Cyling is the best! You can learn physics with it (see our project “STEM on the move”), you can stay fit and active, and not least: It has enormous potential to shape a transformation towards socio-ecological sustainability.
Chosing bike over car can bring enormous relief for the environment. The bicycle can also make a society more sustainable: It can act as a catalyst for micro businesses (riksha and transport services, rental and repair services, etc.) as it costs decidedly less than a car – not only when buying it but also maintenance is way cheaper.
And finally, the bicycle can also strengthen the quality of life, health, resilience and independence of each individual. In South Africa, for example, this also means accessibility to schools. Also and especially in times of a COVID-19 pandemic the bicycle offers many advantages in Germany as well as in South Africa.
This is why we planned a project (which is not yet funded but we cross our fingers) which aims to establish a network centered on cycling as a catalyst for the transformation towards a sustainable society in close cooperation with partners from South Africa. The topic of bicycles forms a framework under which both partner countries can work on various research questions of particular relevance to them and exchange information and experience for mutual benefit.
In the “Cycle4Sustainability” network, we will cooperate online as well as on-site in order to build up and maintain the network in Germany and South Africa, and to build up a knowledge exchange Platform and a strong “relationship”-based exchange of knowledge around cycling between the two countries.
The results towards which we will work together include among other goals acquiring new partners from different institutions (universities, SMEs, NGOs, cities and municipalities, associations), composing a guideline for the design of a cargo bike-friendly ecosystem including advice on how to start micro-businesses with bicycles or cargo bikes, and online courses and attendance modules as well as in-person workshops for learning with/about bicycles and socio-ecological sustainability.
We are looking forward to working together with our German and South African partners from the Institute Technology and Education (ITB), University Bremen and the University of the Western Cape and will keep you updated on the project progress!
If you are interested in being a part of the Cycle4Sustainability network or have a specific question, please contact Martin Strehler.