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Pedal to the metal in the Mother City

The Sea Point Promenade is enjoyed by cyclists. Photographer: Armand Hough/African News Agency (ANA)

The Sea Point Promenade is enjoyed by cyclists. Photographer: Armand Hough/African News Agency (ANA)

Published May 4, 2022

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With its sweeping views of the Atlantic Seaboard, Chapman’s Peak and Table Mountain, Cape Town is one of the most breathtaking places in the world to cycle.

Home to the famed Cape Town Cycle Tour, the world’s largest timed cycle race, the city is geared to ensure that cycling – for leisure, pleasure, sport or fitness – is a cinch in the Mother City.

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According to Kirsten Wilkins, avid cyclist and managing director of Open Streets, group rides are on the increase, with people keen to enjoy the last few days of crisp mornings and sunshine.

Co-owner of East City Cycles, Jarryd Haley, says that, of late, he has also noticed the cycle culture seems to be gaining momentum once again.

“We are seeing more and more people getting gravel bikes, which are essentially road bikes with wider tyres. We think that a big part of this may have to do with the fact that those types of tyres make it easier to get up and down pavements and deal with bad road surfaces,” said Haley.

CEO of the Cape Town Central City Improvement District (CCID), Tasso Evangelinos, said: “The Cape Town CBD has long had a strong bike and cycling culture with iconic bike shops, knowledgeable retailers and enthusiastic and committed bikers. Cycling in the CBD was gaining momentum before the pandemic struck, and it is heartening to see it re-emerging as business owners, landlords and workers embrace the trend once again. This buys into the greater Mother City biking culture and bodes well for our downtown.’’

With the price of petrol becoming a huge concern, cycling to work has become an enticing option for many commuters who are looking to cut costs.

In the past, one of the problems commuters faced was the lack of options when it came to storing their bikes. Fortunately, there are enterprising bands of CBD commercial landlords and entrepreneurs who are addressing the problem.

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At The Box, the flagship skyscraper of Boxwood Property Fund in Riebeek Street in the CBD, tenants who like to cycle to work can now lock up their bikes in an indoor “bike park”, with added shower pods and lockers.

The bike park forms part of a R70-million renovation and is part of Boxwood’s move to make the office environment warmer and more conducive to the needs of workers in a bid to encourage them to come back to town.

Rob Kane, Boxwood Property Fund CEO, said: “Covid-19 demanded that we reinvent our approach to our buildings, to our neighbours, to the streetscape and to our tenants. The result is that our redeveloped buildings are more people focused and more adventurous.”

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Kane said that since the end of the hard lockdown, there has “definitely” been an increase in the number of tenants cycling to work.

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