The Tshwane Urban Riders Cycling Club is admirable.
Their focus is not just “about the bicycle”, but the development of individuals.
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.
Cycling and results are important, but this club grows the individual and surrounding communities through cycling. An example is their annual 16 June Kasi fun ride. This ride has 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 1 000 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.
Ride2Live caught up with Percy Modiselle to tell us more about their cycling club and academy:
Percy, tell us 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 NCAF (National Cycling Academy Forum) 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 to promote a healthy lifestyle.
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 an intervention. We envisaged the club creating 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 quality of life 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 such as KZN , Eastern Cape, Mpumalanga and North West.
The club was formed on the basis of improving the lives of the youth. While 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 allocated to the club by Torque Zone. He is currently employed as a bicycle technician at one of the leading bicycle companies, Specialized Melrose Arch. This has proven to be among 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. 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 20x 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 bikes to the club and this was followed by another donation of road bikes from Power Foods and Momentum.
The success of the club’s development programme has contributed to more young kids from Mamelodi and surrounds 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?
The ultimate goal is to create a cycling academy that will cater for the comprehensive development of our youth in terms of academics, nutrition, positive environment and cycling excellence. We are optimistic this will be achieved since we believe 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.
If you are inspired by the Tshwane Urban Riders and wish to get involved you can contact them on 079 510 5277 and/or follow them on Facebook.