It’s true – the combination of a bike and public transport is ideal, especially in a city as spread out as Cape Town. I would rather ride most places, but hate getting to work sweaty. Fortunately we have a shower at Project 90, and luckily at home too, so my daily commute is normally taken care of on 2 wheels and pedal power.
Meetings in the middle of the day, further than about 5 minutes by bike, can be a problem though. I’d normally take our car into work and drive to the meeting as well. So when we were given money as part of our renewable energy demonstration sites project, I jumped at the chance to get hold of something I’ve been wanting to try out for a while – a folding bike.
It does what the name says, and folds to the size of a very large shopping bag. I managed to get an email out of metro rail that despite there strict no-bikes-except-on-event-days policy, they allow folding bikes on trains. Whether you need to buy a “parcel” ticket or not for a folding bike is a unresolved question – I am pursuing a set of strict “don’t ask don’t tell”, and “argue only when necessary and winnable” policies. The number and type of security guards/ticket collectors being a big factor in the second!
The new MyCiti buses also allow bikes and therefore folding bikes, although I haven’t tried it and am not sure about peak times. I do know you’re not allowed to take regular bikes on buses during peak times.
I was worried at first about the dork factor of riding a folding bike, but can assure you – people are way too interested in the bike to laugh. It also is very stable, and definitely doesn’t feel like it’s going to unfold mid-commute.
Besides they commuting side of things, I’ve used it a lot for short trips from home to the beach and cafe down the road, it somehow seems a lot easier to get on the road on the folding bike than my regular bike.
Folding bikes are becoming more popular, and I hope will encourage more people to make greater use of public transport, and ideally become a gateway bike to get people cycling full time.
Most cycle shops should be able to order a folding bike and advise you on the different kinds available. I got my bike from iRide Africa and it cost around R3000.