More South Africans take up cycling to fit their lifestyle and pockets

Personal Lines

More South Africans take up cycling to fit their lifestyle and pockets

Published: 06 March 2014

The bicycle trend has hit our shores with an increasing number of South Africans taking up the hobby and purchasing bicycles fit for their lifestyle. Whether it be for environmental reasons, saving petrol when commuting to work, to simply have fun or to compete in sport races, thousands of South Africans, females and males, are fully immersing themselves in this trend.

Our country boasts some of the largest cycling races in the world. During March thousands of people from across the globe descend to Cape Town to participate in the largest individually timed race in the world - the Cape Argus Pick n Pay Momentum Cycle Tour. Now in its 36th year, this year's race is scheduled to take place on Sunday, 9 March. Around 35 000 riders participate in this race annually.

A key highlight for the mountain bike community is the renowned ABSA Cape Epic Mountain Bike race, scheduled for 23-30 March this year. This gruelling race sees approximately 1200 mountain bikers from around the world compete for the top spot each year.

For those who are more interested in using their bicycle on a daily-basis, more companies are encouraging and accommodating employees who cycle to work. Cities such as London, Paris and New York have introduced "bike-sharing schemes" for residents and tourists to use bicycles to get around town more conveniently and without the hassle of traffic.

With the mass uptake of bicycles on our roads, CBD's around South Africa are transforming to accommodate for this influx. The City of Cape Town is in the forefront of implementing bicycle lanes, with its long-term aim of creating 2 000 kilometres of pedestrian and cycling facilities in its CBD and suburbs, as well as cycling paths alongside the MyCiTi bus routes. Roughly 400 kilometres of bicycle lanes have been completed to date.

The Central City Improvement District (CCID) welcomes the increasing number of cyclists in the Central City of Cape Town.

"By making the Cape Town CBD more inviting to cyclists, we get the benefit of attracting more cyclists into town during the daytime hours. The City's dedicated bicycle lanes to promote the entire concept of more sustainable, non-motorised transport," says Carola Koblitz, Communications and Marketing Manager at CCID.

Looking after your bicycle

The prices of bicycles in South Africa vary drastically depending on the purpose intended. One of the leading cycling shops in South Africa, Chris Willemse Cycles, sell bicycles anywhere from around R 8, 000.00 - R 80, 000.00 and have even sold bicycles to fanatic cyclists in the value of around R 120, 000.00. When making such an investment, customers are encouraged to purchase insurance for their bicycles as a reassurance.

As South Africa's leading short-term insurer, Santam currently insures over 34 000 bicycles across the country and has received over 570 claims in the past three years related to bicycles.

"More than 50% of bicycle-related claims we have received involved accidental loss and damage," says Marius Neethling, Personal Lines Underwriting Manager at Santam.

He adds, "Talking to an intermediary that is knowledgeable around bicycle insurance can prove most helpful and might just avoid disappointment should one be faced with an unfortunate situation."

Based in the southern suburbs of Cape Town, Maywood Insurance Brokers said that they have been inundated with queries around insuring bicycles of late.

"We encourage our policyholders to insure their bicycles. The monthly premium for a bicycle that costs, for example, R 10 000.00 would roughly be around R 63.00," says Nasrulla Enus, owner of Maywood Insurance Brokers.

Santam provides the following tips for insuring your bicycle:

  • To ensure you are appropriately covered, specify the insurance cover for your bicycle on your policy with your insurer or intermediary under the All Risks section.
  • One can also insure paraphernalia/gear relating to your bike, such as a helmet - this must be clearly specified in your policy.
  • Note whether your bicycle is used for pleasure purposes only or for professional use in competitions.
  • Know what the current replacement value of your bicycle is and insure it for the same value.
  • You will be required to share the following information with your insurer in order to make sure you are adequately covered:
  • Make, model, serial number, sum insured (replacement value of your bicycle).
  • Type of bicycle, for example - mountain or road bicycle.
  • Colour of your bicycle as well as the frame number (this would be helpful should your bicycle be stolen and a case of theft is opened at the police station).

"One would never consider purchasing an expensive motorcycle without insurance. It should be the same when investing in a bicycle. Not having the appropriate insurance could be an unnecessary set-back that could have been avoided," concludes Neethling.