The Way To Break The Mould

Bicycling (South Africa) - - INSIDE - – JA­NINE JOHN­SON/ 37/ FOUNDER OF BAB, AND HEAD BIKE- BUILDER AT THE QHUBEKA BIKE ASSEM­BLY PLANT.

Qhubeka’s head bike-builder tells us how she went from em­pow­er­ing women through cycling, to run­ning an allfe­male bike-build­ing plant.

Peo­ple are of­ten sur­prised when they hear what I do, and as­sume I’m the only fe­male in this field. But that’s not true! My in­ter­est in bike build­ing started when I be­came the safety train­ing of­fi­cer for a bi­cy­cle-re­lated NPO in Cape Town. I worked with schools to teach learn­ers to cy­cle, and would make ad­just­ments to bi­cy­cles as well. It in­ter­ested me, so I did a bi­cy­cle-re­pair course, to im­prove my skills and use them on the learn­ers’ bikes.

Then in 2015 I founded Bi­cy­cles And Be­yond (BAB) with my friend Bev­er­ley Roode, to em­power women and chil­dren by teach­ing them about cycling, bike main­te­nance and re­pair. In 2016 Qhubeka opened their bi­cy­cle assem­bly plant, and wanted ex­pe­ri­enced, skilled women to run it. We fit­ted the bill, and we took over the run­ning of the fa­cil­ity. Since then ±1 200 bikes have been handed out, thanks to the work of the BAB ladies and Qhubeka.

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