When I was a student at Stellenbosch University our main means of transportation was our bicycles – whether you were going out on the town, popping to lectures (a rare occurrence for me, sadly) or escaping into the hills for some quiet time (codeword: to go and commune with cheap wine and nature), we had our bikes to thank for getting there.
Since I’ve had my car though, it’s pretty safe to say that I’ve been four-wheel bound and the more I see people making noise about ditching cars and making way for bikes the more I’m realising I’m way behind the times.
I had a look around and discovered that Amsterdam is the bike capital of the world, where 40% of the population commute to and from work (anyone who’s tried to cross a street in this city will know what that’s about) and Denmark’s capital Copenhagen has a whopping 32 % of the population commuting (you can read more about the top 10 bicycle friendly cities in the world here
In Cape Town, despite the fact that we are predominantly car bound, there are people making waves with their wheels -thanks to urban mobility initiatives like Critical Mass Cape Town which SkinnylaMinx’s Heather Moore blogged about here. It’s the local arm of an international group of bike-minded people who get together on the last Friday of every month to take to the streets of their city to promote motor-free transport, road sharing and fresh, non polluted air. How cool is that?
I also recently discovered a new Mother City initiative called By Bike, a for-hire bike initiative that’s currently running in the Deep South. What it entails is the hire (R120) of a yellow By Bike at a participating vendor – riders can then make their way to or from places like Kalk Bay, Glencairn, Simonstown and Kommetjie and all they have to do is drop it off when they’re done with it at a participating vendor. Easy peasy lemon squeezy (though in my case I think it’ll be more huffy-puffy-shoot-me-now-when-will-this-bloody-hill-come to-an-end?!).
Feeling brave? Pick up a bike at Olympia Café in Kalk Bay (don’t forget to fuel up with an espresso and one of their buttery croissants), pop through Fish Hoek, stop at Glencairn for a swim and toddle down to Simonstown (how about a lovely pastry at the fabulous The Sweetest Thing – home to the best sausage rolls and patisseries on this side of the mountain..mmm, i’m seeing a food theme here?). And if you’re too tired to ride all the way back – simply drop your bike off at the allocated spot in Simonstown and catch the train back to where you started! Happy Days.
Well done to By Bike for taking the proverbial bull by the handlebars.