A warm welcome to all of you and thank you for attending the Pedal Power AGM. I’d also like to extend a special welcome to invited guests and lifetime PPA members here this evening.
PPA is a team effort and I would like to thank my staff for their hard work and support over the past 12 months. Thank you also to the PPA Executive Committee for their oversight and input over the past year.
A special thank you to Tim Mosdell and his team at BEN for their partnership and friendship as we keep pedalling forward with the Bike4All program. It really has been satisfying to see the impact Bike4All has had in the communities we have worked with and how bicycle mobility has brought joy and opportunity to both kids and adults.
I would also like to thank Ian Mills, head of Qhubeka in the Western Cape, for his commitment to the three-way partnership, which keeps on working so well for all of us.
It really is, and continues to be, a pleasure working with all of you.
THE CYCLING ENVIRONMENT
Last year I touched on the weak economy as having an overarching impact on the fortunes of the organisation. … 12 months later and nothing much has changed. Like any other business in South Africa, the constrained economic environment affects PPA’s bottom line. We see it in reduced income from members as they re-prioritise their discretional spend and sometimes choose not to renew their membership.
Lower event participation is being felt across the country by all event organisers, including PPA and the Cape Town Cycle Tour. As one of the two Cycle Tour Trust beneficiaries, PPA feels the trickle-down effect through a reduced distribution from the Cape Town Cycle Tour Trust and a reduction in membership.
- Improved office efficiencies: Over the past 12 months, we have worked on improving efficiencies in the office and within our events.
- Streamlined project funding: Over the past three years, project funding has been streamlined and turned into the Bike4All program and we now have a far greater measure of control over the effectiveness and outcomes of the funds we invest in bicycle distribution and safety training.
- Funding boost: The Stay Wider of the Rider safe cycling campaign was bolstered by funding and in-kind support from the Road Accident Fund and Toyota South Africa.
We are now proactively working on establishing new income streams for the organisation. We are looking specifically at fundraising to support the Bike4All and Safe Cycling programs, as well as commercial sponsorship for our events.
Membership remained under pressure in the past year, but I believe that we have turned the corner and are seeing a slight upswing in membership for 2019.
With membership becoming our primary income stream, we need to maintain a fine balance between offering members a good value proposition and generating the necessary revenue to both run the organisation and fund our events and programs.
- Cycle Tour seeding boost: With most members citing Cycle Tour seeding as their primary reason for being a PPA member, we introduced the PPA seeding boost for the Cycle Tour this year. It gives members the benefit of a better start time over non-members, by giving their results a Cycle Tour seeding “boost”.
- Promoting PPA’s non-event work: We have increasingly begun promoting the “other”, non-event work that PPA does. As members scale back on events, we hope to retain them by remaining relevant as an organisation that promotes road safety and aims to bring bicycle mobility to communities.
Our campaign and advocacy work assist in keeping you safe on a social ride with friends and a growing number of cyclists will create a tipping point that is needed to kick start a culture of cycling in the country.
- New Supporter Member category: PPA does more than “just events” and our new Supporter membership option is aimed at retaining members and gaining support from previously untapped markets. You might not be a cyclist, but would like to make contribution to Safe Cycling or Bike4All. Become a PPA Supporter. You’re a long-time PPA member, but have stopped entering events. PPA still works for you by advocating for safer roads and improved cycling infrastructure. Stay on as a Supporter.
The event environment remains completely overtraded and even well known bucket-list events are feeling the pressure. Cyclists are increasingly looking for experiences rather than races and we have been trying to adapt our offering to the changing environment.
- Bespoke cycling experiences: PPA is in a unique position in that we are an event organiser with a pool of thousands of potential participants – our members. We keep working on creating bespoke cycling experiences for our members, that look and feel like you’ve planned a ride for yourself and a couple of friends.
- Growing Maluti Double 90: While not a small event, the Maluti Double 90 is certainly an experience and has grown steadily over the past 4 years, almost selling out this year.
- Saturday social ride: We introduced the Saturday social ride in September 2018 and it is still on the go a year later.
- Promoting gravel riding: With the recent re-design of our website, we added a gravel riding page to the site. Gravel riding offers a non-technical, off-road cycling experience and we’ve been considering one-day and/or multi-day experiences for our members.
- Keep promoting our mass participation events: These form the backbone of our portfolio, offering safe cycling opportunities for new and seasoned cyclists. Our events and seeding serve as a year-round marketing platform for the Cape Town Cycle Tour. Popular events will be retained, while the marginal events could be moved or re-invented.
We need to remain agile and creative in a competitive market, but I think, over the past year, we have consolidated, implemented efficiencies and kept our event portfolio relevant. A good example is the addition of Bain’s Kloof Pass to the One Tonner route this year.
BIKE4ALL AND SAFE CYCLING
The Bike4All bicycle distribution program and Stay Wider of the Rider safety campaign have been helping PPA extend its reach across South Africa.
- Safety training: We have conducted safety training in KZN, Limpopo, Northern Cape and North West.
- Awareness rides: We organised awareness rides in Port Elizabeth, Johannesburg and over 800 “safe cyclists” joined our awareness ride in Durban.
- Educating reckless drivers: A tour bus driver, convicted of reckless driving, is currently serving his community service sentence at PPA events.
- Resurrected Princess Vlei BMX track: We assisted the City of Cape Town in resurrecting the Princess Vlei BMX track in time for the June school holidays, and we donated a fleet of BMX that are stored at the track.
- McGregor bike donations: Thanks to the energy and passion of a local resident & cyclist, the village of McGregor probably has the highest per capita number of cyclists in the country. We have delivered almost 200 bicycles to McGregor, with community members making a small financial contribution to own a bicycle.
- Started the Cycle Tour Bike4All Challenge: A group of 13 McGregor Young Warriors joined a group of 8 PPA members and completed this year’s Cycle Tour on Bike4All single speed bicycles. We hope to grow the “Cycle Tour Bike4All Challenge” into a significant awareness and fundraising activation going forward.
- Partnership with Toyota: Toyota South Africa has partnered with PPA and committed R450 000/ year for 3 years to safe cycling and provided us with 2 vehicles for use over the next 3 years.
Bike4All has also raised significant funds through donations and bicycle sales.
I believe both Bike4All and Safe Cycling can become self-sustaining and are compelling funding opportunities for prospective donors.
Since talking about it last year, Advocacy has not become any easier and remains frustrating, with the odd glimmer of hope thrown in to stop us from throwing in the towel.
Advocacy is about trying to open the eyes & minds of politicians, administrators and the public to the benefits of bicycle mobility. Improved health, better social cohesion, reduced congestion, and mobility choice for low-income earners are just some of the compelling reasons for utility cycling to be taken seriously by everyone.
Cycling should be on an equal footing with public transport and motor vehicles when it comes to responsible and sustainable transport planning.
Despite advocacy being tough, we do have some successes to report and the most notable are:
- Waterfront bike-share scheme: PPA ran a 30-bicycle bike-share scheme in the V&A Waterfront over a period of 5 weeks. We had up to 140 trips per day on the Bike4All bicycles.
- Working with provincial government: PPA was contracted, alongside BEN and Qhubeka, to develop a Bicycle Distribution Framework document for the Western Cape Department of Transport. The project was successfully completed and a tender for an associated pilot project is currently being advertised.
- Working with local government: PPA was asked for input on the Non-Motorised Transport Master Plan being developed for both the Swartland and Overstrand Municipalities.
It has been a challenging last 12 months, but there is always something new on the go and we are certainly always up for the challenge. From PPA Veldskoene to the Double Century returning to the PPA in 2020, the year ahead certainly looks exciting.