Cycle to Work Day Celebrated

About 80 cyclists took to the street on Friday morning for the second annual Cycle to Work Day in Namibia.

While it was a smaller turn-out than last year’s 200-odd cyclists, it was a successful event, and the cycling fraternity all contributed to a memorable occasion.

Gundula Perry of the German embassy and some of her colleagues were kitted out in German embassy t-shirts, while the president of the Namibia Cycling Federation, Mannie Heymans sported one of the first electric bicycles in Namibia. It runs off a fully rechargeable battery and provides one with about two hours of driving.

Others dressed up for the occasion, like avid cyclist John Liao, who turned up in a black dinner jacket and black shorts, Nedbank MD Lionel Matthews was kitted out in his Nedbank cycling gear and national cyclist Dan Craven was riding in the kit of his new German-based club Bike Aid Ride for Help that he joined a few months ago.

Members of the City Police’s Bicycle Squad participated in the ride, as did members of the City of Windhoek Municipality and the German development agency GTZ, which distributed luminous safe cycling vests to the riders.

The ride took the cyclists from Maerua Spar, down Independence Avenue and out onto the Western Bypass and back, and Gerrit van Schalkwyk, the organiser of the event, said it was a worthwhile exercise.

“We had about 80 cyclists and four traffic vehicles from the traffic police. We stopped all the traffic and I think we definitely brought over the message of safe cycling and what the campaign is all about. It’s all about sharing the road and if you read our slogan, it says ‘same rules, same rights, same responsibilities, let’s share the road,’ and that’s what it’s all about.”

Van Schalkwyk said the smaller turnout was not a problem.

“For us it’s not so much about the numbers, but about the fact that we took 80 riders through the streets. For us it’s about getting the message of safe cycling out there and creating awareness about the Safe Cycling campaign. One must also realise that it takes two to three years to create a change in mindset in people, and that’s what we are busy with.”

Van Schalkwyk said it was an ongoing process and they planned more events for later this year.

“It’s an ongoing thing. Like last year, we once again distributed 35 000 cycling safety stickers through The Namibian, with the help of a sponsorship from Nedbank Namibia, so the word is definitely getting out.

“Later this year, towards October when the summer starts, we will have our annual ‘Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day,’ again. That’s where we get the kids involved and teach them about cycling safety, out on the farm roads, where we make use of other people’s property, as well as here in town.”

Source : The Namibian