Rainmaker RollerCoaster – Garden Route Gravel Cycling Ride

What is the most beautiful country in the world? That’s probably not an easy question to answer but you can be certain South Africa would be in the mix. So, it’s no surprise that HotChillee, a London based company specialising in organising endurance cycling holidays since 2004 keep returning to our shores.

Among HotChillee’s events is London to Paris that finishes in Paris a day before the Tour de France does so the company has the pick of where they’d like to go but South Africa’s diverse landscape has made it a no-brainer.

Last year, the company launched the world’s first 7-day Gravel Adventure, the Rainmaker Rollercoaster. This 7-Day point to point Gravel Stage Race starts in Swellendam and finishes in Plettenberg Bay. There are no in race vehicle transfers to the journey is purely by bike.

Desert, rainforest, deciduous forest and pristine white beaches, the route has it all. No wonder Britons and Europeans are flocking back to the second edition this year. But what good is having a great backyard if you don’t get to enjoy it yourself? HotChillee is keen on seeing the locals take time out that they’re offering a special rate to South Africans.

Riders can take part in teams of two or can ride in small groups supported by the HotChillee Ride Captains. The event will be open to mountain bikes as well, but the parcours will suit the speed of a gravel bike. There will be jersey and age category awards.

“I was hooked on my first gravel ride three years ago,” said Sven Thiele, HotChillee Founder.

“Putting the Rainmaker RollerCoaster together over that period has been a wonderful experience and seeing the level of buy-in by locals, authorities, riders and sponsors indicates that gravel racing and riding will be the new wave of cycling. The route between Swellendam and Plettenberg Bay will stand out as the finest and toughest gravel race in the world.

“South Africa, and the Western Cape in particular, is ideally suited to gravel riding with its quiet, long and safe district roads that connect towns, villages and farms. There are challenging climbs and the terrain and scenery are some of the most beautiful in the world. It combines the best aspects of road and mountain bike riding, but at the same time imparts a unique cycling experience that we believe takes this wonderful sport to a new, exciting level.”

At the heart of everything they do is the HotChillee Development Rider Programme that’s been going since 2012. As part of this programme there are sponsored places for academies they work with.

This year we have also teamed up with Qhubeka. Together with the Buffalo Foundation we will raise 500 bikes across our 2019 multi-day event series for the Kwanokuthula community in the Knysna district which will be handed over on the last day of the Rainmaker RollerCoaster. We plan to distribute over 3000 bikes over the next three years.

Date: 5 – 11 October 2019

Event Format

Race or ride – it’s up to you!

Enter as a “racing team” of two, or “ride and survive” in a small group with the renowned HotChillee Ride Captains and enjoy the support and camaraderie en route. 

The event is open to mountain bikes as well as gravel bikes, but the parcours will best suit the speed of a gravel bike. The event has been sanctioned by Cycling South Africa. 


Saturday 5th October: Sign On & Prologue.

Sunday 6th October: Stage 2 – Swellendam – Swellendam (95 km)

Monday 7th October: Stage 3 – Swellendam – Riversdale (107 km)

Tuesday 8th October: Stage 4 – Riversdale – Calitzdorp (109 km)

Wednesday 9th October: Stage 5 – Calitzdorp – Oudtshoorn (53 km)

Thursday 10th October: Stage 6 – Oudtshoorn – Uniondale (113 km)

Friday 11th October: Stage 7 – Uniondale – Plettenberg Bay (90 km) & visit Kwano Cycling Academy.

Saturday 12th October: Last transfers back to Cape Town (via Swellendam)

For more info and to enter, go here: https://www.hotchillee.com/event/rainmaker-rollercoaster/

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