NCAF FEATURE: TSHWANE URBAN RIDERS
The Tshwane Urban Riders Cycling Club is a club to be admired. Their focus is definitely not just “about the bicycle”, but about the development of the individual. The cyclists are well looked after by its Level 1 UCI coach (Percy Modiselle), a team manager, Releabetswe Storom and additional value is added by elite cyclists, William Mokgopo and Phillemon Sebona, who regularly drop by to give their support to the team!
Cycling and results are important, but they really place value on growing the individual and the surrounding communities through cycling! An example is their annual 16 June Kasi fun ride, that has now been running for a number of years. The Kasi fun ride have always managed to bring cyclists from different backgrounds, races, religion and culture to cycle in Mamelodi and experience each other’s diverse backgrounds. The ride has grown to attract more than 1000 riders and has contributed to the promotion of cycling in Mamelodi and other neighbouring communities like Atteridgeville, Mabopane , Soshanguve , Hamanskraal, Ga Rankuwa , Eersterust and Winterveld. They also host weekly beginner Kasi rides on Saturdays for all Mamelodi residents irrespective of background.
Ride2Live caught up with Percy Modiselle to tell us a bit more about their cycling club and academy:
Percy, tell us a little bit about your academy, when did it launch, and what is your vision?
The Tshwane Urban Riders Cycling Club is a NPO registered, Mamelodi based Cycling club. We are part of the NCAF and the Club was established in 2011 with the primary objective of using cycling to address our country’s socio economic challenges. We have 28 Senior members and 17 junior development cyclists. We believe that through cycling we can curb the scourge of substance abuse, crime, unemployment, violence against vulnerable groups and also inculcate a healthy lifestyle for our community members.
It somewhat ties in with your vision, but what was the motivation behind starting the academy:
The high social ills (substance abuse, violence and crime) recorded in our community necessitated the establishment of the club as one of the intervention. We envisaged that the establishment of the club will create economic opportunities for our youth through the creation of a bicycle tour company, technical store and cycling events in our community. Furthermore, this will also improve the quality of life in our community by encouraging people to live a healthy lifestyle through cycling and using cycling as an alternative mode of transport.
Can you share any success stories of the academy and cyclists with our readers?
We are proud to have provided opportunities to our junior cyclists to travel to places outside Mamelodi e.g KZN , Eastern Cape, Mpumalanga and North West.
The club was formed on the basis of improving the lives of the youth through Sport. Whilst the club has recorded many cycling achievements on the road and trails, from the junior development cyclists it is equally important for the cyclists to grow themselves beyond that. The participation in the programme has managed to assist with improving academic performance, discipline and respect.
In 2015 one of the junior members of the club Mmanakedi Mathopa qualified to become a bicycle technician through a bursary that was allocated to the club by Torque Zone. He is currently employed as a bicycle technician at one of the leading bicycle company, Specialized Melrose Arch. This has proven to be amongst others another important socio economic development milestone for the club.
Two of our best junior cyclists are Tlotolo Selala and Releabetswe Makofane who have achieved great results in local races, including the 100 Cycle Challenge, 94.7 and Spur Schools MTB league races. Tlotlo got a 3rd position overall at the Spur Festival 2019 at Gariep Dam!
We all know that running a cycling club in a township is probably not one of the easiest things around, what are your greatest needs & challenges?
The club has been operating from the general goodwill of its senior members who fund the activities of the junior development programme from their own pockets. Initially the club did not have bicycles and a trailer to transport their junior cyclists to cycling’s events. However the club raised funds from local business people and parents to build a 20 x bicycle carrying trailer. Furthermore the club managed to mobilise sponsorships for old and new bicycles from government and private companies. The Minister of Sport and Recreation donated mountain bicycles to the club and this was followed by another donation of road bicycles from Power Foods and Momentum.
The success of the club’s development programme has contributed to more young kids from Mamelodi and other surrounding communities wanting to join the club. This has increased the cost and logistical arrangements for transport to cycling events e.g Mini Bus to carry +- 20 junior cyclists, catering, cycling kit and equipment. In summary the club has the following critical needs;
- Office space
- Mini Bus ( 20 seater)
- Nutrition and equipment
What will make the biggest difference to your academy and cycling development in general?
In the medium and long term the ultimate goal is to create a cycling academy that will also cater for the comprehensive development of our youth in terms of academics, nutrition, positive environment and cycling excellence. We are optimistic that this will be achieved at some point since we believe that comprehensive human development is critical for a developing country like ours. In the short term transport sponsorship for our junior development programme will make a huge difference since it will provide all our junior cyclists to attend all cycling races. At this stage the club only transport these junior cyclists based on the available donations from the senior club members.
Finally can you tell us about your plans and goals for 2019 and 2020?
The primary focus for 2019/2020 is the following:
- Junior Cycling Team to participate in all major national cyclings events
- To secure podium or top 5 finish at major events.
- To secure transport and food sponsorship for our junior cycling programme.
- To raise funds for quality and technically advanced bicycles for our good performing junior cyclists (currently our junior riders are still using basic aluminum 08 speed bicycles).
- Establishment of an under 23 team.