On 12 March around 35,000 cyclists will take to the streets of Cape Town for the annual Cape Argus Pick n Pay Cycle Tour. Some 110 km will be closed to traffic for the race, which started in the late 1970s to draw attention to the need for cycle paths in the city.

The race marks the end of the Velo Mondial 2006 conference in the city on transport-related issues in urban and rural areas. This year the global cycling meeting has the theme Towards prosperity in recognition of the part bicycles can play in saving energy and alleviating poverty by reducing transport costs and journey times for example. During the conference South African transport minister Jeff Radebe announced plans to distribute a million low-cost bicycles across the country over the next five-ten years, local newspaper and cycle tour sponsor Cape Argus reports. Cape Town has a cycling population of 150,000 out of a total of three million people, according to the latest department of transport figures.

For information about the 12 March cycle tour see www.cycletour.co.za/home.asp.

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