Updated: Feb 21, 2018
On Saturday 20th May 2017, the schools development cyclists competed in The Sports Trust Community Cycle race held in De Doorns and hosted at Orchards Primary School. The cyclists competed in race distances of 68km and 35km, and other activities included a 5km fun run, as well as netball and soccer matches played on the state-of-the-art multi-purpose sport court at the school.
These community cycle races are held each year in the Western Cape communities of De Doorns, Mitchells Plain, Manenberg, Khayelitsha, Kraaifontein, Saldanha and Piketberg. They are endorsed by Cycling South Africa through the partnership between The Sports Trust, Nedbank and the Western Cape Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport. ‘This year we celebrate 12 years of the highly successful schools development cycling programme, and it is so inspiring to see ever-growing numbers of cyclists on this programme in the distinctive Nedbank Green shirts,’ says Tobie Badenhorst, Head of Group Sponsorships and Cause Marketing at Nedbank.
The Sports Trust Community Cycle Races were launched in these communities in 2015 in order to create awareness and encourage community participation. The competitive side of the programme is important for developing the cyclists, but at the same time it has grown the sheer enjoyment and health and lifestyle benefits of cycling in schools and communities that had previously never been exposed to this wonderful sport.
William Newman, President of Cycling South Africa says: ‘It is very encouraging to see The Sports Trust’s continued commitment and support of schools’ and community cycling with this annual De Doorns Community Cycling event. Taking our sport to the communities and growing the sport within the schools is critical to the development of cycling. As our new Minister of Sport and Recreation, Mr Thulas Nxesi says “School sport has to be a priority”. So I am very happy to see this continued focus on school cycling and enjoyed participating in this year’s event.’
Mike Tippett who manages this programme commented that, ‘This year’s event was highly competitive and the development cyclists showed their skills and ability. This programme provides an opportunity for talent identification and develops the individuals as “future SA Champions”.'
Julie Appels is one of the development cyclists who has come through the programme and now manages the De Doorns Development Cycling Club. He said that since he has been involved in this programme it has opened up many doors for him and kept him away from drugs and violence, which is rife in this community. The community and children look up to him as a role model and they are proud of his achievement, which, he says, has made him feel good about himself. He encourages his club members to train regularly and they are passionate about the sport of cycling.
Western Cape Minister of Cultural Affairs and Sport, Anroux Marais expressed her gratitude to the Sports Trust for providing these learners with a highly successful and sustainable developmental cycling programme in the communities they reside. Minister Marais said, "Instead of engaging in the social ills plaguing our communities, these cyclists have, against all odds and difficult circumstances, made the personal choice to participate in the sport of cycling and in that way enriched their own livelihoods, that of their families and communities as a whole.
Their choice to dedicate their time and effort to the positive development of the self, afforded them the support of the Sports Trust, Nedbank and the Western Cape Government in realising their own potential and to optimise their excellence".
This programme has been managed and implemented by The Sports Trust since 2005 and to date over 1 200 bicycles have been provided to learners. Male and female cyclists are encouraged to participate in the programme, races and various events. The programme teaches learners the key principles of cycling, which includes road and safety skills and how to maintain their bicycles, and it helps them to enhance their education through sport.