Shruthi Nair

Fox st., Maboneng Precinct, Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa

2011 / 05 / 28 17:43

'We decided to get bikes a few months ago, because in winter you need a form of exercise - you need to get out. We've lived in countries where there is a biking culture, so we thought why not try do that in Jo’burg. I've never driven and don't have a license so it is a good way for me to get from A to B if I need to get groceries and things, ‘cause it’s just up the road. We rode all the way to Faraday Market, probably about five kilometers that way, and then drove all the way into Kensington and it was fine. It is scary, you just got to be alert, but it is probably the best way to explore your city. I was born in India, I'm an Indian national and have an Indian passport. I left India when I was three and moved to Holland for five years. There you have a great biking culture. Then I moved back to India for two years, then South Africa. Subsequently I've lived in Korea for two years, and in all those countries, with the exception of South Africa I guess - to a degree, you have a biking culture. I remember like one of my earlier memories is getting my first bike in Holland and being able to ride, and looking forward to every second year because then I get an upgrade, because I'd be getting bigger you know. So I had a green bike, a blue bike, I had a basket. I have quite a few fond childhood memories of my relationships with my bikes which is a bit weird. But ja, living in Jo’burg, which is such a beautiful city, is slowly starting to become regenerated I guess. Gentrification isn't a dirty thing, so we're moving into the city and it is the best way to explore the various buildings around this area. My boss has built these bike stands here and he really wants to encourage people in the building - that live in this building, the residential tenants - to buy bikes and cycle around and like join a bike gang so that people feel more comfortable - it is one thing riding around by yourself, you have to have quite a lot of guts I guess, but if there are two, three, four people it’s an experience. It is a great way to bond with other people, you learn about the city you live in and explore - it’s like going on a treasure hunt. I moved here August last year, I've never been to Jo’burg, never lived in Jo’burg. So it is my first ten months here and I love it. I moved into this building. Before I was working in Asia, in South Korea, as a kindergarten teacher for two years - I love children, I come from an NGO background, both my parents are environmental and social activists, so I started engaging with the local creches with kids. So we set up this foundation to help these creches and the developer of all these buildings, he basically approached me and said I want to support you but also want you to work for me, so I'm now effectively his employee. So I work for the precinct but we've also got various community initiatives, engaging with the kids in the middle space and the creches in the area.’

Nic Grobler

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