Good Evening and welcome to the PPA AGM. A special welcome to our Life members and invited guests. To the Executive Committee, thank you for your time, guidance & perspective over the last year. On behalf of our members, I would like to thank my team for their hard work & commitment. Karin left in May, after 14 years as GM and we went through a rough few months, but we pulled together as a team and moved swiftly ahead. Well done and thank you for your support, it does makes my work a lot easier.
The economic outlook in South Africa hasn’t changed much over the past 12 months and is probably the single, biggest macro-economic factor that influences our membership. Reduced discretionary spend, an aging membership, fewer youngsters taking up cycling, the growing popularity of sports like triathlon and trail running (which is cheaper than MTB) are some of the factors putting pressure on our membership.
We have made family membership cheaper and we give kids under 13 a 50% reduction on entry fees and our junior Development members pay R20 for membership. We will be adding tangible benefits, based on event participation that will allow members to recoup most, if not all, of their membership fees. Membership is under pressure, but I also believe there are opportunities to grow membership.
For example, at road events in the Cape, over 80% of riders are PPA members. At mountain bike events, only 40% of riders are PPA members. There is an opportunity for growth in mountain biking. With almost 12,000 members in the Western Cape and only 3000 in Gauteng, there is an opportunity for membership growth in other provinces.
BIKE4ALL AND PROJECT FUNDING
Our red & yellow Bike4All is instantly recognisable and we receive more and more reports of them being sighted around Cape Town and further afield. We are literally seeing where and how our project is making a difference in the lives of young and old. In Bloemfontein, Liandri has been organising Bike4All events with kids from local schools. In Grabouw, children have earned a bicycle by cleaning their community and are now seen, on the school run and chasing the local MAMILs around the trails over the weekend. Bike4All is helping adults get to work in the Eastern Free State & in Gauteng and the Bike4All is taking groups on tours around Khayelitsha.
The frequency of our bike handovers is increasing at a steady pace and we keep working on optimising the supporting elements. Not all bicycles are given away free; instead we would like the recipients to make a contribution towards their bicycles, in either in cash or kind. This brings with it a sense of ownership and responsibility, which greatly improves the chances of the bicycles being cared for and valued like the asset they are. The rewards of partnerships manifest themselves in the success of the Bike4All programme. PPA and BEN could probably have done something similar on their own, but it did not make sense when we’re all working towards the same vision, more people riding bicycles. The Bike4All partnership with Grabouw Beautiful has resulted in almost 100 people enjoying bicycle mobility in Grabouw and we are not done yet. Our partnership with Qhubeka in the Western Cape has recently opened up a huge opportunity for us. Thanks to Qhubeka and their Real Bicycle Company, Bike4All will be distributing 5000 bicycles per year for the next 2 years.
The shift in our project funding strategy is paying dividends. We are putting more bums on bikes, we are providing cost-effective mobility, we are improving access to opportunities, we are improving health and we are providing children with an opportunity to enjoy riding bicycles and adults with free and healthy transport to and from work.
We still assist clubs and we continue to fund external projects, but more and more, funding is not simply a cash grant, but an opportunity for Bike4All to be more involved with projects, rather than just pay their invoices. We are building partnerships, not just in the Western Cape, but also across the country.
PPA partnered with BYCS, an Amsterdam-based social enterprise and the Dutch Consulate to bring the Bicycle Mayor programme to Cape Town. The Bicycle Mayor is a global initiative that brings together the public & private realm and communicates the needs of local communities to city officials. This can be anything from improving bicycle infrastructure, breaking down social barriers and providing access to cost-effective mobility. Lebogang Mokwena, was appointed as the first Bicycle Mayor for Cape Town and has brought a fresh perspective to local cycling advocacy.
PPA-OWN AND SUPPORTED EVENTS
In 2019 there’ll be almost 100 events, both road and mountain bike, within a 6-hour drive of Cape Town. With almost 12,000 PPA members in the Western Cape, there certainly is not a shortage of events, as some would like us to believe.
In the past 12 months, PPA added another road fun ride to the calendar and we’ll be adding a few more events to the calendar in 2019.
Gravel events are growing in popularity and seem to attract riders that like to ride off-road, but don’t like things to get too technical. Gravel roads are significantly safer than asphalt roads and we’re definitely looking into this category for new events as it appeals to a wider spectrum of riders, in terms of gender, age, fitness and ability.
The event calendar is literally overflowing with mass participation events and we’re looking at bringing back some overnight tours and offer members “experiences”, rather than just “races”.
From September, we’re introducing a PPA Group Ride, our own What’s App ride. The ride will start and finish at the Mowbray office with a support vehicle following the riders.
Many cyclists are over “racing” and prefer to “just go and ride” their bicycles.
As a non-commercial event organiser, PPA is able to host the types of events for its members that a commercial organiser would not consider. I believe our constitutional mandate to host events, gives us an advantage that we should capitalise on.
Another of our mandates is to assist other event organisers and we’ve been doing so for many years. Quite a few of them have become a little bit too reliant on our help, which takes time & focus away from our own events. To give us more time to work on PPA-own events, we changed the support package we offer to other organisers. Instead of giving them one, standard package, we broke it down into its individual components and organisers can now select the services they really need. The organiser still receives our assistance, we cover costs, but most important, we free up time to focus on our events.
In 2017 and 2018, we sent six junior cyclists to Europe where they experienced European racing and I think for all of them it was a real eye-opener. We assisted a bunch of other riders with mentorship and training support, but we feel the Academy needs to be tweaked a bit more.
We’re currently working with the Sports Science Institute of South Africa to create a new and more inclusive Academy structure. We’re working towards hosting a local training camp with riders from across South Africa having the opportunity to qualify for a spot.
Safe Cycling is critical when it comes to our advocacy work. PPA is well known for the Stay Wider of the Rider campaign, which aims to get both drivers and cyclists to the “share the road responsibly”. This supports all that we do and is essential for both sports and commuter (or utility) cycling. The campaign also now forms a key part of the Bike4All programme.
Through the Stay Wider campaign, we receive a lot more invitations to engage with officials at the City of Cape Town, as well as at local government level. We have a strong Safe Cycling message, we have developed a holistic approach to bicycle distribution and we represent many cyclists.
Safe Cycling is not only about road safety; it is very much about personal safety too.
On the road, the campaign is all about repeating the same message over and over again: Give a cyclist space and he or she will be safe on the road.
Personal safety is a far more complex subject to deal with, but it puts into perspective, how critical Safe Cycling is to everything that we do. We need safe roads for events as well as for those that are out training or just riding for pleasure or commuting.
As event organisers, we take great care to ensure the safety of our riders, but without full road closure, we need motorists to play their part. We run media campaigns in the run-up to the Cape Town Cycle Tour, when thousands of cyclists are out training.
Over the past 12 months, we have focused on outdoor media, billboards and posters along busy roads, because we feel this is where we have the best chance of catching the eye of motorists. Multiple roadside activations, awareness rides and 40 radio interviews completed the picture last year.
Safe Cycling is also critical to our Bike4All campaign. We need to raise the awareness among motorists in the communities where we distribute bicycles. We need to teach recipients to cycle with confidence and be safe in traffic.
We engage with municipalities, asking for signage along roads that either have a high frequency of cyclists, or give us an opportunity to reach many motorists.
PPA is involved in Safe Cycling off the road as well, along greenbelts and mountain bike trails. We keep raising awareness for trail sharing and we engage with various authorities around trail building, maintenance and crime prevention. While Safe Cycling may be a campaign that is most visible on the road, there is far more to it than a simple slogan and it underpins what we stand for as an organisation.
I’d like to say that I’ve been with PPA for 3 years now and I thoroughly enjoy what I do and look forward to coming to work every day. I think for all of us at the office, when an event has gone well, or we see smiling faces as we hand over bicycles, it makes us proud of the organisation that we represent.
Chief Executive Officer