Windhoek: A city for cyclists?

The capital is poised at becoming more attractive for bicycle riders.

14 July 2019 | Health

Windhoek • Lisa Plank



There are no special routes for cyclists in Windhoek; cars drive carelessly, the area is mountainous and it is usually very hot. So, not the ideal place to get comfortable on a bicycle.

Still, an initiative by the City of Windhoek (CoW) and various partners may change this situation.

When Natanael Didalelwa started working at SunCycles, he walked to work every day – a two hour journey. “I couldn't afford a taxi, so walking was my only option,” he explains.

Then Bernhard Walther – his new boss – taught him to ride a bike. “At first I fell often, but after a week I got the hang of it,” the 29-year old says proudly. The two-hour route that Natanael used in the past, is now covered in 20 minutes by bike.

Thanks to a new initiative, this could be the case for other commuters too.

Thanks to Ebikes4Africa, four electric hubs with a total of 100 bicycles for hire – half of which are e-bikes, the other 50 ordinary bikes – are to be built in Windhoek. The e-hubs are made from old containers, in which bicycles can be picked up, returned and repaired and the batteries of e-bikes replaced.

By the end of this year, an 18-month pilot phase will be launched, with students that can rent a bike for as little as N$100 a month.

The project kills two birds with one stone, with both financial and environmental benefits. Originally, the idea was the brainchild of Bernhard and Marita Walther, who founded SunCycles. “The CoW has now taken over the project and that's a good thing, because it makes the project more accessible to the masses,” Marita says.



Students first

In the pilot phase, the offer is exclusively aimed at students. “Young people are more open-minded and easier to convince of what we offer,” Marita says. When it comes to making cycling attractive, a lot of persuasion is necessary. “Cars are a status symbol. As soon as someone rises socially, he or she buys a smartphone first and then a car,” Bernhard adds.

However, a bicycle is the better option in the long term, the two entrepreneurs say. Not only because of they have no emissions, but also because it is much cheaper. “Low income earners spend a large portion of their income on taxis,” Marita says.

After the pilot phase, renting one bicycle should amount to around N$500 a month, but two years down the line the bike belongs to one user alone. Essentially, you don't only rent the bike, you pay it off. Even when considering the rental fee, it still costs less than getting a taxi to work every day, and after two years you can move about free of charge,” she explains.

But are there just financial aspects to consider?

To do away with residents' reluctance to bike about, the City in cooperation with the GIZ, is working towards making cycling in Windhoek more comfortable and safer.



Master Plan

In 2014, the Sustainable Urban Transport Master Plan was adopted by Cabinet. In addition to public transport, the plan deals with non-motorized transport. At the moment bicycle paths are being planned and if everything goes according to plan, these routes can be constructed as early as next year.

“Some bike lanes are directly bordered by roads and pavements, and some are attached to the sidewalk,” says Verusckha Araes of the GIZ. Her colleague Ursula Hein adds: “The way the bike lanes will look, depends on the respective conditions. Since city roads already exist, we have work around them.”

Safe routes are currently being planned for Windhoek's Western Bypass, with other lanes being planned for Kondovanzu, Rand, Omongo, Wilibald Kapuenene, Richard Kamuhukua, Shanghai, Hans-Dietrich Genscher, Gladiola and Andrew Kloppers streets. “In the first phase, we will be focusing on the north and northwest of the city because many people who cannot afford a car live here, and they are our most important target group,” Hein says.

When asked if she is already riding her bike to work, Hein responds with a resounding “yes!” Bernhard and Marita are also eager cyclists, saying: “You just have to dare to ride a bike and be aware that there are other vehicles that may not see you,” Marita says.

Similar News

 

Cancer screening on campus

3 weeks ago - 26 September 2019 | Health

Rena StephanusA group of second year Social Work students at the University of Namibia (UNAM), together with the Cancer Association of Namibia (CAN), offered breast...

Health care at all hours

1 month - 17 September 2019 | Health

The Katutura Health Centre now operates 24 hours a day, providing care throughout the year. The hope is that extending the facility's operating hours will...

Think pink!

1 month - 11 September 2019 | Health

Breast and cervical cancers remain a serious concern in Namibia, with 2 474 cases of breast cancer that have been reported to the National Cancer...

Commemorate together

1 month - 11 September 2019 | Health

World Lymphoma Awareness Day is commemorated on 15 September every year and is dedicated to raising awareness of lymphoma, an increasingly common form of cancer....

Get moving couch potato!

1 month - 06 September 2019 | Health

8 September marks World Physiotherapy Day and with the warmer weather, there’s no excuse to not spend the day outdoors. According to Physiotherapy Namibia, looking...

Health ministry shuns new incinerator

1 month - 04 September 2019 | Health

Windhoek • Claudia ReiterAlmost daily, dark plumes of smoke rise from the old incinerator located next to the Katutura State Hospital, in spite of the...

CAN helps with HPV testing

1 month - 03 September 2019 | Health

The Cancer Association of Namibia (CAN) has just launched the first national HPV screening programme, which aims to contribute to preventing cervical cancer in Namibia.The...

Vuil hospitaal hou aan skok

1 month - 03 September 2019 | Health

Windhoek • Yolanda Nel’n Jong ma van die hoofstad moes verlede week haar baba na die Katutura staatshospitaal neem om haar kleintjie vir geelsug te...

Eat healthy, live healthy, know your body

2 months ago - 11 August 2019 | Health

The Cancer Association of Namibia (CAN) hosts the Cancer Awareness Week during the first week of August every year, and 2019 was no different. In...

Hep E nou ook in Reho

4 months ago - 16 June 2019 | Health

Die Rehoboth dorpsraad het vroeër hierdie week gesê die ministerie van gesondheid en maatskaplike dienste het ’n hepatitis E-uitbreking op die dorp aangekondig.In hierdie lig...

Latest News

No joking with The Joker

16 hours ago | Art and Entertainment

If you want to know what you get when you take a poor, mentally unstable loner and treat him liketrash, just go watch Joker.According to...

Stap vir Bybels die naweek

20 hours ago | Art and Entertainment

Yolanda Nel Stof solank jou tekkies af wat stof vergaar in die hoek van die kas, want Saterdag 26 Oktober gaan dit handig te pas...

Okahandja hou somerfees

22 hours ago | Art and Entertainment

Yolanda Nel Dit is nog net ’n paar dae voor die Gereformeerde Kerk op Okahandja se somerfees plaasvind en gaste het sommer baie om na...

Veilige sagteware- en regstelsels nodig...

1 day - 21 October 2019 | Technology

Met ’n algemene toename in die hoeveelheid kuberaanvalle op beide individue en organisasies, moet ons meer as net bewustheid skep; ons moet ook dringend daaraan...

SBN wins at finance awards

1 day - 21 October 2019 | Banking

Standard Bank scooped the top spot as Namibia’s Best Investment Bank in the EMEA Finance 2019 Awards.“Standard Bank Namibia (SBN) is delighted to have been...

Top estate agents awarded

1 day - 21 October 2019 | Banking

Bank Windhoek celebrated its top real estate agents for the central region at an awards ceremony, where the award for the Top Estate Agency in...

New Peace Corps volunteers sworn...

1 day - 21 October 2019 | Social Issues

Thirty new US Peace Corps volunteers joined local communities throughout Namibia to begin two-year assignments to strengthen education across the country. The volunteers will work...

Don’t miss these Kiddie Sport...

1 day - 21 October 2019 | Sports

The highlight of the Kiddie Sport program is undoubtedly the annual Kiddie Sport Demonstrations, taking place Friday 25 and Saturday 26 October at Wanderers’ indoor...

Mammadu celebrates young people

4 days ago - 18 October 2019 | Local News

Just when it seems that nothing changes, the team at Mammadu stands amazed that their first intake of toddlers are going to high school next...

Load More