Would you like to learn how to ride a bicycle?Are you looking for someone to cycle with together on your regular trip? Would you like to learn how to maintain your bicycle? Are you looking to meet others using bicycles for commuting? And more…
Or have you been thinking about offering your cycling experience to others who are interested? Perhaps you have a favorite cycling route you would like to share with others?
JUCA has partnered with the Brazilian NGO – Bike Anjo – to bring to the fantastic online platform to connect people who are bicycling with those who are interested. It is very easy to use. It is already very popular around the world with people in 560 cities (and growing) using it.
In a recently issued request for proposals (RFP), the Gautrain Management Agency (GMA) signaled its continued support for cycling, walking, and public transportation.
The RFP broadly seeks to understand how the GMA can improve public and active transportation options to the high speed train stations. We welcome this. In particular we are pleased to see an intent to explore the feasibility of a public bicycle sharing system at one of the train stations in Pretoria. Such a scheme we believe would certainly lower some barriers to bicycling and send a positive public signal about utility cycling.
Given the apartheid spatial legacy which contains to present long travel distances, we have always seen part of the solution to supporting everyday cycling in Johannesburg and rest of the country as twining it with public transport. In effect weaving together cycling and buses, trains, taxis into one system. We are glad the GMA is taking a positive step in this direction.
This also means allowing and enabling bicycle users should they choose, to take their bicycles aboard buses and trains. The GMA and many other public transport operators are yet to take this step. We would like to see other public transport agencies following suit and seeking full integration. We would like to see this in the future even on a trial basis to foreshadow wider roll-out.
“I miss my bicycle so much.” These are some of the first words spoken by Nthabiseng Malaka before her follow-up interview begins.
Nthabiseng began her cycling journey when she became one of ten students from the University of the Witwatersrand to receive a bicycle from the property management company, Southpoint, in a competition aimed at advancing a cycling culture in Braamfontein. Her bicycle was provided on a long-term loan basis, and Southpoint has since taken it back.
Zuri, the specially named bicycle that Nthabiseng had grown attached to, had become her main means of transport. She ran errands, cycled to and from school, and frequented one of her favourite places, Newtown Junction. “Anywhere close by, I would cycle to instead of walking or taking a taxi because that saved me money,” she explains. Cycling was not only cost-effective, but her preferred choice of exercise.
A smile lights her face when she speaks of the various and exciting activities that cycling had introduced her to. She recalls the Johannesburg Critical Mass ride, a cycling event usually held on the last Friday of every month – “it exposed me to a cycling life in town, and other people I had never known; it was a new way of networking and socialising.” Nthabiseng misses this cycling culture and expresses it at every moment she can throughout the interview. “What will I do with my life now?” she often asks.
That is indeed the question. Nthabiseng describes her transition from cycling to walking as “back to being ordinary like other people.” She is currently saving for a new bicycle; one to permanently call her own. While networking, she had met some people who customise bicycles and has decided on a personalised one in pink. Nthabiseng knows that this is a long-term goal that she has set for herself as she is not looking to buy “just any bicycle” – she wants one as good as Zuri.
Early on Monday morning the 12th of October, Gauteng Transport MEC, Ismail Vadi will join a bike train of cyclists leaving from their homes in Diepsloot to various places of work across Johannesburg.
In support of the EcoMobility World Festival, JUCA and the City of Johannesburg have been organising bike trains to ferry people together to and from various destinations. Bike-trains are convoys of people riding their bicycles together to and from whatever destinations they choose.
Each day, hundreds of Ecomobility Champions who live in and around Diepsloot ‘arrange’ their own bike-trains. However they do so within a hostile road environment. There have over time been reports of accidents some of them very serious. Motorists travelling on one of the routes preferred by the Ecomobility Champions because it offers direct connections from home to work and back – William Nicol Drive – travel at high speeds and often edge them off the road.
In this light, JUCA is calling for practical steps to improve the travel experience of Diepsloots’ Ecomobility Champions. These include:
We would like to see law enforcement to ensure motorists observe speed limits and a minimum passing distance of 1.5 metres from cyclists
Development of protected bicycle lanes
We would like best in class in protected bicycle lanes developed along the routes that the Ecomobility Champions use.
Cyclists will converge at Diepsloot Mall to commence the ride. The MEC will join the cyclists at the corner of Erling Road and William Nicol Drive and ride with them for part of their journey onwards to the Indaba Hotel. At the Hotel, the MEC will briefly interact with the cyclists and engage media. Click here for the ride map.
We will post an update following the solidarity ride.