It is not surprising that as one of Cape Town’s most loved coffee shops and bicycle friendly venues, Truth is hugely popular with the urban cycling crowd. Their indoor bicycle parking facilities are a success, inviting cyclists to park off and relax worry-free. This year Truth is took their commitment to growing bicycle culture even further, by joining our Bike Friendly Campaign and becoming the hosts of our popular Bike Nite events!
We decided to pedal in for a cup of their superb artisanal coffee – no sugar required and chat to Owner and Founder David Donde about his passion for cycling, coffee and urban transformation.
Owner and Founder of Truth Coffee Roasting, David Donde spoke with me candidly about cycling this week. His ‘no sugar in coffee’ policy extends to his thoughts on the development of Cape Town as a cycling city. Real issues need to be addressed. No dressing up, sweeting or pacification.
David’s passion for cycling is not limited to a racing mindset or the tight-jeaned uptake of remodeled bikes. He is a true advocate for an authentic and measurable shift to non-motorized transport in any form.
“But you love cars, David. How do you reconcile that, personally? “I asked. David smiles wryly and answers with a question as every anarchist does. “What if cars were for recreation, and bicycles were for transport? What if we turned the paradigm around?” Our caffeinated conclusion was that the City needs to build bicycle infrastructure that is unapologetic and which could handle a bicycle rush hour. A lane to separate bicycles and cars is conceptually different to a broad spatial conduit that carries a mass of cyclists who choose to be car-free. Simply building the minimum possible to pacify need, devoid of innovation and constructed by the lowest paid contractor makes for a poor business model in any sphere.
During our conversation it came to light that 22 September is World Car Free Day. “What are we doing about this?” he asks me. That is the heart of Truth Coffee – what are we doing about it? From understanding the Fair Trade debate to using biofuel to power roasters, the solution to bigger problems starts in-house at their Buitenkant Street venue. David excused himself from our discussion to phone, email and tweet about going car free on Monday.
It’s always action time.
On our first bicycle ride together, called “The Crash”, I actually saw David crash. His bicycles often come off second best as he pushes the limit on what is possible on two wheels. No bones have been broken, but I struggled to name a bike part that Donde had not unleashed revenge on!
David Donde grew up riding his bicycle on the streets of Cape Town ”..before everyone became so paranoid..” he laments. He described his first bicycle as orange with fat tires with the same aspirational joy he had riding it on a self-constructed BMX track. While owning a supercar is also an aspiration, he reminds me that cars are for fun and bicycles are for changing lives.
When wrapping up our time together, I asked him what he thought would be the biggest game changer in cycling advocacy. “More cyclists on the roads.” he replied, typing another email to get the word out and make sure car-free day is not a missed opportunity to do just that.