Tag Archives: Bicycle

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Bike + Train = great commute

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Have you ever heard of a folding bicycle? This fantastic invention makes cycling and getting around so easy – you can take your bike on the train, pop it in the boot of a car, or carry it on your shoulder! Glen recently got one for himself and tells us about the new addtion to his bicycle family. (He is now the proud owner of no less than 4 bikes!) Do you have a different or interesting commute to work? Continue reading

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Project 90 joins worldwide Moving Planet movement

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Katherine Tredinnick, a Project 90 club member at Springfield, writes about last week’s Moving Planet event. With great pictures of the fantastic floats our clubs made for the procession.
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My favourite green pleasure

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As you know, we at Project 90 set ourselves a carbon challenge each month. Last month we tried something a little different, and instead of depriving ourselves, we decided to spend one day doing our favourite green thing. It was a great way to confirm our belief that going green doesn’t mean going without, but brings many other benefits to your life. Continue reading

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New cycle lane launched in Cape Town

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A 16km cycle path is up and running allowing commuters to cycle into the city along the R27. Cyclists will also be especially happy to hear that bikes are allowed on the bus so if the wind starts howling you can hop on the bus with your bike! Join the official opening ride on 1 Feb at 6am. Continue reading

How are you getting to work tomorrow?

How will you be getting to work tomorrow? Wednesday 22 September is International Car Free Day  and citizens around the world will leave their cars at home taking this day as an opportunity to find another way to get around town.

This day aims not only to highlight the pollution and toxic fumes caused by cars, but also to  remind us that there is an alternative to the noise, traffic jams, delayed journeys and frustrating congestion that we put up with every day, twice a day.

Almost 40% of the transport sector’s CO2 emissions are produced by the use of private cars in cities.

If you can avoid using your car on the 22nd September even for one journey you will be helping reduce pollution in your area and who knows, you might even save a little money and enjoy the change of pace.

We have just discovered some good news for those South Africans looking to reduce their travel footprint. The Western Cape Provincial Government has pledged not to invest in any major road construction, routing it instead to public transport. National Government is also looking into a high speed rail link between JHB and Durban and further down the line between CT and JHB, as well as JHB and Zimbabwe.

 “The realisation appears to be taking hold in SA that throwing money after roads simply encourages more vehicles to traverse their wider surfaces.” Business Report.

The introduction of a high speed railway in SA would be a great opportunity for South African’s to reduce our internal flights. Did you know that taking a domestic flight between JHB and Cape Town creates 250kg of CO2 and is 5 times more carbon costly than taking a coach? We did an analysis of the costs and time versus carbon footprint of travelling between Cape Town, JHB and Durban and found that taking the coach was the most sustainable and cheapest option, but was definitely not the fastest. Sharing the driving with four people in the car was also a better option. Visit our website here to see our comparisons. 

Images from quezi.com, proreferee.com and National Geographic

September: a month worth celebrating

Tomorrow, the first of September, is the first day of spring! Not only will we have warmer weather and longer days, our energy and heating requirements will be reduced – great news for all carbon cutting champions. It’s also going to be a busy month – September is World Biodiversity Month and will be packed with events that you can join to help preserve our planet. 

   

We all have good cause to celebrate World Biodiversity Month here in South Africa, as our country is the third most biodiversity-rich country in the world! Although our country covers just 2% of the world’s land area, it is home to nearly 10% of the world’s plants and 7% of the reptiles, birds and mammals and 5.5% of insects. Our coast is home to almost 15% of known coastal marine species.

But we also have many reasons not to celebrate. With the effects of climate change and the unpredictable changing weather patterns our biodiversity is under threat.  Our planet’s capacity to continue to absorb the by-products of human activities such as gases and various toxins is in question, as is its capacity to provide the resources that growing human populations are projected to need in future.

• over 400 of South Africa’s plant and animal species are threatened with extinction;
• 34% of South Africa’s ecosystems are threatened, with 5% critically endangered;
• 18% of South Africa’s land has been transformed or degraded;
• almost half of South Africa’s river systems are critically endangered;
• over 7 million hectares of land in South Africa have been invaded by alien plants.

What can we do?
Well, with the first week in September being Arbour week, the International Day for the Protection of the Ozone Layer Day (16th), International Coastal Clean-up Day (18th) World Car-Free Day (22nd) and Heritage Day (24th) all falling in September there will be many ways which you can make a difference this month.

1-7 September
Arbour Week

First on the list this month: plant an indigenous tree for Arbour week. Planting and conserving trees (especially indigenous) offsets carbon emissions and contributes to urban greening. Every 5 or 6 new trees planted, which can live for 50 -100 years, offset 1 ton of carbon dioxide.  Different trees absorb different amounts of CO2 and older trees absorb greater amounts of greenhouse gases, than new trees. The tree for 2010 is Acacia Xanthophloea Fever tree, Koorsboom. More information: http://www.greenworks.co.za/arbourday.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

16 September
International Day for the Protection of the Ozone layer.
In 1985, nations around the world convened at Vienna in an attempt to develop a framework for co-operative activities to protect the Ozone layer. This signed agreement became known as the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer. Since 1995 the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer is celebrated to commemorate the signing of the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer.

We have made progress on fixing this planetary vulnerability, proof we can turn things around on climate change?

17 September
Recycling Day – a good day to organise your home recycling system, or start a recycling scheme at your work or school.  More information: http://www.recyclingday-sa.co.za/

18 September
International Coastal Cleanup Day. The International Coastal Cleanup started in 1986 and now happens in over 100 countries with more than 350 000 volunteers.  Join a group and help remove debris and rubbish from our shorelines, waterways and oceans. Each year, countless marine mammals, sea turtles, seabirds, and other animals are sickened, injured, or killed because of dangerous items we allow into the sea. They are poisoned, choked, or entangled in the trash we leave behind, from leaky paint cans to empty yogurt cups to cast-off fishing line.

Clean up events are happening across South Africa. Find an event near you: http://www.cleanup-sa.co.za/cleanupdiary.htm

22 September
World Car Free Day – leave your car behind today and walk or cycle to work or school instead. Around the world, Car Free Day is celebrated by more than 1392 cities to help highlight the pollution caused by cars, not just the fumes but the whole cycle of waste and disruption, the noise, delayed journeys, the whole human misery caused by traffic congestion and car pollution. Almost 40% of the transport sector’s CO2 emissions are produced by the use of private cars in cities. If you can avoid using your car on the 22nd September even for one journey you will be helping reduce pollution in your area and show the world you care! Who knows you might even save a little money and enjoy the change of pace.

More information: http://www.metta.org.uk/car_free_day.asp or http://www.worldcarfree.net/

For more information on trees:
http://www.greenworks.co.za/arbourday.html
http://www.plantzafrica.com/miscell/arborweek.htm
Link to a 2010 trees of the year poster:

More information on biodiversity:
http://blog.stellenbosch2010.com/2010/01/12/2010-the-international-year-of-biodiversity/
http://www.info.gov.za/aboutsa/environment.htm

“Just because I ride a bicycle doesn’t mean I’m poor”

Some of you may have seen the Bicycle Portraits Project featured on our Blog a few months ago. This great initiative promotes cycling in South Africa, touring the country to find out who rides bicycles, why they ride bicycles, and of course why so few South Africans choose bicycles as a transport option.

Here is a recent interview with Vuyo Sangweni, a radio producer in Cape Town, who feels that we need to break the stigma around riding bicycles. The Bicycle Portraits Project is looking for help, so please take a minute to visit their website and please support them in any way that you can.

‘I work with Thula Lula bicycles, we are based here in Woodstock. Currently we saw the opportunity with the current situation in terms of global warming and the emissions – we came up with the idea where we bought some electric bicycles, to rent them out to tourists. Because when these tourists come they tend to hire the SUV’s and those things, they damage our country and the environment we live in. At the moment we have 10 bicycles.

I’m also a radio producer. If I’m working on my script for radio I and my head gets stuck I just grab a bicycle and ride and clear my head! It also helps you with your health – that’s the beauty of a bicycle, a lot of things : the environment, even yourself, you tend to get healthy and you’re saving on the pocket also in terms of gas and all that stuff. I would encourage people – even if it’s not an electric bicycle, just a normal bicycle – to ride a bicycle.

I wasn’t born here in Cape Town – I’m from the Eastern Cape – I have a bicycle there. But to come with a bicycle from a very rural area to here is a no, no… I think it’s within us black people. For me, as you can see, I work in an office, I’m educated, but it’s a matter of status – you can’t be a radio producer and ride a bicycle. You know, I speak for black people – they would say “Why don’t you have a car?”. They’ve got this idea that you’ve got money, yes – you’ve got money but you also have to think of the environment as you get educated about such issues. So I don’t own a bicycle here right now but when I’m here at the office I get to enjoy riding this one. When I have meeting I just ride it around Cape Town, I enjoy it a lot. 

A friend of mine gave me a call, she’s a police woman – in the communications department – we’ve been close, we’ve been friends for many years, she called me and I said I’m riding a bicycle – and she was like laughing! And she wasn’t just laughing like it was funny, she was like “Vuyo, why are you riding a bicycle? You’re a radio producer! Why are you riding a bicycle? You should be driving a car!” We need to break the stigma that when you ride a bicycle you’re poor. Because people have that mentality of thinking “Wow, you are riding a bicycle – you are poor. You have to drive a Mercedes or whatever.” Which is quite wrong. I know guys who are executives that I’ve seen that are riding bicycles, and they are quite comfortable with it. I don’t know with us black people… I don’t want to politicize it, but it’s just the thing that’s there.

Maybe the media have sort of shown people that for society to recognize you – that you are successful – you have to have a car. But bicycles, health wise, for the environment, for your money – you are doing a lot for the heart. So that friend of mine was like “Wow, you can’t be riding a bicycle.” And she put on Facebook that she called me and I was riding a bicycle!’