The Western Cape has two major bicycle events as key drivers of our tourism economy, the Cape Epic and the Argus Cycle Tour – that’s a good start.
Using these two annual events as a platform, the opportunity to build on our growing bicycle tourism niche as a driver for our local economy is massive. This film from Oregon could just as well have equal relevance to the Western Cape. The government is gifting local business with hundreds of kilometres of free, urban bike lanes and paths – it’s just up to business to exploit this massive opportunity.
Well-designed bike racks, a sign board featuring an illustration of a bike and some two-for-the-price-of-one craft beer specials for those arriving on a bicycle and you’re a hit.
Last night, at a gathering of the Cape Town cycling fraternity and government Alan Winde, the Minister of Economic Development and Tourism for the Western Cape, announced his plans to attract 100 000 bicycle tourists to the Western Cape within the next 10 years. Currently the region enjoys the company of up to 8000 visitors on two wheels.
Bicycle touring is not the Argus Cycle Tour or the Cape Epic, but rather a self-contained point-A to point-B adventure by bicycle independent of an organised race. It’s one of the fastest growing types of tourism in Europe and even a country like Taiwan has dedicated loads of effort and time into developing their island into a cycle touring Mecca.
One hundred thousand visitors each spending ten thousand Rand in the Western Cape, equates to an injection of one billion Rand into the local economy. That’s a lot of money that can be generated for doing very little.
There’s no doubt that tourism is a key economic driver for the Western Cape. And styles of tourism that keep visitors here for longer and exploring the smaller towns of the region is that much better. The global transportation trend is towards active mobility. We would do very well to get the wheels in motion to attracting a small slice of that revolution.
Right now, even in hippie, mountain-loving Cape Town, the number of retailers offering parking for bicycles is practically non-existent.
So with just a small investment in some proper bicycle racks you not only have some nice news to share with the greater Cape Town community that your place is a forward thinking bicycle-friendly hangout, but you’ll probably be able to attract more customers to your establishment thanks to not needing to provide vast tracts of real estate for cars.
Not everyone is lucky enough to own the convenience of something like a Tern bicycle, which is the most practical urban option for a city like Cape Town – so make sure that the racks don’t damage your customers’ pride and joy while they are inside spending money with you.
Bicycle commuters tend to be a pretty loyal bunch to establishments that are nice to them, so make a little effort with how you cater for them and you have a nice little niche market that you can go out of your way to impress in exchange for some nice new business.
You could even use the design of your bikes racks to compliment your branding.
Before Brent Crude heads towards $200 a barrel, get yourself geared up to meet the growing demand from urban bike riders for a ice cold beer while zooming around the city.If ever there was a community looking for love this is it.
Speaking as part of documentary called Memory and Imagination – Steve Jobs said:
… the computer is the most remarkable tool that we’ve ever come up with. It’s the equivalent of a bicycle for our minds.
Go well Mr Jobs
Some more anarchy outta the UK. Luvin’ it!
You experience a city very differently when you’re exploring it on a bicycle. Cars promote a sense of aggressive, anti-social behaviour where urban commuting on a bicycle opens your eyes to see your city in a refreshingly social way.
Genre De Vie is a documentary that focuses mainly on cities that already promote a pro bicycle lifestyle. This coming from a viewpoint, that the bicycle is a positive development on the social and environmental structure and hence of profound effect on the living quality of its inhabitance.
So can the simple bicycle be the sought after catalyst to revive the social fabric of a city like Cape Town? We think so – and there are some exciting, soon-to-be-launched developments that we are involved with that you may find right up your street too.
Check out the Camissa Bicycles Facebook page – a Cape Town-based single speed / fixed gear bicycle brand.
Cherryflava is an opinionated commentary on trends and innovation - as well as the people and thinking that are shaping the future of our world.Published from Cape Town, South Africa since 2004.