CYCLING DEVELOPMENT GOES VIRTUAL WITH THE HELP OF ZWIFT AND RIDE2LIVE
February 2021: Ride2Live is excited to announce that Zwift is investing in 25 high performing South African development cyclists by providing identified cyclists with access to the Zwift training platform. This is a major step to allow accessibility for South Africa’s top performing development cyclists to this growing world-wide trend and showcase their skills on an international stage.
Ride2Live is South Africa’s only dedicated cycling development platform. Through their network, including with the National Cycling Academy Forum (NCAF), they work with more than 30 rural and township based academies around South Africa. Ride2Live’s core focus is to provide exposure to the deserving development cyclists, academies and initiatives in order to attract these kind of sponsorships, but they have also grown to become directly involved with gear, equipment and kit collections, donations and distribution via partner cycling stores. In 2020 alone more than 10 academies (approximately 200 development cyclists, received donations via Ride2Live).
Zwift is the indoor training phenomenon taking the world by storm – an online platform where cyclists (and runners) can meet their fitness goals while having tons of fun along the way. With the top performance of South African based Team NTT Qhubeka (now Team Qhubeka Assos) at the Virtual Tour De France, hosted on Zwift, and Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio’s being the current UCI Esports World Champ virtual world champs – an interest in Zwift has never been higher in South Africa.
By providing these sponsorships Zwift is playing a major part in the growth of cycling inclusivity in South Africa. Ride2Live has already identified 12 high performing cyclists between the ages of 16 and 21 from development academies across South Africa and the remaining slots will be filled by Ride2Live during the year as the campaign gains traction. The current academies that are part of the campaign are: Legadima Cycling Academy (Cosmo City, Johannesburg); Ekhuruleni Cycling Club (Ekhuruleni); Bonga Cycling Academy (Khayelitsha, Cape Town); Absolute Motion Cycling Academy (Kzn) and Codah Cycling Club (KZN).
Cycling generally has high barriers to entry for top performing athletes coming from disadvantaged backgrounds; and online racing can admittedly be a challenge – however these academies have worked hard to obtain smart trainers (or access thereto) and internet connectivity. In addition to providing a safer alternative to road cycling the other advantages for our development cyclists are the fact that transport can often be a problem to races, as well as prohibitive costs of entry – both of these challenges aren’t faced in a virtual world. Bike quality, weight and aerodynamics also plays a much smaller role – thus levelling the playing field.
It is also inspiring to see generous cycling stores, partnering with Ride2Live to open their doors to allow young development cyclists to train at their premises. One example is Legadima Cycling Club who will be training and racing on Zwift at CycleLab Fourways.
According to Paul Ingpen, the managing director of Electric Ink Media (Ride2Live)- “Ride2Live was established to showcase the existing cycling development platforms and academies in SA, many of which were invisible to potential sponsors and aspiring riders alike. The partnership with Zwift provides us with a fantastic opportunity to unearth the next Nick Dlamini, wherever he or she may be, a whole lot faster than waiting for a talented rider to be noticed in the traditional manner at formal events that most cannot afford. Our rising stars can now ride alongside the big teams virtually and crack invites to join online races, without the prohibitive costs or disrupting their family or school systems.”
If you can assist with smart trainers (good quality second hand trainers will suffice as well) or other sponsorship please reach out to Ride2Live at firstname.lastname@example.org. This will allow better training (often trainers have to be shared amongst cyclists and also enable inclusion of further deserving cyclists onto the platform). Regular updates will be shared on Ride2Live’s social pages (Instagram and Facebook – @ride2liveSA) and on our website by clicking here. Hardworking development cyclists with access to smart trainers and internet should also reach out to Ride2Live to apply for inclusion into the program. You can follow Zwift on all their social channels at @GoZwift.