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Cape Town - Cyclists who ride on Table Mountain say they are relieved at the removal of bush in an area used as a hiding place by robbers for attacking cyclists.
Robert Vogel, founder of Table Mountain Bikers and an executive member of the Pedal Power Association, said that following an attack on a cyclist there this month, he had had a meeting with Table Mountain National Park officials who agreed to have the bush cleared.
The Cape Argus reported last week that since the beginning of the year, three cyclists had been attacked at the spot near the King’s Blockhouse.
The first two cyclists were attacked in January. One had his bicycle stolen and the other was robbed of money.
In the third incident two weeks ago, lone cyclist Andy Wright, 54, was ambushed by four men.
Wright was knocked off his bike and one of the attackers made off with it, while he was dragged down the mountain by the other three.
Wright said they threatened him before stealing his shoes, helmet, gloves and other belongings.
On Sunday, he said he was still without a mountain bike but as soon as he got one again, he would consider cycling on Table Mountain in a group.
“I won’t cycle alone again,” he said on Sunday.
He said he was relieved that something had been done to try to prevent further attacks on that part of the mountain.
Vogel said the bush was removed on Friday morning and that the national park had agreed to work more closely with cyclists on safety issues.
He had also taken one of the rangers to the site to show him the area that they were complaining about, he said.
“I have also set up an SMS group where cyclists can subscribe and get the latest alerts and information on what to look out for. The head of visitors’ safety at the park is also part of the group, so they also get alerts,” he said.
Vogel said the positive outcome of the response to these latest attacks had been that cyclists and Table Mountain National Park had agreed to work more closely to create a safer environment.
Vogel said although removing the bush might not solve the problem, it meant that there was one less hiding spot for robbers.
Merle Collins, spokeswoman for SANParks, confirmed that the bush had been trimmed on Friday with the hope of discouraging robbers from hiding behind it.
Vogel said that although some cyclists had chosen to stay away, fearing for their safety, cyclists had begun to use the route again on Friday when word of the bush clearing spread.