McGregor - where nearly everyone rides

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McGregor's riding scene is much bigger, than you'd think (Photo: MYW)
McGregor's riding scene is much bigger, than you'd think (Photo: MYW)
  • McGregor is a small town, with a huge bicycle scene
  • What started with only five donor bikes, has now grown to 650
  • With local servicing skills, these are empowerment bicycles, that aren't going to ruin

The Western Cape is where most of South Africa’s cycling concentrates.

With the abundance of mountainous terrain, Western Cape riders have access to amazing off-road and road bike rides. But where is the highest concentration of bike owners?

Stellenbosch might claim the mantle of South Africa’s most bicycle obsessed town, and the Cape Town city bowl has an immense riding community, but the numbers might show something different. Far away from the city and its suburbs.

Evan Alan Winde has visited the McGregor community, to see the burgeoning riding scene (Photo: MYW)

It all started with some GTs

Travel 150km east of Cape Town, and you happen upon the village of McGregor.

Located in the Breede Valley, it is a typically charming town. With a very untypically high proportion of bicycle ownership.

It all started a few years ago with the McGregor Ride to Nowhere event. A beneficiary donated five GT 29er mountain bikes, to the local community, inspired by the event. This was the start of an astonishing bicycle expansion, for McGregor.

In a small town, with weak data signal, bikes keep kids busy in a mindful way (Photo: MYW)
Bikes. Everywhere. This is part of the community bicycle fleet in McGregor (Photo: MYW)

Bikes for all - but not for free

Max Menzies is a resident and ardent rider, who has been involved with developing McGregor as a cycling town. Through the McGregor Young Warriors & Angels mountain bike academy, nearly every fourth person in McGregor, has a bike. Which is an amazing cycling saturation.

From that first donation of five GT 29er hardtail mountain bikes, the McGregor Young Warriors & Angels mountain bike academy has now added about 650 more bicycles into the local community. Most of these are low-maintenance and robust single-speed bikes.

An important aspect of the McGregor Young Warriors & Angels mountain bike academy is that it is not a dispatching charity. The bikes have all been purchased by local riders, creating a sense of ownership instead of charity.

Menzies has also managed to get some of the more talented riders, to ride local stage races.

The community bikes are maintained by locals. Crucial in a location, where gravel roads are the norm (Photo: MYW)
The McGregor Young Warriors have some serious riders in its ranks (Photo: MYW)

Keeping the McGregor fleet in shape

South African gravel roads can be tough on bikes and to keep the impressive McGregor fleet in running condition, is a local service centre.

Located in a converted shipping container, repairs and elementary services are done for a nominal cost, which keeps the McGregor fleet smoothly rolling along.

For those McGregor kids who don’t have the required funds to buy a bike, they can still be part of the Young Warriors & Angels mountain bike academy. The Pedal Power Association has provided 40 BMXs, which can be used as daily rides, before being returned for safekeeping, at the end of the day.

McGregor. A quaint Western Cape village, with a little over 3000 residents and nearly 700 bikes. An amazing statistic, if you think about it.

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