The African National Congress will provide 10,000 bicycles to rural residents early next year, with the total government plans giving away 1 million bikes by 2010.
“The time has come to promote bicycle transport as a strategic solution,” said Transport Minister Dullah Omar. The programme is designed to create a cycling culture like Holland, where transportation planning includes bicycles as a major component. As well as easing the problems of rural transport, the government also hopes to create a support economy of small repair and servicing business’s.
A spokesman for Afribike, the ANC’s inspiration for the plan said the most significant hurdle was changing the public attitude to cycling, as “Most drivers treat cyclists like insects,”.
Still, if cycling does catch on in Africa maybe we’ll see a whole new generation of athletes dominating cycling in the way the African long distance runners have recently.