On 14 November 2018 riders and staff from Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka, Africa’s World Tour cycling team, along with various partners, gathered at Bulumko High School in Khayelitsha to distribute 75 Qhubeka bicycles to schoolchildren.
The recipients are part of a Qhubeka learn-to-earn programme in the area, which in turn is part of a larger Qhubeka SHIFT programme in the Western Cape. “Our Qhubeka SHIFT programmes are aimed at shifting an entire community forward using bicycles, creating a new bicycle culture and transforming communities through the power of personal transport,” explains Qhubeka Executive Director, Tsatsi Phaweni.
“When we undertake a Qhubeka SHIFT programme, our aim is to distribute 5 000 bicycles into a single geographic region over a period of a few years. The bicycles being distributed today are funded by Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka, as part of their commitment to raising 5 000 bicycles a year for Qhubeka. With their new bicycles, these learners can travel to and from school, sports activities and libraries more quickly, and carry their books and equipment more easily.”
Bernard Eisel, Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka road captain, says the distribution ceremony is one of the highlights of the team’s annual training camp. “Seeing these children riding their bicycles reminds me of why we ride,” he says. “While our team rides to compete and prove ourselves, we also ride to show people how bicycles change lives. Lots of the children here today have never had a bicycle before and their smiles today are just the start of the joy that a bicycle can bring.”
Team Principal, Doug Ryder, adds that his vision has long been to bring African riders to the world stage, and that the journey starts with providing bicycles. “Africa can produce great cyclists. We’ve proven that in our team, with African riders competing in World Tour races. At Team Dimension Data, we ride to inspire the next generation of African cyclists to do even more, and we ride because we’ve all personally experienced the ways that a bicycle can change lives. Hopefully there are some kids here today or in one of the other Qhubeka programmes we support who will one day become a professional cyclist.”