Freedom Ride a huge success


Thousands of cyclists took part in the Freedom Ride on Sunday, 20 July to promote cycling as a viable mode of transport – and commemorate the legacy of Nelson Mandela.

Cyclists had the run of the roads for the second Freedom Ride of this yearCyclists had the run of the roads for the second Freedom Ride of this yearFive thousand cycling enthusiasts braved Johannesburg's wintry streets to turn up for the Freedom Ride Jozi Winter Edition 2014 on Sunday 20 July. The ride kicked off in Braamfontein, travelled to Soweto and routed back to Braamfontein.

The cycle route followed the newly constructed cycle lanes In Orlando which aims to link schools with public amenities in the township. Currently, the City of Johannesburg is busy completing similar lanes in Braamfontein, linking Wits University to the University of Johannesburg in Auckland Park.

Joburg's number one cyclist and executive mayor, Mpho Parks Tau, said he cycled the full 67km to lead by example. The route length honoured the call to give 67 minutes of charity work in aid of International Mandela Day, on 18 July.

All proceeds from the Freedom Ride will be handed over to the Bike Empowerment Centre in Soweto. According to Tau, "This will assist local cyclists to get bicycles, access to bike clubs and other programmes related to cycling."

Young and old enjoyed the warm winter sunYoung and old enjoyed the warm winter sunThis is the city's second Freedom Ride; the first was in February 2014. The ride forms part of Gauteng's plans to promote non-motorised transport as an alternative option to private and motorised transport in the province.

Gauteng MEC for Roads and Transport Ismail Vadi explained that every municipality within Gauteng must have 50km of non-motorised transport infrastructure built over the next five years. In Johannesburg the cycling lanes will be built alongside the Rea Vaya lanes. Soweto currently has a cycling path in Orlando.

"Each year, we want each municipality to construct at least 10km as a way of popularising cycling lanes and walkways," Vadi said.