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From the CEO’s desk (July 2017)

Since my last letter, two more cyclists have died on our roads and they will not be the last.

We seem to live in a society where some people apparently think they can get away with murder and they do, literally. We listen to the victims who tell us about the lack of interest and lack of professionalism shown by the police or prosecuting authorities. We are doing as much as we possibly can – getting information, using our contacts to get action from the authorities, speaking to the victims and their families, offering our assistance where possible and within reason.

I apologise for the morbid tone of the intro, but I feel I need to emphasise that we as PPA are aware of these incidents and we do what we can to try and help in some way.

In the Koos Roux case (the cyclist killed on Bottelary Rd in May 2013), we have finally reached the end of the road. Geoffrey Merrick was found guilty on four charges, culpable homicide being the main one. Sentencing takes place on 22 August and we are hoping for a harsh sentence. The PPA Office will be at the Kuilsrivier court for the sentencing and you are welcome to join us as we stage a silent protest.

Utility Cycling & Infrastructure
Last week I met with civil engineers Knight Piesold, who asked me to have a look at their upcoming infrastructure projects in Somerset West and Strand. They were looking for input on the placement of cycle lanes as well as some perspective on the Draft Cycling Strategy for Cape Town. I thought this was a very proactive move on their part and hopefully PPA gets pulled into more such discussions in future.

A number of you would have seen the cycle paths taking shape along Spaanschemat River Road near Tokai. I cycled on the newly asphalted section past Constantia Uitsig two weekends ago and noticed how bumpy the ride was. I pointed this out to the local ward councillor, Liz Brunette, asking her to get the contractors to run a roller over the entire section. What we don’t want is a brand new cycle lane not being used because it’s uncomfortable to ride on.

PPA has also been registered as an Interested & Affected Party for the Kommetjie Road Project and we receive regular updates and notices from the contractor.

There are a number of individuals who are taking the bull by the horns and getting involved in alerting the City to issues around cycling infrastructure and points or sections which they feel can be changed or adapted to make cycling in their neighbourhood better and safer.

It really is worth getting involved at a local level. Your voice counts in your neighbourhood. Your local ward councillor is your first point of contact with the City, if the call centres can’t help. For a list of ward councillors, click HERE .

PPA Mowbray House
Our rezoning application was recently approved and the team would like to move back “home” as soon as possible. The Mowbray office is far more connected to the community and is located next to a cycle lane, while public transport is also close by.

We now need to redesign the Mowbray property to suit our needs. I’d like this office to include a multi-use space that can function as a small meeting venue, a clubhouse, or a space where our members can flip open their laptop, do some work and have a coffee.

I am therefore putting out a call to any architects who are interested in working with PPA to create a practical and environmentally sustainable workspace. Please spread the word and contact Karin at our office if you’d like to work with us on this exiting project.

Racing Ladies – This is for you
How many of you have heard of the Zwift Academy? This is a unique talent search which offers women cyclists from around the world the chance to win a one-year pro contract with CANYON/SRAM Racing. The next Zwift Academy selection starts in September and I would urge our local racing ladies to have a look at this opportunity. 

Local cycling coach and mentor, Barry Austin, is currently working with the CANYON/SRAM team and we are talking about creating an opportunity for a junior female cyclist from our PPA Academy to next year get a sneak peek into life on the Ladies World Tour. I will keep you posted.

Bike4All
From August onwards, BEN, Qhubeka and PPA are gearing up for a large distribution of bicycles in the Kommetjie corridor. We will be starting in Ocean View and move on to Masiphumelele and the surrounding areas. We have an ambitious target of 700 bicycles, distributed responsibly and sustainably.

We are also working on an exciting project with Johan Kriegler (of Wines2Whales fame) in the Elgin Valley, which has the potential to expand into the Overberg.

Our Bike4all is now available for purchase at a cost of R2000, helmet included. I think it is an excellent value-for-money bicycle for personal use, or for you to make available to someone in need of a cost-effective mode of transport. For more information, please look at our website.

Diarise the date
Our Annual General Meeting will take place on Wednesday 13 September in Rondebosch, starting only at 19h00 to give the traffic a chance to clear. We’re already working on putting together feedback from the past year, so that we can put that onto the PPA website at least a week before the AGM. The official AGM notices will be sent out by mid-August.

In closing
Apart from the above, there are lots of things on the go, too numerous to mention.

We have over 2000 members in Gauteng and I am looking at ways in which PPA can become more relevant to the cycling community in the “Big Smoke”. Safety is of primary concern, both from crime and on the roads, and perhaps we can assist even more in this regard.

Whilst my plate is pretty full, I am always appreciative of ideas and suggestions from our members and anyone with an interest in cycling. I have been with PPA for just over 2 years now. Time has flown by and I continue to enjoy being part of the PPA team.

Safe Cycling & Warm Regards
Robert