eThekwini Municipality Opens New GO!Durban Cycle Academy Bike Park in collaboration with local and International partners
In celebration of youth month, and in continued support of active mobility efforts throughout the City, the eThekwini Mayor, Cllr Mxolisi Kaunda today, 19 June, opened a new bike park in KwaMashu.
The opening ceremony highlighted the collaborative efforts of the stakeholders who have provided support towards establishing the new bike park, namely the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, the Federal Republic of Germany (through its Ministry for Economic Development (BMZ)), represented by KfW Development Bank, and the City’s local implementation partner, Green Corridors (NPC); to officially open the new site to the community.
The GO!Durban Cycle Academy Programme was founded in 2016 and has achieved great success in the five years of its existence, growing from one site in eNanda, to a total of four bike parks within the City including; KwaDabeka, Chesterville, and the newly developed site in KwaMashu. Overall, the programme impacts approximately 400 youth on a weekly basis, providing free cycling training, academic support and life skills development.
The new bike park in KwaMashu features a world-class Velosolutions asphalt pump track which provides an ideal training ground for youth with varying skills sets, from young cyclists who are learning to ride, to the more advanced riders who are training to compete in professional events. To enable the delivery of the additional services provided by the cycle academy programme, the new site also provides related supporting amenities to the users of the Academy, all of which were funded by the KfW German Development Bank on behalf of the German Government.
“The GO!Durban Cycle Academy bike parks are a beacon of hope in their communities,” says His Worship the Mayor, Cllr Mxolisi Kaunda. “They bring young people together to play and learn, using the sport of cycling as the common focus, whether it be for recreational, commuting or sporting purposes. Our hope for the new KwaMashu bike park is that it will continue to provide opportunities for youth and adults alike to experience the joy of riding a bicycle and to contribute to the creation of a robust cycling culture, in line with the City’s active mobility plan.”
In addition to youth and sports development, the GO!Durban Cycle Academy bike parks protect and maintain valuable green spaces throughout the metropole - a further testament to the efforts of all partners involved to achieve a more sustainable and liveable City in line with the National Development Plan, Vision 2030.
“It is true that when people hear of the name “Cycling Academy” they might be inclined to think that the only activity that the academy undertakes is to teach the participants how to ride bicycles, but looking at the work that the Cycling Academies have undertaken, it is evident that the impact is much more far-reaching,” indicated Dr. Thulie Khumalo, Deputy Director-General – Climate Change and Air Quality, of the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Forestry.
“The KfW, on behalf of the German Government, has proudly supported the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environmental Affairs and eThekwini Municipality with advancing Non-Motorised Transport (NMT) alternatives to traditional means of transport. It is rewarding to see such an important initiative bear fruit” said Silke Stadtmann, the Country Director for KfW South Africa. KfW, on behalf of the German Government, has supported this initiative with grant funding towards construction and maintenance of walkways, bicycle lanes and parking facilities in eThekwini Metro, the City of Johannesburg and Polokwane Municipality.
Ms Stadtmann adds, “The GO!Durban Cycling Academy contributes to one of KfW's key mandates of responsibility for Air, Planet, and Climate and provides a glimpse into what a carbon-neutral future could look like”. Through the programs implemented, this initiative promotes people's physical activity as well as inclusivity, where communities gather and for the sake of youth well-being.
In a further demonstration of the City’s commitment to promote recreational and commuter cycling for a healthy lifestyle and in an effort to contribute towards the reduction of the transport-related carbon footprint, the eThekwini Municipality also today launched the as an advocacy intervention aimed at raising awareness on the positive benefits of cycling for recreational, health and socio-economic purposes.
“In order to build a successful active mobility network, the system needs to be adopted and embraced,” explains the Chairperson of the Human Settlements and Infrastructure Committee, Cllr Thanduxolo Sabelo. The GO!Durban Cycle Academy programme addresses the first important and practical step in this process by teaching community members to cycle. The GO!Durban Bicycle-Share Programme will give community members access to the equipment and related mechanical support which is required to ensure sustainability of the Programme.”
The bicycle-share pilot Programme will comprise three key elements namely; training, equipment and ongoing maintenance. Fifty community members have been identified through a rigorous selection process and they will each receive a bicycle, helmet and reflective safety vest. The bicycles are all fitted with innovative tracking units that will enable GO!Durban to collect valuable data that will allow the City for better active mobility planning in the future.
“We are truly excited to launch the Bicycle-Share Pilot Programme in KwaMashu,” says Mr. Thami Manyathi, Head: eThekwini Transport Authority. “The GO!Durban Cycle Academy has contributed greatly to our goal of advancing the uptake of active mobility in the City, and this programme will further allow members of the community to put their cycling skills into practice. By distributing these bicycles, GO!Durban is giving people more than a physical asset, we are connecting them to economic and social opportunities through improved mobility.”