Thanks to eThekwini Transport Authority and Green Corridors NPC young people in KwaZulu-Natal are receiving free cycling training, academic support and life skills.To date, 400 young people beneficiaries from Inanda, Chesterville, KwaDabeka, and KwaMashu- aged between 6 to 18 years have benefited from the GO!Durban Cycle Academy.Riders also get to compete provincially and nationally, based on skill and academic results, thanks to the ‘no pass, no race’ rule.
The Head of eThekwini Transport Authority, Thami Manyathi, said the academy encourages active mobility within communities that previously had no access to the sport.“Little did we envision this would become more than a place to learn to cycle. Through the efforts of managers, coaches and teachers, these youths have shown improved academic results, cycling abilities and greater involvement and commitment to the sport and to their communities,” he said.
Thamsanqa Makhanya, from Inanda, who always wondered how he could join the sport, said: “I didn’t know how to cycle until a friend took me to the academy. I’m now a pro and have taken part in major races with sponsors who support me, not just in the sport, but in life”.Makhanya noted that young people are lost to drugs in his area, something he is grateful to have escaped.
Phumelele Sibiya, whose 12-year-old daughter belongs to the KwaMashu Bike Academy, says in addition to gaining cycling skills, her daughter has improved academically.“The academy takes our kids off the street, providing them with a healthy lifestyle,” said Sibiya.GO!Durban Cycle Academy beneficiary, Nomfundo Mtshali said “I was selected because I was one of the girls who enjoyed being at the bike park and had good cycling skills. I’m now part of the Velosolutions Izimbali team. Without the academy, I don’t think I would have had these opportunities,” she added.