Cycle tour hype misses townships

By Time of article published Mar 12, 2012

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Lumka Nofemele and Sibusisiwe Lwandle

Cadet Agency

35000 cyclists and the city in frenzy; it could have only been the annual Cape Argus cycle tour. Every year, once a year, the tour infects the city with 'cycling fever' but it appears that Cape Town's poorer communities are not catching the bug.

Living in one of Cape Town's suburbs, in the days leading up to the tour, you would just have to look out of the window and you would have seen that that the cycle tour was upon you with many riders taking to the city's streets to prepare. But in the city's townships there was a very different situation.

If you had taken a walk through the Mfuleni township in the days leading up to the tour, the chances of bumping into a cyclist would have been very slim. “I know about the cycle tour and I know that it is happening but I am not very interested”, said Zweli Madiba, a father of two and sales assistant from Gugulethu. He spent his Sunday in church and then with his family, with cycling being the furthest thing on his mind yesterday. Bertha, a stay at home mother from Factreton was also not taken by yesterday's tour. “I stayed at home and did my washing”, she said. “My children and don't even know what the cycle tour, they don't have bikes”, she added. One of her children, a grade ten girl who asked not to be named said that she doesn't know of any cyclists from her area but she is sure that people in Factreton would be interested in the cycle tour if they knew more about it.

Yesterday's cycle route started in the city centre and ended in Green Point, covering areas like Fishoek, Muizenberg, Simon's Town and Chapman's Peak , but it did not go through any of the townships. The streets of Khayelistha and Langa were not filled with excited cyclists or people excited about cyclists.

With the likes of Helen Zille, high profile 5fm disc jockeys and representatives of several charities doing the race, yesterday's cycle tour was arguably one of the biggest. But it was only big for the suburbs because for the townships, it was very small.

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