THE CYCLE TO WORK CHALLENGE:
Next week Thursday (8 August 2019) the heart breakfast team will do its second Cycle to Work Day between 6 and 9am.
Cycle to Work Day encourages citizens to hop on a bicycle and commute to work. They pull it off last year and had great fun, even though they avoided a few dangerous traffic situations. The team managed to broadcast the entire show while cycling from Wynberg to Heart FM’s headquarters in Green Point.
This year, however, the team will be split up into three modes of transport – traffic reporter, Julian Naidoo, will take the MyCitiBus, sports anchor, Tapfuma Makina, will drive a car and Heart Breakfast host, Aden Thomas, will ride his bicycle to see which one arrives at work first.
The Cycle to Work day challenge will also assess and determine whether cycling could be an alternative mode of transport for the average Capetonian in years to come. All of this while broadcasting the entire breakfast show from the various locations.
Location: Otto du Plessis/Marine Drive bus and cycling lane, as all three modes of transport would be travelling in parallel and cover the same distance of approximately 13km.
The meeting point is in the parking lot of the Burger King in Table View from 6am and the teams will depart from there at 06:50.
Who will get to the office first? Tune in to the Cycle To Work Day Challenge 2019 – Thursday 8 August with Heart Breakfast.
According to the most recent study, Cape Town motorists spend 165 hours in traffic per annum, that’s nearly the equivalent of 7 days and that the City is ranked the 5th most congested in the Country. The average travel speed in peak congestion periods is 26kph.
Adding to this context, there were a total of 12 027 860 registered vehicles in South Africa at the end February 2017 (eNatis) with the Western Cape having the second highest number of registered vehicles in the country, recorded at 1 935 054.
Further to this, other modes of transport like trains are largely overcrowded, unreliable and unsafe or as Professor Stephan Krygsman of the University of Stellenbosch’s Department of Logistics says, “completely dysfunctional…there is no way to sugar-coat it.” Country-wide buses have pick up roughly 2 to 3 million of the passengers who have departed the rail system.
Mini-bus taxis and buses have been the backbone of transport for most lower income commuters in South Africa and there’s been an increase year on year of more vehicles on the roads because of the failing rail system, states Economist Mike Schussler.
Taking in all of the above, those who are seeking to be more economical or do not have access to an income which allows them to purchase or hire a private vehicle or have access to reasonable public transport are basically left with two options, commute by foot or by bicycle.
Considering the obvious forced spatial planning of the city due to its history, commuting by foot is rarely a viable option. However, could cycling provide a more reasonable solution in a city like Cape Town?
The Heart Breakfast team has become synonymous with taking on social experiments to demonstrate to its audience, on-air or online, whether something works or not and whether the idea proposed is a viable solution to a problem and the level of efficacy.
On the 8th of August, the UK campaigns for citizens to cycle to work – giving up preferred modes of transport to instead hop onto a bicycle to commute to the office.
Last year the Heart Breakfast took up the challenge to see whether it would be possible to travel from a particular residential suburb on a bike to Heart FM’s headquarters, but also while broadcasting the entire 3 hour show. The team pulled it off and the broadcast was most entertaining, they were even joined by other cyclists who use their two wheels to commute to work on most days.
This year the producers would like to attempt something slightly more adventurous, taking into full account the context of the above mentioned transport scene in Cape Town. On the 19 July this year, the Pedal Power Association handed over a memorandum to Premier Alan Winde and Transport M-E-C, Bonginkosi Madikizela, after the State of the Province Address. The association says cities are growing at a fast pace and are running out of space and wants the provincial government to prioritise cycling infrastructure. The Association’s CEO, Robert Vogel says a bicycle is a cost-effective and efficient way of getting around and has potential to solve environmental and economic challenges in the country.
The challenge then is to split the team into three, each making use of a different mode of transport, where there is infrastructure to conduct this travel experiment. The producers have identitied the perfect location where all three modes run parallel to each other – bus, car and bicycle travel inbound in morning peak traffic towards the city – the West Coast road which becomes Otto Du Plessis and then Marine Drive.
Aden will lead a peloton of cyclists in the purpose built bicycle lane, Julian will hop on to a MyCiti bus and Tapfuma will travel in a motor vehicle. The starting point still needs to be established, taking into consideration that one of the objectives is to travel during the highest peak, which we can assume is from 7am. The team will start at the same time and we’ll see who reaches the final destination first. The objective of the challenge would also be to establish whether commuting on a bicycle could work for the average Capetonian. After all, it is Cycle To Work Day.