In 2014 we ran a competition asking cyclists to share their experience of cycling in their city. Here are some of the favorite community voted stories which paint a vivid picture of the joys, freedom, exhilaration and connection that comes from commuting by bike. Stories that will make you want to jump on your bike and join them!
GIRL MEETS BIKE AND FALLS IN LOVE WITH A CITY
“That’s Piet (on the left below)- my ride, my pride, my joy, my transport, my church, my source of inspiration. I commute everyday to work in Church Street from Tamboerskloof- I love flying down Kloof Nek with the wind in my hair and arriving in the office full of endorphins and feeling exhilarated. (The uphill ride back home is a little more sweaty I must admit).
Cycling this city is responsible for many things in my life – its added so much enchantment to my day-to-day existence, it has made me appreciate my body and how it works, its given me epiphanies, its made me embarrass myself, its made me howl at the moon, its made me friends and partners in crime; its given me smiles from strangers, its uncovered unexpected parties, its given me determination (and tunnel vision) up hills and unabashed head-thrown-back laughter downhills.
Most importantly it’s made me fall in love – with my city – and is the reason why I feel so lucky to call Cape Town home”.
Georgina Avlonitis, ecologist, Cape Town.
THE CIRCLE OF INFLUENCE
“18 months ago. I bought a bicycle. The next week I went to Critical Mass Johannesburg where I met Lerato. She was tall, feminine and beautiful on her bike. She was cycling alone. I said hello. She too had just bought her bicycle. Been friends since then. Lerato entered races. With one purpose. To raise money for charity. I am a cyclist I said. She told me: “No you are not, not until you have cycled to work”. So I cycled from Pretoria East to Pretoria CBD. 18 kms one way. Now I am a cyclist. I told Lerato: “I commute to work on my bike”. She smiled. Loved it.
Lerato decided to commute in 2014. But she wouldn’t do it in Lycra. She’d dress the way she always does! She cycled 7 kms in Fourways, Johannesburg to work. Behold! The motorists gave her a 1.5m gap. We decided it is the effect of the black silk dress, red heels and red lipstick. I followed Lerato and cycled to work in white pants and red heels!
Lerato received a thank you message from Nomalady Sidzatane in Port Elizabeth. A single Mom with a very humble life. When Nomalady saw photos of Lerato cycling, she was inspired to save up for a bike and full cycling gear. She now commutes everywhere! The circle of influence is bigger than imagined”. Mapaseka Vryman, Johannesburg.
“I love the freedom and fun of cycling. Going anywhere by car is faster but traffic is a nightmare. I decided to bike to work 1 at least once a week and it’s awesome. What started out as a weekly ride turned into a daily ride. I cycle from Milnerton to Kloof street. Cape Town has amazing cycle lanes so it’s a breeze to get to work. The city has it’s share of obstacles but that makes it that more fun. I feel like the hero from Premium Rush cruising and whipping through traffic on his fixed gear bike.
No really. I bought a fuji feather fixie. It’s probably my favourite bike. So simple. So fun. The sights and sounds on a bike are different. You get to stop and chat with people. You get to smell the food and coffee along the way to work. Heck. You could even buy a bagel and coffee from Greenmarket square. There’s plenty of bike racks and parking throughout the city so it’s easy locking your bike up and strolling around. I go everywhere on my bike these days. The waterfront. Gardens. Woodstock. The world is open now. One day I’ll cycle to Hout Bay on my little fixie.”
Dillon Kin, blogger at I Live Under a Rock, Cape Town.
LOVE YOUR RIDE, LOVE YOUR HOOD
“I’m a chic and I love cycling – commuting to work in London really helped build my confidence on the road and encouraged me to keep at it. When I moved to Cape Town, I kept asking people around me if anyone commutes to work and especially the women replied that it’s too dangerous and that they’re scared to cycle on the road. After giving it a go myself I had to realize that some motorists really do not like cyclists and cut you off, or hoot at you for no reason. But that didn’t stop me, in fact it encouraged me to start a social cycling group, The Riding Hood, to help women ride more confidently and safely in the city. It’s all about being part of the traffic and respecting the cars and rules on the road. I can’t expect respect if I don’t give it first. Not to say that my daily commute to work doesn’t come with challenges, but every little helps. I love my ride and I love my hood”.
Kat Rixon, founder of The Riding Hood, Cape Town.
Meet Mariska, the maker behind the cool, new bike-bag brand, Pieta Designs.
Win two tickets to this year’s Bicycle Film Festival – Cape Town!
Win an Enjoy ProXision kit (bib shorts and jersey) in our latest Gear Giveaway. Find out how to enter here…