The Lone Cyclist
By Adriaan Bester
Part 2: The art of integrating transport in your social network(ing)
With only a single sunny Easter-weekend day on offer to Capetonians, we made a downhill dash on two bicycles in Green Point, where baby bunnies were reportedly sighted at the local Vida e Café. Outdoor adventurers go for gold, and plan the journey as they go. We soon realized this while spotting fellow trendsetters in the fast lane.
Partly inspired by the bunny’s sugar rush, partly because of our resolute faith in the future of cycling as a preferred method of transport, my partner and I rallied a few troops using every means of social networking tool available, for a lunch at our (soon to be closing down) favourite spot in Camps Bay, The Sandbar. For the benefit of out-of-towners, what stands between last said and us is a majestic mountain with a spectacular array of Atlantic mirror views en route and now, compliments of local authorities, decked with cycle signs that permit co-use by pedestrian and cyclist.
Oddly, mid-journey a huge NO-CYCLE picture jumps out, painted in thick white paint on the tar pavement, forcing amateur cyclists back in the slip stream of real ones speeding pass. This is a not a journey for the junior rider. Some skill is required, most notably in the field of public relations to negotiate strong-willed power-walkers, persuading them of co-habitation benefits, not forgetting the darling motorists who are, like yourself, awestruck by the passing landscape. We informed our awaiting friends of our dressed down code and promised not to arrive in lycra, but little could prepare them for the gasping-for-air, red-faced new arrivals at their calm tables.
It took a big guzzle of lager and a few sips of Cape Town’s finest red wine to compose ourselves and present some form of respectable conversation. Which brought about the challenge any non-professional cyclist should answer himself in a moment of reflection. What is my allowable limit on the two-wheeler and how long will it take to sweat it off before I head back up the mountain? Or, as was the case for us, do I have sober friends nearby that drive a bakkie, van or SUV?
We are blessed with choice assort friends and supporters who also (some secretly) support the idea of alternative transporting. And they really did feel part of the whole global trend towards greener and sustainable living when we loaded the two bicycles into the back of their rugged vehicle and made our way back over the mountain to where the journey started a couple of hours and a few glasses of wine earlier.
Alas, I am told, integration is coming to Cape Town after all. Future MyCiti buses, provided they are released from their mothball status before the license disks expire, should bring some relief to cyclists like me who may, given the alluring surroundings, get distracted on their journey. For us, for the moment, our own limitations are still just a discovery of life in Cape Town’s cycle lanes.