Qhubeka / Garmin Mobility Project

Imagine you, or someone you love, never had the chance to live beyond the world within walking distance from home. Imagine never having the chance to discover opportunities or reach your potential simply because of a lack of transport. Now, imagine the difference a bicycle can make to people in this situation.

The partnership between Qhubeka and Garmin South Africa helps to show how bicycles change lives.

Using GPS-enabled Garmin wearable devices, and the Walkability app, developed by the UCT Civil Engineering Department, researchers can track people’s movements before and after receiving a Qhubeka Bicycle. This not only allows them to measure how much faster and further they can travel on wheels, compared to walking – it also helps to assess the impact of bicycles, and the uptake of bicycle culture.

Through a series of academic studies by the UCT Bicycle Cities Research Group, researchers hope to demonstrate the value of the bicycle as a form of transport in overcoming challenges and alleviating poverty.

The studies will focus on specific geographical areas for data collection within Qhubeka’s programmes and areas of operations.

In September, the first 11 Garmin units were delivered into the field to 11 learners from Charleston Hill Secondary School in Paarl East (pictured above).

Project Team 


Assoc. Prof. Marianne Vanderschuren (Civil Engineering, UCT);

Dr Jeroen Swart (ESSM, UCT / SSISA)

Andrew Wheeldon MSc (Qhubeka; Bicycle Cities) 


Nabeel Dyason

Jacobien Wolf

Andrew Erlangsen (Undergraduate civil engineering)