1?

South Africa's Arrive Alive site says that no cyclists are allowed on freeways, but is the (entire) N1 a freeway?

Wikipedia says South African national routes are

roads and freeways

Google maps seems to say yes to cycling on the N1 starting from Worcester. The first 130km from Cape Town are over Wellington and Bain's Pass.


Found this blog entry. The man traveled on the N7 with his bicycle. Screen shot of the route.

  • 1
    I am not sure what you think Google map says yes to (if N1 is a freeway or if you can bicycle there), but according to Google Maps, the first 80km or so of the N1, from Capetown until just before Rawsonville, is a freeway, on which you are not allowed to bicycle. From there to Colesburg, the N1 is a regular road. Is there any reason why you don't believe Google maps here? Jan 15 '17 at 22:41
  • @Tor-EinarJarnbjo I have found Google Maps unreliable when it comes to what roads have access to cyclists or not. In Norway, I've seen it make a 500 km detour to avoid a 500 metre tunnel that has a pavement, and I've seen it route cyclists through long and deep undersea tunnels where cycling is prohibited. I would certainly not take Google Maps word for it.
    – gerrit
    Jan 16 '17 at 10:32
  • @gerrit Bicycle routing is not available on Google Maps in South Africa anyway. What I ment was the distinction between freeway and regular roads, which btw can be confirmed with Google Streetview, at least provided that the images and map data is not outdated. Jan 16 '17 at 11:20
  • 1
    You might want to think twice about the enjoyment of cycling on 120km/h two-lane roads even though they are usually in superb condition and have wide paved shoulders. Anyway, Google street view works on South African roads- just have a gander at the conditions. Jan 16 '17 at 18:07

Whether or not cycling is allowed depends more on the type of road than how it is named.
Since you're already aware that "no cyclists are allowed on freeways" and you suspect that the entire N1 may not all be a freeway, you're half-way there.

Freeways in South Africa are designated by one of these 2 signs:
enter image description here

So if the road you're on does not have one of these at least every few km, then you're not on a freeway and the no-cyclists-on-freeways prohibition doesn't apply.

While the only stretches of the N1 I've spent much time on are close to Cape Town and are freeways, I can say that vast stretches of the N7 are certainly not freeways and I have certainly seen cyclists there.

So unless there's another prohibition preventing it, you should be allowed to cycle on the N1 on any section which is not designated a freeway.

If you'd like to start your trip closer to Cape Town, you could follow the R101 out of Belville as this road parallels the N1 for large sections and in some areas like the DuToits Kloof Pass actually is the original N1 route from before the Huguenot Tunnel was built.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy