IT is not uncommon for The Witness to refer to Pietermaritzburg as the “bike city”. What these articles really should be alluding to is the “bike eventing city”, as Pietermaritzburg has enjoyed considerable success in this regard in recent years.
What Pietermaritzburg is certainly not, is a bike-friendly city. When I retired six years ago, I took up cycling, intending to ride some of the classic road races like the Amashova, The Tour Durban, the Cape Town Cycle Tour and the Momentum 94.7. To train for these events, I cycled through the city in the mid-mornings, and during this time I did not see many cyclists. Children no longer cycle to school and hardly anyone commutes to and from work on a bicycle. Even on the single designated cycle path that I am aware of, I seldom see another bicycle. Pietermaritzburg is not a bike-friendly city. The reality is that unless you are up at 5 am, then outside of the cycling events that the city hosts, there is almost nothing to suggest that Pietermaritzburg is a bike city.
Returning to The Witness; it also comes up short. Three Pietermaritzburg residents won their age categories in the Tour Durban that took place recently, but The Witness is yet to report on this event, let alone the achievements of the three Pietermaritzburg residents.