Qhubeka, a non-profit which mobilises people with bicycles, held their first cycling street race in Vosloosrus on Tuesday to encourage and promote cycling as a sport.
The non-profit plans to hold these cycling events in the areas where their Qhubeka Buffalo bicycle handovers occur. They have intentionally chosen venues and a format that can easily be replicated by residents who enjoy the day and want to continue cycling competitively.
The street race was well supported by the public despite pouring rain. The event had 7 categories with over 60 entrants varying in age from 7 years to 60. Each finisher received a Qhubeka medal to commemorate their participation in the event.
Motlatsi, a rider who competed despite the weather commented, ?We are so excited because Qhubeka makes a difference. The problem is the rain. But the rain can?t stop us.?
Says Anthony Fitzhenry, Qhubeka founder: “I am absolutely delighted about how the street racing went today. It?s a concept that we’ve developed over the last three or four years. It is also great to have Team MTN-Qhubeka here as inspiration to our young street racers about how they can use a bicycle to change their lives.”
This inaugural street race was funded by Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung. The entire 2014 line-up of riders were present on the day and available to give tips and advice to the those starting a cycling race for the first time.
In 2014, Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung are aiming to get into a Grand Tour. The team have committed to raising funding for 1 100 bicycles should they be choosen as a wildcard in the Giro d’Italia. Donations from the public will be matched through a 1:1 pledge from team sponsors MTN and Samsung. Bicycles raised in this campaign will be earmarked for girl children who walk long distances to school and will be distributed through our Bicycle Education Empowerment Programme (BEEP).
Team principal Douglas Ryder said, “Today was the first street race. It gives the riders the opportunity to see what they’re racing for everyday. They see the impact they’re making on the ground and they inspire new young talent in Africa that cycling is an option as a profession. It’s great for them to see that the bicycle isn’t just something that takes you from A to B but that there is the possibility of a professional career and it was great for Songezo Jim to be here and share his story with them. This kind of street racing for the children and adults who receive bicycles opens their eyes to a sport they never knew existed before.”
This inaugural Street Race was made possible through in-kind donations from Wildlands Conservation Trust, MTN, Heli-vac and Coca-Cola. Qhubeka hopes to be able to replicate these events across South Africa with the help of donations and funding from corporate sponsors.
To find out more about Qhubeka’s initiatives, visit www.qhubeka.org