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18 Sep, 2015

Freedom Ride spotlights inner city suburbs

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Scenes from the last Jozi Freedom Ride. Photographs by Hugh Fraser.
Scenes from the last Jozi Freedom Ride. Photographs by Hugh Fraser.
Scenes from the last Jozi Freedom Ride. Photographs by Hugh Fraser.
Scenes from the last Jozi Freedom Ride. Photographs by Hugh Fraser.
Scenes from the last Jozi Freedom Ride. Photographs by Hugh Fraser.
Scenes from the last Jozi Freedom Ride. Photographs by Hugh Fraser.
Scenes from the last Jozi Freedom Ride. Photographs by Hugh Fraser.
Scenes from the last Jozi Freedom Ride. Photographs by Hugh Fraser.
Scenes from the last Jozi Freedom Ride. Photographs by Hugh Fraser.
Scenes from the last Jozi Freedom Ride. Photographs by Hugh Fraser.
Scenes from the last Jozi Freedom Ride. Photographs by Hugh Fraser.
Scenes from the last Jozi Freedom Ride. Photographs by Hugh Fraser.
Scenes from the last Jozi Freedom Ride. Photographs by Hugh Fraser.
Scenes from the last Jozi Freedom Ride. Photographs by Hugh Fraser.
Scenes from the last Jozi Freedom Ride. Photographs by Hugh Fraser.

The fourth Jozi Freedom Ride which takes place on Sunday, 11 October, is set to celebrate former South African President Nelson Mandela’s legacy and his commitment to bridging the social divide.

Jointly sponsored and hosted by the City of Johannesburg, Hollard and bicycle programme Qhubeka, the 27 kilometre ride will link communities with its crisscross between urban and suburban barriers across Johannesburg. The social ride is open to everyone – from beginners to professionals of all ages.

This year’s ride will start at Sandton’s Gautrain station and move through Parktown, Hillbrow, Yeoville, Alexandra and then back to Sandton.

It forms part of the EcoMobility World Festival 2015, which takes place in the Sandton central business district from 1 to 31 October. Riders can expect a variety of festivities to participate in upon their return into Sandton – including a Family Day full of fun activities.

Johannesburg Executive Mayor, Clr Parks Tau pointed out that the Freedom Ride initiative was brought to life by cycling activists in partnership with the City four years ago.

“In line with our former President Nelson Mandela’s vision of social cohesion, the Freedom Ride is designed to connect communities by getting people of all socio-economic backgrounds in Johannesburg onto bicycles and riding on the streets of our city,” Mayor Tau said.

Mayor Tau added that “the ride is set to move from Sandton, which is the richest square mile in Africa, all the way through some of Johannesburg’s oldest suburbs and into disadvantaged areas - giving participants an opportunity to directly explore social diversity in the city”.

Objectives of the Freedom Ride include promoting the use of bicycles as a daily mode of transport and highlight current and future cycling routes within the city. Participants in the October ride will get to enjoy the new cycling lanes which connect Alexandra with Sandton.

The Freedom Ride does not require riders to sign up as it is an open public event. However, we encourage riders to register on our website at www.freedomride.co.za to ensure that sufficient services are in place. When signing up, we ask riders to make a voluntary donation towards bicycle empowerment in the city. Together with Qhubeka and the City of Johannesburg, we are using bicycles to change lives.

The funds raised through the Freedom Ride are used to set up Bicycle Empowerment Centres (BEC) in low income areas across Johannesburg. These BECs consist of bicycle mechanics and trainers, second-hand bicycles at affordable prices, and fully-functional bicycle workshops. The centres are used to empower the community through road safety and bicycle training, as well as cycling clubs. As part of the programme, the City and Qhubeka are working together to distribute bicycles in areas where the BECs are located.

The first BEC set up in Orlando has grown from strength to strength. In September 2015, it distributed 293 bicycles to needy learners who are currently enjoying the training provided, and exploring their new-found freedom as they cycle the lanes the City has developed in the area.

For more information, visit www.freedomride.co.za