It’s been a very busy time for BEN during some very unusual circumstances. The past few months have been characterised by load-shedding, a series of icy cold-fronts, wave after wave of COVID19 infections, an economy in deep distress, and recently, serious civil-unrest and turmoil. These have been trying times which highlight the need for the sort of work we do. These challenges have really galvanized us into an urgent call to double up on our efforts.
BEN has responded positively to these shocks and has recently tweaked its strategy and intervention efforts accordingly.

Notably, we have extended our support envelope to beyond our network of Bicycle Empowerment Centres (BECs) and now offer services to a wider range of community bike mechanics and entrepreneurs. In addition to this, we have taken steps to formalise our training efforts and are working closely with Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs), vocational colleges and community colleges with a view to ensuring that our training programmes are properly recognised and accredited going into the future.

We believe this will contribute to more sustainable skills transfer impact. We continue to recognise the importance of working collaboratively with like-minded organisations to ensure maximum impact. In particular, our involvement in the Bicycle Mobility Consortium (BMC) along with Pedal Power Association (PPA) and Qhubeka is working really well.

Provincial Sustainable
Transport Programme

This year to date, the Department of Transport and Public Works in partnership with the Bicycle Mobility Consortium (Qhubeka, Pedal Power Association and Bicycling Empowerment Network) has substantially delivered on its mandate to programme 800 bicycles to communities this financial year. Over the past few months many bikes have been distributed to support various valuable initiatives across a range of sectors. 47 x Bicycles to Youth Development programmes (Grabouw, Prince Albert, Nduli & Khayelitsha), 75 x Bicycles to Neighbourhood Watch Organisations (Heideveld, Gugulethu, Langa, Khayelitsha and Blackheath), 38 x bicycles to Essential Service Organisations (Khayelitsha, Langa, Samora Michel, Stellenbosch, Gugulethu and Bishop Lavis) and 240 x Bicycles to School Learnership Programmes (Khayelitsha, Heideveld & Malmesbury). A further 265 bicycles were distributed to Essential Workers in Atlantis, Langa, Dunoon, Masiphumelele, Retreat, Mannenberg, Grassy Park and Lavender Hill, during the current COVID 19 pandemic.

The aim of the bicycles project is to remove the transport barrier and help local community organisations to maximise their reach and to meet the needs of their beneficiaries better.

In communities where the majority of the population can barely afford to use taxis, bicycles are a more efficient way than walking to deliver services that are essential to the community. In addition to enabling neighbourhood watch safety patrols and soup kitchen food parcel deliveries, the use of bicycles can increase the ability of community health care workers to provide services in highly congested areas.

The good news is that the programme has been given the go-ahead to distribute at least 400 more bikes over the 2021/22 period.


Khaltsha Cycles growing from
Strength to Strength!

Khaltsha Cycles is one of those feel good start up stories. The bike shop was founded by Sindile Mavundla and Juma Mkwela (both avid cyclist) just after COVID-19 lock down. Their idea started by raising funds to purchase 20 bicycles for essential workers to be able to commute to work. The duo managed to secure needed funding to open a store and donate more than 250 bicycles. 

Khaltsha Cycles has created a vibrant community of cyclists in Khayelitsha inspiring both young and old to take up cycling most importantly women. Some of the services Khaltsha Cycles has to offers is the sale of new bikes, bicycle servicing, learn2cycle classes, social rides and bicycle rentals. 

Khaltsha Cycles has enjoyed support from the international community with ASO, the owner of the Tour de France, contributing heavily to Khaltsha’s Heroes on Bikes programme that is aimed at supporting township based initiatives with bicycles and cycling. This programme has led to 500 bicycles being distributed across the greater Khayelitsha area to support disaster relief efforts and to assist in growing and supporting the Small and Micro Enterprise sector. BEN has played a key programme management role in terms of rolling this initiative out.

Sindile Mavundla -''Khaltsha Cycles is bigger than a bike shop it has become a space were people meet and connect. Our goal is to have more bicycle shops in township and coloured communities. Khaltsha Cycles is open for collaboration and possible investment.''


Re-Cycle to the RESCUE!

A much anticipated Re~Cycle container arrived on 14th June 2021 containing over 500 used bicycles and a range of spares and tools! We couldn’t be more grateful. A huge thank you to Re~Cycle and Halfords. Since 2013 Re~Cycle has partnered with Halfords in the UK to collect and donate used bicycles to rural African communities. Millions of bicycles across the UK lie unused in sheds and often end up in landfill. However, these bikes can provide a much-needed lifeline to people in remote parts of Africa to travel to work, school and much more.

More than 60 000 bicycles have been collected and donated across the country.

The bikes sent to Africa provide an environmentally friendly and sustainable means of transport for communities to enable people to work, receive an education, transport food & medicine & learn new skills.The bicycles received from Re~Cycle and other international donor organisations continue to have a huge impact in terms of supporting our primary developmental objective to provide social and economic opportunities via bicycles and cycling. These bikes and accessories are at the heart of the offering that we are able to provide to our Bicycle Empowerment Centres (BECs) and other community organisations that rely on our support.

We are happy to report that we are expecting another Re~Cycle container in the coming months.


Bicycle Mechanic training
and strategic support in Prieska

Orion minerals, an Australian company which is in the process of opening up a copper mine in the Northern Cape town of Prieska approached BEN to assist in setting up a bicycle programme in the area. Orion’s vision is to improve mobility in the area through the distribution of bicycles while at the same time creating economic and social opportunities. Orion has a working relationship with Bicycles4Humanity (B4H) which has worked with BEN on various initiatives in the past.

B4H provided the mine with a container of donated bicycles for distribution. The mine then approached BEN for assistance in developing a programme to effectively distribute these bikes into the community. In June, BEN visited Prieska to assist the mine to develop it’s strategy for the project, as well as to train a team of community participants in basic bicycle mechanics and maintenance.

During this time, a Theory of Change was developed for the project and 8 community mechanics were trained on site. BEN also supplied tools and equipment allowing for the remainder to the B4H bikes to be assembled and prepared for distribution. We are in the process of sourcing and securing helmets for the project and look forward to an ongoing relationship with Orion as they develop momentum with this important initiative.


On Bike – Westlake Launches Bicycle Tours

The Bicycling Empowerment Centre (BEC) in Westlake launched its On Bike Tours in March 2021. This is a tour and opportunity not to be missed! It is a historic bike tour of Westlake where one gets to enjoy the unique township from the comfort of their own saddle (bikes available too)! The community warmly welcomes participants as they cruise through the streets visiting the local Enkosi Orphanage and Sangoma along the way. Tourists will also get to ride through to the impressive Norval Foundation Art Museum, visit Steenberg Wine Farm with wine tasting, cycle passed Pollsmoor Prison (where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned) as they pedal your way to Tokai Forest, ending at Eyethu Restaurant in Westlake for some unique African cuisine.
Daily tours have officially commenced. Contact Meshack on 078 279 6460 to secure a booking.


On Bike Safe Cycling Awareness Ride in Westlake

Safe cycling initiatives and the law are there to protect cyclists, but the cyclists need to adhere to road safety! On Bike in Westlake hosted a "safe cycling" awareness ride on Sat, 8th May 2021. Safe cycling relates to the combination of common sense, road rules and cycling knowledge to get riders from point A to point B in a safe and efficient way! It was a great day of community engagement, where all involved learnt a bit more about using the road in a safer manner.

Thanks again to our incredible partners that made this possible, namely:

On Bike
Western Cape Government
Open Streets Cape Town
Pedal Power Association
LIFE brand
A short video of the awareness ride can be found here

Bicycle Mechanical Training

From a sustainability perspective, it is important for us to ensure that our bikes are kept on the road. We provide a range of mechanic training courses via our in-house workshop and repair centre. Our trainers are all experienced mechanics with significant industry experience. Courses range from one-day basic maintenance programmes, to comprehensive three-week long programmes covering most areas of bicycle repair. We try to ensure that all programmes and projects we undertake are supported by access to sustainable mechanical support.

Recently we have taken steps to formalise our training efforts and are working closely with Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs), vocational colleges and community colleges with a view to ensuring that our training programmes are properly recognised and accredited going into the future. We believe this will contribute to more sustainable skills transfer impact going forward.

For more information on courses contact


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BEN (Bicycling Empowerment Network) · 30 Eastlake Drive · Marina da Gama · Cape Town, Wc 7945 · South Africa

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