The Hollard JUMA takes place this Sunday, 3rd June 2018. But for some this is not just any regular ride, in an amongst the hustle and bustle of the start, will be seven little faces gleaming with excitement, ready to ride their first race ever.
These smiling faces belong to seven young girls aged 8 to 14 years, Siphesihle Mbatha, Bongani Mbatha, Anele Nkosi, Thando Ngwaqa, Nontsikelelo Zwane, Mbali Tshabalala and Precious Maluleke from the Bhoni4Kasi kids cycle club in Zola, Soweto.
Tebogo Montshi coaches the kids club; he has a love for children and strives to create an avenue for little girls from the township to enter the cycling world. “It makes me happy to see the kids smile and that’s exactly what happens when they’re riding the bikes. It’s my dream to see them get somewhere one day, to see more female mountain bikers, that’s why I dedicate my days to the their training.”
Taking a pedal down to Dobsonville, away from all the busy streets, Tebogo is followed by a bouncing trail of excitable little faces. They head out into the neighbourhood veld where they wind through the footpaths and fields, stopping where necessary for Tebogo to help correct and improve their technique. A typical training day involves a 10 – 15 km ride, and they’ve recently incorporated small ramps and hills for some technical training.
For Tebogo, the only real challenge is managing the girl’s enthusiasm. “Sometimes they are crazy, and they want to try things that are a bit too much for them. They just love to ride”.
With their first ever race just days away, the excitement was palpable. Understandably a little shy to participate in interviews alone, as a group, it didn’t take much prodding to get them all chatting. When asked if they were excited about the upcoming Hollard JUMA, there was a resounding yes, and when the topic of “who would finish first” was introduced it’s clear that behind those adorable little faces lies a burning competitive nature.
Finally, we asked Tebogo if the girls had what it takes to make him proud on Sunday and he simply replied, “I’m always proud of them”.
Currently, more girls want to ride than there are bikes or safety gear available. So if you’d like to support the club with helmets, unwanted bikes or kit, please contact the Bhoni4Kasi founder Calvin Mono at email@example.com or 072 810 3175.