Cape Trails, the famous route builders of the FNB Wines2Whales (W2W) Mountain Bike (MTB) Events are further expanding their skill set by attending a two week bike mechanic training programme hosted by the Bicycle Empowerment Network (BEN).
A SMME with the key objective to build and maintain MTB trails, Cape Trails have been building the FNB W2W MTB Routes since 2010, under the guidance of Johan Kriegler, FNB W2W Director.
“We are proud to support Cape Trails on their journey to becoming self-sustaining,” says Johan Kriegler, FNB W2W Director. “All four members of Cape Trails have just completed the first half of the bike mechanic training programme that was hosted at Trail’s End (Grabouw) by BEN. Friends of W2W, the owners of Trail’s End generously offered their venue and accommodation for the trainer free of charge. W2W’s container partner, Big Box also showed its support in a big way by donating a 12m container that will be converted into a Bike Spaza Shop. This Spaza Shop will be run from the Cape Trails property in Grabouw.”
“The second half of the training programme will commence in November after the 2017 FNB W2W MTB Events,” continues Kriegler. “W2W will purchase the necessary tools while BEN and the Pedal Power Association SA (PPA) will provide basic bicycles which will be sold and serviced by Cape Trails from the Bike Spaza Shop. Ninety-five percent of the SA bicycle market is focused on the wealthier and recreational market. The idea is to establish Cape Trails and the Bike Spaza Shop as a blueprint, catering for a basic bicycle market where bicycles are used as a means of transport by SA’s larger working class.”
BEN’s goal is to create opportunities through the use of bicycles. According to Tim Mosdell, General Manager of BEN, this goal is achieved through the distribution of new and second-hand bikes to deserving individuals and communities. “BEN ensures that distributed bicycles are mechanically supported,” says Mosdell. “We do this by establishing Bicycling Empowerment Centres (BECs) which involves training and setting up entrepreneurs as community bike shops in key areas. The training programme will give Cape Trails a solid grounding in basic bicycle mechanics. They will be taught basic bicycle maintenance, bicycle assembly, headset maintenance and fitting, drive-train servicing, bottom bracket replacement, brakes, hubs and wheels, gear setting etc.”
“We would like to encourage the community of Grabouw to discover the bicycle as a cost-effective and reliable means of transport,” says Robert Vogel, CEO of PPA. “More people on bicycles is the desired outcome. More cyclists will result in a greater business potential for Cape Trails. It is inspiring to see how Cape Trails have remained committed to their work. Every meter of trail that they build is essentially a legacy project. PPA is privileged to play a small part in their journey as they expand from trail building to bicycle repairs and sales.”
The bicycle that BEN and PPA will be providing to Cape Trails is the #bike4all. For more information on this specific bicycle visit www.bike4all.co.za
According to Brendon Booysen (Pikkie) of Cape Trails, he really enjoyed the training programme. “It was a really good experience for us,” says Booysen. “We will now be able to save money be servicing our own bikes. We listened intently and picked it up really quickly. It was really nice as we were able to help each other through the process.”
For Ashwell Swarts of Cape Trails being able to call himself a bike mechanic feels unreal. “We now have a new skill,” says Swarts. “We were taught to listen to our bicycles. If we hear that something is wrong, we can now fix it ourselves. We’re really looking forward to running the Bike Spaza Shop, especially because we will now be able to assist the less fortunate.”