Ten-year-old Rondebosch resident Sofie Watermeyer first hopped onto a bicycle at the age of four and began a cycling journey that has now seen her become a safe cycling ambassador at Oakhurst Girls’ Primary School.
Along with her family, the Grade 5 pupil cycles to school every morning, choosing either the route along Rondebosch Common or taking the quicker way through the subway, always taking the necessary safety precautions.
Dressed in a her bright bib and armed with enough knowledge about road safety, she quickly won over the hearts of many, especially other cyclists choosing this means of transport to get to school.
“I just enjoy cycling, and it gives me a sense of independence as well. The fresh air and, most importantly, the opportunity to cycle with my family to school, I just love everything about it,” said Sofie confidently.
She added that every morning, before jumping on her bicycle, she goes over some key rules, such as being aware of other cars on the road and cautiously approaching the traffic lights.
Oakhurst Girls’ Primary School principal Lorette de la Bat said one of the parents had donated some brightly coloured reflective vests to the school, which all pupils who cycle must wear when on the road.
She said Sofie had set an example at the school and also in the Rondebosch community. “Sofie is absolutely amazing, and it’s really wonderful what she is doing. Sofie is such a proud person and she really is showing other kids how best to be safe on these roads,” Ms De la Bat said.
She added that the school did not hesitate making Sofie a safe cycling ambassador for the initiative which kept so many pupils safe on the roads.
“This is an extremely important initiative that everybody should be getting involved with. Children are not always aware of their surrounds, so it’s important for them to be visible and know the different safety measures when using the road,” Ms De la Bat said.
“We should all be wearing the reflective bibs – it really does help – especially because it keeps our kids safe.”
The school plans to bring in members of the Pedal Power Association to conduct safety courses with the pupils to encourage more of them to cycle safely on the road.
During 2015, Sofie competed in the Kids Cape Argus Cycle Tour, choosing the long route, and achieved a first place finish, and, in 2016, she finished third overall, but was the first girl to cross the finish line.
Sofie’s proud mom, Rosalind, said she was proud to hear that her 10-year-old daughter had taken a leadership role at such a young age.
“It was always just about our family cycling together and getting to school safely and I never actually sat and thought of it further than that,” she said.
Asked how she felt about being the safe cycling ambassador at her school, Sofie stalled and then replied: “I feel happy, I feel proud and, right now, I have all sorts of feelings going through me at once, because I really am just proud.”