Earlier this year in April, the United Nations (UN) declared that the 3rd of June would be World Bicycle Day! Thankfully the 3rd of June was a Sunday so that we could get outside and ride our bikes, we hope you could too.
During our ride to celebrate everything that bicycles are and having done a bit of research about #WorldBicycleDay we started thinking about how bicycles have really changed peoples lives. Bicycles mean different things to different people, to the elite athlete/lycra bandits they are a tool of their trade, to a weekend warrior it’s an excuse to ride for coffee, to bicycle lovers it’s their best friend (although N+1 problems mean there are a couple of best friends), and to others a bicycles is their mode of transport, their most prized possession, which has helped to change their lives.
A UN resolution passed in April 2018 provides a fantastic summary of what a bicycle is/means “The bicycle can serve as a tool for development and as a means not just of transportation but also of access to education and healthcare…”
A bicycle is a whole lot more than a frame and two wheels! Bicycles have enabled us to experience amazing vistas, meet people, make new friends and have given us hours of fun. They have also given us a few bruises and caused us to lose some skin (road rash is never pleasant). Reflecting on World Bicycle Day, our thoughts drifted to the work that Qhubeka do and how their “Buffalo bike” has been instrumental in changing lives.
Qhubeka is a non-profit organisation that is based in South Africa. It was foundered in 2005 and has, along with its various partners/supporters, supplied over 80 000 bicycles to communities around the country. Qhubeka has 5 different programmes through which people in the different communities can ‘earn’ their bikes, you can learn more about the programmes here.
Through tracking some of the programmes that Qhubeka have implemented and following them on twitter, we have been able to see the joy which a bike brings to communities throughout South Africa. We can safely say that Qhubeka live up to the hashtag #BicyclesChangeLives.
We hope that you had a fantastic #WorldBicycleDay and managed to spend some time on the bike. Reflecting on the work that Qhubeka have done and continue to do, shows us the real power that bicycles have on a person’s life. So next time it’s new bike day, pause for a moment and reflect on the joy that riding a bike has given you.