Peter Abrahams

Kloof st., Gardens, Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

2011 / 04 / 18 15:14

'People don't cycle because there is no cycling culture outside the sport of cycling. I don't cycle for fitness, I cycle because I feel this makes more sense. But it is also because I stay in an area which is the city centre and it is easy for me to get to places. It is also the thing with cycling, you must not forget about apartheid, like how apartheid has caused people to like live in places outside the city centre. So if you think about, you know, times gone by, District Six, where my parents lived throughout and we got moved through forced removals to other areas, and I relocated to a place called Fairways which is out in Wynberg. Now yes, you might use cycling to go to your school, but many people are also very afraid because we don't have proper cycling lanes. Also the distances between places then become quite far. If you stay in areas where everything is more self sufficient, where you have all of the amenities, shops and things like that, then you will use your bicycle, but also you know the big thing around cycling is that people think it is expensive - which is not true. You can buy a second hand bike like I did, I got this bike for like R600, you don't really need a fancy, fancy bike - people think you need to spend 10-, 20-, 80-, R100 000 - that is a bicycle that only professionals really need to use. So that is a big misconception. Then it could also be seen as dangerous, and cycling is dangerous actually. Cycling on the roads is more dangerous than mountain biking - motorists don't have respect for cyclists. Then you have a big thing around government, they were supposed to put in cycle lanes - and yes, thank goodness - whatever - Fifa World Cup blad-di-bla-bah. They have put some but it is only really on the fan-walk where they have made these changes. What I do is illegal cycling through the government parks and in actual fact you can get fines, which I have been fined - R100, R200 for cycling through there. The reason why is to stay out of the dangerous roads that are full of motorists, so I'd rather like knock over a pedestrian - which I'm not going to do, but stay out. The big distances also makes it quite difficult for South Africans to cycle. I cycled BMX when I was a teenager and loved that. But that was all recreational, which I no longer do because I'm too old. But I actually went to Amsterdam years ago. It was 2001 or 2002, no, when was the Twin Towers? I actually got back on that day, when the Twin Towers had been blown up. So it was that year that I first encountered cycling in city centers and in Amsterdam. Then I got a gig in Berlin two years later, and I went to Amsterdam, meeting up with my friend and cycling with her. When I was there I said, I'm going to cycle when I return home. I got back and got myself a terrible mountain bike, I don't care, the thing is I buy a cheap bike because I'm also afraid of theft which is a real threat. I stayed in Vredehoek - crazy - on the third floor, and you know taking the bicycle down I was Superman, I loved it. But cycling back was really hard, but you know it was so worth it in the end, it saved me so much trauma - so then I've been cycling since. I don't really like using my car at all. Yes, at night time I have to to go to work and to socialize and things like that. But I prefer my bicycle. I always have my backpack on, it is an easy way to get groceries - my wife is like “why you come home with one loaf of bread?”, I'm like, “darling, I come home with one loaf of bread and some sandwich ham and sandwich cheese, because I can't carry any more”. But you know what I can actually get like R300 worth of groceries in my backpack, maybe I can get a front little tray. I get some satisfaction out of it, I love it. I am in transition and the moment, I'm a DJ in transition. I've been playing since I was 15, I'm 35 now, it is almost my birthday - so 21 years. I've played professionally since I was 21. I'm also on radio, I'm on Heart radio, a contributor with a show called Beatbox every Saturday 17:00 to 17:30 - if you want to tune into that. Then I’m also an aspiring producer, used to do events, but mainly I DJ - but I'm trying to move out of that and I'm pursuing a career of life coaching, actually within the process - it’s called Time To Think.'

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Nic Grobler