This article first appeared in The Times newspaper (SA) on Wednesday 23 November 2016
There’s a curious new cyclist about town with an unusual job description. Enter the coffee courier Joeri Scholte, aka Yogi Bear, an engaging, tall, multi tattooed delivery guy who can frequently be spotted pedalling purposefully through Cape Town’s CBD, his long-framed bicycle laden with bags of coffee destined for caffeine addicts throughout the metropolis.
Yogi is new to Cape Town. He arrived three weeks ago via cargo bike after cycling with his wife through Africa for six months, spending time in Kampala to develop a bike messenger service from scratch, the Kampala Cycling Couriers (KCC). Primarily a social club, their aim is to also create an additional income stream for the members, both men and women, to meet their costs of living and raise funds for riders to compete in international races. The KCC is the first courier service of its kind in East Africa, operating out of Lubya, one of Kampala’s poorest neighbourhoods. The club so far owns four bicycles, two mountain bikes and two funky, fast and functional Bullitts that can manage maximum cargo and were donated by Larry vs Harry, an eco conscious company based in Copenhagen. The KCC also receives support from the Lola Bike and Coffee Company in the Netherlands who invest part of their profits from the sales of one of their best selling coffees called Lola Kampala Gold.
Chatting over an espresso at Deluxe Coffee Bar in Roodehek Street, Gardens, Yogi explained how he and his wife Joosje, an endurance athlete with an eye on global sustainability, decided to sell their house and belongings in Utrecht to go and “live life” though travel. They flew into Uganda and after finishing up with the KCC project, began their bike packing adventure, cycling from Uganda to Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Nambia, Botswana and finally into South Africa. Yogi decided that “Cape Town seemed like a good idea” and is now enjoying a few weeks vacation.
Joeri admits he is a bike messenger by heart, giving up a fifteen-year career as a psychiatric nurse to pursue his cycling passion. He’d heard of Deluxe back home in Holland and again while travelling through Malawi. Wanting to maintain optimum fitness even while on holiday, he approached Deluxe offering to transport their coffee gratis from A to B, to draw awareness to the unique, environmentally friendly courier option. “Yogi wanted to keep riding and we needed coffee delivered- it was a great idea and a novel concept”, said owner Carl Wessel. And after moving up to 80kg of coffee a day to private homes, hotels, restaurants and offices throughout the CBD, City Bowl, Waterfront, Woodstock and Camps Bay, you might also find Yogi doing the barista thing behind the counter and serving up a mean macchiato.
This is as green a courier service as you’ll find and with the improved bike lane network in the Mother City perhaps more companies will opt to add bike messengers into their workforce. For now though, look out for Yogi Bear as he whizzes past – a flying Dutchman of another sort – coffee cargo firmly in place and en route to an espresso machine near you.
Check out Joosje’s blog: www.rideinthemiddle.com
And in closing, Yogi answered my 5 Q’s:
1. Tell me about your line of work?
I solve logistic problems on a bicycle.
2. What is your passion – what inspires you?
I am always on the move. It energises me. I am very inspired by personal stories about perseverance. Never give up, everything is possible.
3. What do you love about cape Town?
Cape Town has so much to offer. A great vibrant city, stunning nature.
4. Name a favourite travel destination & tell us why?
Malawi, Africa’s poorest country yet with the friendliest people i have ever been too. It’s people are amazing!
5. What are a few of your favourite things in life and what irritates you?
I get really irritated by short-minded people. One people, one love. Call me a hippy, i dont care, but I strive for peace.
Until next time,