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​Thousands to saddle for the Freedom Ride

Cycle Jozi Week – which has since Monday attracted phenomenal interest among the City’s keen bikers, health and fitness fanatics and other residents – culminates in the Freedom Ride in Sandton on Sunday.
The ride, staged in celebration of the life and legacy of the late former president Nelson Mandela, has already attracted more than 5 000 riders from across Johannesburg and beyond and, according to Lorraine Mapela, the City’s Promotions and Events Manager, more cyclists are expected to register for the race this weekend.

Yesterday, more than 100 cyclists, many of whom are members of the Johannesburg United Cycling Association (JUCA), took part in the City’s “Cycling-For-All Ride” from Braamfontein to the University of Johannesburg, a 3km stretch.

On Wednesday, dozens of cyclists – including University of Johannesburg students – took part in a 2,1km ride along Bunting Road, in Auckland Park, to Wits University. Mapela said Cycle Jozi Week was part of the City’s campaign to encourage residents to use bicycles as a mode of transport and to promote a healthy lifestyle.

Member of the of the Mayoral Committee for Transport Councillor Christine Walters said at the launch of the campaign on Monday that a seamless transport system that allowed people to switch from Gautrain to the Metrobus or Rea Vaya and to taxis, cycling and walking would significantly reduce the volume of private transport usage in the city.

“The City acknowledges that people may only make the shift to public transport and cycling if there are accessible, affordable and safe transport alternatives available,” MMC Walters said.

Mapela said there was no entry fee for Sunday’s Freedom Ride, which starts at 7.30 at the Sandton Gautrain Station. She appealed to other residents to come out in large numbers to cheer on those taking and also have fun.

“Cycle mechanics will be on standby to help cyclists who are likely to experience breakdowns. There will also be four dehydration stations and sweeper buses to pick up those who fail to finish the race,” said Mapela.

People who want to take part in the race but do not own a bicycle can hire one at a nominal fee of R50.

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