April 01, 2005

California Bikes Brighten South African City

Based on the success of a pilot project in Calitzdorp, the Western Cape Provincial Government has announced it will provide California Bikes to 120 workers in four new project locations. With no public transport available, Zenzele road maintenance workers in the South African town of Calitzdorp were walking long distances – some up to 20km – to reach their jobs. Recognizing the transport challenges facing these workers, the Provincial Government teamed with the Bicycling Empowerment Network and ITDP to provide the workers with bicycles. The California Bikes, according to Provincial official Thozamile Ngcozela, have “brightened the city” and made an impact throughout the Calitzdorp community.

Because they were previously walking to work, the Zenzele workers are now saving considerable time and energy during their commutes. In order to transport tools to the job, the California Bikes were fitted with special carriers, and workers are now able to bring more tools to their job sites. The California Bikes are also used by the children of the Zenzele Workers after hours and for household transport needs.

The Bicycling Empowerment Network (BEN) promotes the use of bicycles in order to address low-cost mobility, health and access to opportunity, employment, skills and education. They are investigating the possibility of establishing a BEN bicycle shop in Calitzdorp to satisfy the maintenance requirements of the bicycles, increase the availability of used bicycles, and train and employ local workers. 

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