‘The bicycle is a curious automobile. Its passenger is its engine.’ — John Howard, US bike owner
“I’ve at all times identified a bicycle as a mode of transport. I began biking at three years outdated, after which commuted from faculty at age of seven,” says Sindile Mavundla, the managing director and co-founder of Khaltsha Cycles, a “one-stop bike store” with a bodily outlet in Cape City’s Khayelitsha, in addition to an internet store. Mavundla, an ardent bike owner and proponent of biking tradition, additionally sits on the chief committee of Pedal Energy Affiliation, South Africa’s “largest leisure biking affiliation”.
Past promoting bikes, Khaltsha Cycles, which takes its title from the colloquial time period usually utilized by Khayelitsha residents to seek advice from the township, additionally runs a number of applications to advertise biking within the township, in addition to bicycle excursions of Khayelitsha’s espresso retailers, avenue murals, graffiti, group gardens, and the close by Stellenbosch wine farms.
“I’ve been commuting to work for over 5 years – Khayelitsha to Cape City and Pinelands. Via biking I met so many individuals rising up, therefore my buddies name me the mayor as a result of most individuals know me from childhood and my purple bicycle,” Mavundla provides.
Moreover the useful, the commute from level A to B, and the financial advantages of short-distance journey with out the price of gas, biking presents quite a few well-documented – and regularly researched – well being and environmental advantages. A UN environmental report printed in June 2019 provides to the physique of analysis: “Switching from a automotive to a bicycle saves 150g of CO2 per kilometre. Every 7km by bicycle will save an emission of 1kg of CO2 as in comparison with the identical distance coated by automotive. In a five-year interval, Dutch folks prevented 1.41 million tons of CO2 annually by way of biking. This saving is equal to 54.4 million trees being planted each year”.
And close to well being, the report states: “The well being advantages of biking every day moderately than taking a automotive for brief journeys outweigh the dangers of inhalation of air pollution. Day by day train prolongs life expectancy by roughly three.four years whereas inhalation of polluted air reduces life expectancy by 1 to 40 days. Common biking boosts bodily health and is an environment friendly strategy to stop weight problems”.
Like Mavundla, Cape City-based founding father of clothes label Sol-Sol, Mathew Keiser and his brother Jared have been biking since they have been youngsters, a interest they’ve saved up properly into maturity.
“I can’t actually keep in mind my first time on a motorcycle, however I do keep in mind my first spin on the bike that bought me hooked on driving. It was an outdated blue Moser metal racer from the late 1980s. I took it for a take a look at journey exterior the store, I simply keep in mind it feeling tremendous comfy, prefer it was the proper match. I liked that bike. Sadly, its body broke in December 2017. RIP,” says Jared.
Mathew then again, remembers a extra aggressive introduction to the journey.
“I believe my earliest reminiscence on a motorcycle was a mountain bike race my brother and I took half in. I simply keep in mind coming second, but additionally considering everybody was loopy as a result of the quicker I spun my legs the slower I used to be going. I didn’t understand how gears labored,” he laughs.
“There are such a lot of issues I really like about driving. From exploring cities to racing buddies on empty, open roads. It’s such an environment friendly means of getting round, it retains you match and wholesome… it’s low-cost… it’s enjoyable. Driving makes me glad. I might go on and on,” provides his brother Jared, who now spreads the love of the journey by organizing races for Cape City’s Mom Novice Bicycling Membership, which, in line with him, isn’t actually a membership.
“Mom novice bicycling membership isn’t actually a membership, it’s only a bunch of free bike races we put collectively all year long. Anybody can be part of. Our races vary from Steel-themed hill climbs to fastened gear drags. Most of them are city and don’t contain lycra, however a few of them do.”
Though not as concerned as his brother in organizing the races, Mathew explores his love of the journey by participating within the races, and incorporating it into his different love, the rag commerce. Two years in the past, after selecting up one in every of their biking kits in Hong Kong, he reached out to Copenhagen-based biking attire model Pas Regular Studio, which led to him turning into one in every of their native distributors, in addition to being one of many model’s world ambassadors.
“There may be only a sense of freedom and accomplishment with biking, you possibly can just about go anyplace by yourself steam,” says Matthew.
That freedom to discover at will stays a drawcard for a lot of a devoted bike owner.
For Khaltsha Cycles’ Mavundla, it’s a massive a part of what retains him coming again to his bike 12 months after 12 months, since he was three years outdated, and properly into maturity.
As Mavundla enthusiastically places it: “It’s the sensation of freedom!” DM/ ML