Cape Town - The pandemic has given birth to a bicycle hub in Langa, a centre that offers a cycling service in the area that includes delivering food to bedridden beneficiaries of food kitchens and Covid-19 infected people.
Langa Bicycle Hub is the brainchild of bike fanatic Mzikhona Mgedle, who had been involved in cycling and non-motorised transport initiatives for five years with Open Streets Cape Town, and he has partnered with Siyabonga Ngwevela, a bike mechanic, Marcela Guerrero Casas and Sindile Mavundla.
“Since June, we have been using bicycles to transport food donations to Covid-19-positive people working with St John, an NPO offering medical services. We collect medication from this clinic and distribute them to bedridden beneficiaries in our community. We have mapped out more than 25 beneficiaries who get their food from the food kitchens delivered to them for free every week,” Mgedle said.
Ngwevela had been fixing bicycles for more than 15 years from his shack.
“I started fixing bicycles after the birth of my daughter. I had an old bicycle I was using to travel to work, and started to learn how to fix bicycles when I had no choice but to cycle from Langa to Cape Town every day. I then started to learn what equipment to use when building old bicycles from scratch.
“We aim to use bicycles as a form of transport and community building in Langa by helping people who want to learn how to ride, collecting old damaged bicycle materials and building bicycles suitable for gravel and flooded roads in informal settlements,” he said.
Mgedle said he was inspired by how bicycles empowered people to commute differently and the potential for innovation of bicycles in township.
“The pandemic has opened an opportunity to be creative about how we usually function and has given us an opportunity in which the Langa community can use bicycles, not only as leisure but as an alternative mode of transport in the community. Our aim is to normalise the use of bicycles as a form of transport on the narrow roads in our township.
“We are particularly keen to see more women and children on bicycles and we are currently looking for funding to purchase two containers to set up the hub,” he said.
St Johns co-ordinator Nombuyiselo Nonkonyana said the hub had been of great assistance and was tirelessly working to ensure food security for individuals and families.
She said their goal was to expand the hub and be a central home for bicycles and wheelchairs in the area while also fostering non-motorised conversations around the world.