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18 Mar, 2015

Jozi goes cycle crazy

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Named simply Cycle Jozi Week, South Africa’s largest city plans to get more people on their bicycles with a week-long festival of cycling from 16 to 22 March.

Building on the success of the last two Freedom Rides in Johannesburg, Cycle Jozi Week will include some exciting cycling events such as Jozi Hustle, the regular Critical Mass and rides along the city’s newly developed and planned cycle lanes.

Furthermore, as the project is partnered by the City of Johannesburg and the Gauteng Department of Transport, cyclists will be allowed to take their bicycles on board city buses during the week.

Culminating in the city’s third Freedom Ride, which will link the township of Alexandra with the urban hub of Sandton in an attempt to connect and integrate these widely different communities, Cycle Jozi Week aims to get more people onto their bikes (especially those who cannot afford it), to integrate cycling with public transport, to urge people onto their bicycles as a way of improving personal health and to create awareness of cycle safety.

In addition, the week will also include a workshop for city planners and engineers and a national “cycle cities” conference.

Organised by the South African Institute of Civil Engineers (SAICE) and the Cycle Jozi Week organisers, a two-day “cycle cities” training workshop will also take place during Cycle Jozi Week, where local and international experts will speak to local engineers and planners on ways of how to develop cycle friendly cities.

As part of this workshop, which will take place on Wednesday 18 March and Thursday 19 March, there will be a lunch hour ride along the University of Johannesburg and University of the Witwatersrand cycle lanes on both days.

Following on from that workshop, the City of Johannesburg, the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives and the National Department of Transport will host the Developing Cycling Cities Conference on Friday 20 March at Orlando Stadium.

The conference aims to define a framework for developing cycle cities by focusing on four themes: “bikeconomics”, planning, urban design and infrastructure, safety and awareness and social mobilising and bike access, the conference will also include a lunch time ride along the Orlando cycle lanes.

Cycle Jozi Week will culminate in the Freedom Ride, which will take place in Sandton on Sunday 22 March. Similar in format to previous Freedom Rides, the route taken will follow some of the designated cycling routes and link suburban and township communities using the city’s “Corridors of Freedom”.

The ride will pass the house where Nelson Mandela once lived (corner of 4th and Hofmeyr streets) as a tribute to the late statesman and his ideal of overcoming the physical barriers of apartheid.

Although participation in the Freedom Ride is free, cyclists will be encouraged to raise sponsorships for their rides or make contributions for bicycle empowerment centres in Johannesburg.

The Freedom Ride starts in Maude Street, Sandton at 08:00 (be there before 07:30 to avoid the rush) and are asked to register on the website www.freedomride.org.za.

For more information about Cycle Jozi Week, contact Muhammed Suleman on 011 486 4076 or 073 198 6927.

Last year’s Freedom Ride participants were able to see artwork like this in Soweto. The Freedom Ride taking place on 22 March will take cyclists into Alex. File photograph.

Raymond Travers

Raymond Travers

Modern Cyclist Editor |

Editor