Who are we?
The Pedal Power Association is the largest cycling organization in South Africa. It currently has some 18 000 paid-up members, spread all over the country, although the largest component is in the Western Cape, where the Association has its headquarters.
Founded in 1976 as Western Province Pedal Power Association, the Association (a Public Benefit Organisation) came into being as a result of the running of the first Cycle Tour that was to develop into the now-world famous Cape Argus Pick ‘n Pay Cycle Tour.
An elected committee of 12 persons, who meet once per month, provides strategic direction to the Association. The PPA Office is staffed by twelve employees, who administer the day-to-day running of the Association and its members and co-ordinate the fun-rides that are staged for the benefit of the members and other cyclists within the greater Western Cape.
The largest component of the service Pedal Power provides for its members is facilitating more than 50 well-organised cycle events per annum. These are split roughly half-half between mass participation road and Mountain Bike funrides, with a recreational tour or two and some events for the more competitive cyclist thrown in as well.
Committee and staff members are involved with sub-committees that deal with the various aspects of the work of the Association. These portfolios include Finance, Membership, Commuting, Women’s cycling, Scholars’ cycling, Discipline, Fun-rides, Development, Mountain biking, Racing, BMX and the like. Amongst others, for 2011 the Association is focusing considerable energy on facilitating new mountain bike routes in the Table Mountain National Park, as well as new routes in the Hottentots Holland area. On the safe cycling side, the Association is funding a two-year ‘safe cycling’ study relating to safe passing distances between motorists and cyclists.
The Association also expends considerable effort in the field of development of the sport in the poorer, previously disadvantaged areas and presently supports several clubs and projects in this regard (read more under Project funding). It is also involved with various safe cycling and non-motorised transport initiatives.
While the fun rides on the PPA calendar are overseen by PPA office staff, these cycling events are organised by various service organisations to raise funds for a charitable or cycling-related cause. Amongst others, the Association provides the organizers with guidance in the form of a reference manual and hands-on assistance from the Fun-ride coordinator, crew to assist on the day; the Association pays the costs of timing for the PPA members, provides ride marshals, provides all equipment needed to mark the route, and more.
To promote safety at the fun-rides, the Association seeds its members based on ability (using previous ride results) and governs the manner in which the fun-rides are started in order to ensure the safety of the competitors. Cyclists of comparative ability are thus put into seeded starting groups and starting groups are kept to manageable numbers relating to the road or route conditions of a specific event.
The Association’s income stems primarily from membership fees and, to a lesser extent, from a share in the profit of the Cape Argus Pick ‘n Pay Cycle Tour. While income from membership fees are used to run the Association, the income received from the Cycle Tour is used to fund the various projects and cycling initiatives.
The Association’s headquarters are found in property owned by the Association in Mowbray. Additionally a satellite service is provided to members at each of the weekend events where staff is on hand to deal with membership and related queries.