Woodstock Cycleworks is your neighbourhood bike shop, a bicycle play room for big kids and small. CTE.com chats to Nils Hansen about his cycleworks, bicycle culture and commuting in the Mother City.
Tell us a bit about Woodstock Cycleworks…
My heaven and hell all in one. The new shop at 14 Searle Street is amazing, with space to put cool and interesting things up. We love bikes, especially ones with a story to tell.
How long have you been in the space?
About five weeks. We’ve had the place since 1 June and had to make things happen quick – I was double paying on rent which was stressful but forced us to get things done. We moved in on 28 July from Main Road and re-opened on 1 August. We still have a tonne of work to do, but give us a few months and we’ll have the coolest bicycle shop in Africa.
How has the bicycle commuting culture grown in Cape Town? And what are the main reasons for this?
It’s slowing growing, and as people see the benefits it becomes more feasible. People really need to just give it a shot – try it for a week and you’ll (hopefully) never go back to using your car. It’s healthy, eye-opening and can save you money. The South Easter can be a bummer though…
Are there areas in Cape Town that have adapted the bicycle commuting culture more?
Southern suburbs to city center is what I know best. Claremont to Rondebosch to Woodstock and the CBD is a decent commute; you’re looking at about five kilometres one way, mostly along main roads. Sharing the roads with taxis and Golden Arrow busses is a nightmare: there seems to be no respect towards cyclist so you have to be alert and responsive. The bicycle lane from Blouberg is another well-used lane.
How can things be improved?
Compassion and awareness is what we need most. As much as people hope for separate bicycle lanes, it’s more realistic to think that bicycles and cars can share the same roads. I love tackling the traffic and flowing through cars travelling at slow speeds. We could also do with better quality and more affordable new and used bikes. There’re plenty of people who visit me, looking to get into cycling but don’t have the budget for a decent bike. If bicycles were more affordable, I’m sure more people would be doing it.
Because its flipping rad!
Where 14 Searle Street, Woodstock
Trading Hours Monday to Friday 9 am to 6 pm, Saturday 9:30 am to 1 pm
Contact +27 21 461 5634, www.woodstockcycleworks.com
Photography & video Rory Keohane/HSMimages.co.za