My name is Mpaphi Ndubo, the self-acclaimed cycling ambassador. I am not sportive but a commuter cyclist using a bicycle as the preferred mode of transport, and wish to see more people do the same to make my city cycle-friendlier and greener. I have great passion for cycling and would like to be a catalyst for the development of cycling in my country, Botswana, both in the capital city – Gaborone – as well as other cities, towns and villages.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR MISSION?
To promote adoption of cycling as an everyday mode of transport for all in and around the city, to help fight climate change, non-communicable diseases and road carnage.
WHAT ARE THE OBSTACLES AND CHALLENGES YOU’RE FACING IN YOUR CITY?
In some instances cycling is looked down upon as a vehicle for the poor while in others it is seen as a past time for the rich. My main focus will be on changing the dominant mindset and attitudes through education to create awareness of the vast social, environmental and economic benefits cycling can have on individuals, as well as their community.
The other focus will be to create awareness at corporate level on benefits of cycling and get support and buy-in to create bicycle friendly workplaces.
WHAT ARE YOUR NEXT STEPS NOW THAT YOU ARE THE BICYCLE MAYOR?
I have already started engaging the civic leaders and authorities as part of the education campaign, seeking a window for adoption of my proposal to include cycling development in annual budgets and plans.
WHAT CAN OTHER CITIES LEARN FROM YOUR CITY?
With my efforts over my time as Bicycle Mayor I would like to focus on promoting cycle commuting including all destinations:
✓ Malls and shopping centers
✓ All schools and universities
✓ All tourism facilities
✓ All corporations, businesses and companies
Including helping all these places to become cycle friendly through the provision of end of trip facilities to put my city in the global map as a cycling destination, helping to reduce carbon footprint and bringing more smiles on the faces of general public.
At a country level, Tutume, a small urban village approximately 528 km the north of Gaborone is a very good starting point for bench-marking cycling ridership, cycling attitudes as well as cycling friendly drivers.