Flat base decoded
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When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race,” said British author and futurist H.G. Wells.

What is it about the humble bicycle that rings our bells, so to speak?

Is it the fact that you can get to and from work, school or the shops and stay fit at the same time? Or is it the convenience that comes with getting from point A to point B at your own pace without having to worry about getting stuck in traffic, the rising cost of petrol or getting a seat on public transport? Or maybe it is, more simply, a feeling of freedom.

Most probably it is a combination of all of these things.

The eternal beauty of the ‘bike’ is that you can use it as much as you like, but it still has almost no impact on the natural environment (only walking is better than cycling). On a given day, the diverse array of people using bicycles in urban sprawls of over 30 million souls includes:

• the middle aged salary man riding to work on his fold-up bike in his business suit every day;
• the trendy adolescent skipping off to do some window shopping;
• the stay-at-home mother dropping not one, but two kids off at school;
• the pack of old men determined not to be late for their morning gate-ball contest; and,
• the serious cyclist kitted out in tight lycra and a fancy water-bottle pouch.

The myriad health-related, economic and environmental benefits of riding bicycles are well known and well documented. Yet, despite upward trends in some cities across the globe in recent years, only 0.55% of human commuters ride bikes to work.

Strategies for change should enable safe riding across cyclists’ journeys, from their bike racks at home, to work, school and the shops, and back again. Good policies include coordinated local and national government investment in bicycle infrastructure such as bike lanes and paths and parking areas.

Businesses also have an important role to play in making showers and safe parking areas available for their employees — this can only be beneficial as physically healthier employees make happier and, of course, more productive workers.

Luckily we do not have to look too far to find creative and successful initiatives that have already worked. To give just one example, the affordable public bike system has received widespread acclaim and is being copied in other cities around the world.

Despite these innovations, the more likely catalyst for change in the long term lies in higher petrol prices. In 2008 we saw how the economic incentive to ride to work increased due to petrol price hikes. A survey organisation Bikes Belong Coalition found not only that bike sales had increased significantly, but also that customers in 95% of surveyed shops cited high petrol prices as a reason for their purchase.

If, as those who believe in peak oil expect, petrol prices continue to rise (oil prices have doubled in just 12 months ), then communities of all sizes should anticipate this trend and prepare for it. Ironically, transition to a bike-friendly city will be most difficult in cities like Los Angeles with poor public transport infrastructure and populations attached to the comforts and speed, at least in theory, of the motor car.

Many cities with efficient transportation infrastructures, in particular through trains and subways, make it attractive to ride only to the nearest station or for short trips. Therefore, catering to a range of commuters in car dependent cities will also require substantial and integrated investments in public transport infrastructure.

In recent years in the spaced out capital of Australia, Canberra, the Bike’n’Ride initiative has provided an incentive for potential cyclists to ditch their cars in favour of a convenient bicycle and bus combination. Bike riders who ride to a bus stop can attach their bikes on the front of the bus for free. Other integrated solutions include congestion charges for cars in the inner areas of cities like London, which encourage people to use more sustainable forms of transport.

Still, instituting these changes in large North American, Asian and increasingly African and Latin American cities that have not been planned with the needs of cyclists in mind will require more than infrastructural change. A real bike-friendly city requires citizens that understand, and are open to the idea of bicycles being part of the urban fabric. This can only come as more and more people experience the benefits of riding and themselves feel a sense of pride in having a bike-friendly city.

An important cultural value will be inclusiveness. Bicycles are not, and should not be seen as the domain of a group of hard-core fitness orientated riders. Rather, there should be spaces that enable people of all ages, genders and social statuses to ride with each other and alongside pedestrians and road vehicles.

In Tokyo, those walking on crowded sidewalks are accustomed to sharing limited space with those cyclists who would prefer not to pedal on the street. Pedestrians are willing to step aside to allow cyclists to pass and cyclists are (generally) patient and careful at making their way through the throngs.

All of us can lead the pack in fostering this culture. With obesity such a problem in developed societies, as well as a growing problem in developing countries, adults who ride can provide a good example to their kids. Or maybe, it’s the other way around.

Evidently, if decision-makers — politicians, policy-makers and urban planners — use bicycles themselves, they are probably more likely to initiate forward-thinking bike-friendly policies for their constituents. The Danish Minister for Climate and Energy rides to work, along with 37% of Copenhagen residents. How does your city mayor or state representative get around?

Changing attitudes towards bicycles will take some time. Societies overwhelmingly view the road as a space for cars and trucks. The hope is that the freedom to pedal is not abused by zealous riders, in the same way that the freedom to drive is seen, incorrectly, by many to be an entitlement.

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Our World | Awareness 

Cloudy is a happy animated short by artists Samuel Borkson and Arturo Sandoval III of Friends With You. Welcome to the clouds!

"This animated short is an exploration into the clouds; a sweet, visual soundscape that takes the viewer through a personal journey into the sky. Sing, dance and relax as you follow a cast of clouds and raindrops through an entrancing adventure you’ll wish to take over and over again.

FriendsWithYou explores animism, giving the main cast of characters a soul. The purpose of the piece is to transcend the viewer to a peaceful and joyous state. Clouds singing and performing their duties in a joyful manner show us that everything in our world has a role and a purpose.

Both co-collectors were giggling pretty hard at this one.

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Lillian Mazibuko | illustration

A beer made by South Africans for South Africans, it's difficult to think of 5 Skippas Superior Golden Lager as the new beer on the block, when it's already crept its way into the hearts of local beer drinkers, finding the magic to make the all-important leap from unknown brand to beer of choice.

The product of the now legendary interview between former Orlando Pirates goalkeeper, turned TV presenter, turned entrepreneur Deshi Bhaktawer, and enamoured fan turned spokesperson Good Enough Sit- hole, where the term 5 Skippas was first coined, the beer is a smooth and refreshing reflection of our local spirit and love for sport.

As a challenger to the mass market, the 5 Skippas brand counts values such as unity, authenticity, and locality as the main drivers behind its beer, aiming to weave a fabric between the different cultures in South Africa––regardless of gender, culture, or ethnicity. Drawing from its storied heritage and great passion for people, 5 Skippas' position is clear: if takes something special to bring people together, why shouldn’t it be a great tasting beer?

Currently, 5 Skippas Superior Golden Lager is only available in Gauteng, with plans to expand into the rest of the country in the near future.

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Styling Concepts | Beverages | Brands

Not all heroes wear capes. That’s why in honour of National Superhero Day - observed globally on 28 April - Reed Exhibitions Africa and ReedPOP today proudly announced CHOC Childhood Cancer Foundation, as the official charity partner for Comic Con Africa. 

CHOC Childhood Cancer Foundation SA is the only organisation in South Africa that provides comprehensive countrywide support for children with cancer and other life-threatening blood disorders, and their families. Their range of comprehensive support to affected families includes parent to parent support, counselling by a CHOC social worker, and practical support such as accommodation in CHOC accommodation facilities nationwide, transport and recreational activities. In addition, the organisation creates awareness of on early detection of cancer, supports health professionals and upgrades treatment facilities into child-friendly environments and advocates for those whose lives have been affected by this disease. CHOC relies heavily on private sectors and individuals for funding to continue the great work.

Now in its 24th year, National Superhero Day was started by Marvel Comics’ employees as a day to honour superheroes, both real and fictional. “For 40 years, CHOC has been providing comprehensive, countrywide support for children with cancer and their families. It is the only organisation in the country that provides such a holistic service.  As the organisers of Comic Con Africa, we could not think of a more suitable charity to partner with,” says Carol Weaving, Managing Director at Reed Exhibition. 

Comic Con Africa is also inspired by the important and courageous work CHOC does throughout our country, to provide care and support to children and teens living with cancer and their families; to raise awareness around early detection; support healthcare professionals and turn treatment facilities into child-friendly environments. These behaviours are just some of what CHOC hopes to impart, by educating audiences about the role that individuals can play. 

For Comic Con Africa, the men and women of CHOC are, themselves, superheroes. 

“This year CHOC celebrates 40 years of existence and we are very excited to be involved with Comic Con Africa.  We look forward to continuing to make a difference in the lives of real-life superheroes, the children and teens fighting cancer - making this journey not only easier for them but their families as well,” said Carl Queiros, CEO of CHOC Childhood Cancer Foundation SA. 

Comic Con Africa will be held from 21 - 24 September, at Gallagher Convention Centre in Midrand. Comic Con Africa is a multi-genre entertainment and comic convention that features comic books, games, arts, movies, pop culture elements.

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Reed Exhibitions Africa | CHOC | ReedPOP

This February saw the Imprint ZA x Millé Africa collaboration take to the runway at South African Menswear Week AW. The partnership arrived at an opportune moment when both brands were gearing up to launch their up coming seasonal styles.

Imprint ZA, showcasing for the third time on the leading menswear platform presented a collection that moved between a nomad and urban guy who pushed the boundaries of gender perceptions with fashion. 

A collection treated in blue prints, sunset and desert hues and solids in creams and whites was complemented by the partnership with Millé Africa on footwear, closing each look with a dose of high quality, comfortable and stylish sneakers in tan and camel.

The Imprint ZA x Millé Africa collaboration for SAMW AW16 brought a fresh take on nomadic Africans to fashion week and encouraged a brave new man living in a brave new world.

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Millé Africa | LIfestyle