EU funding boosts SA bike Freedom Trail

2008-04-01 00:00

The Freedom Challenge has announced the receipt of R2,5 million from the European Union (EU), which is to be used for the development of a mountain bike trail linking nature reserves and wilderness areas running across southern Africa.

The Freedom Trail can be ridden throughout the year. Once a year, in June, it plays host to the arduous 25-day Freedom Challenge "Race Across South Africa", a non-stop expedition mountain bike race that starts in Pietermaritzburg and runs along the length of the trail to finish in Paarl.

The funds form part of the EU’s Thina Sinako project in the Eastern Cape and will be utilised to mark the Freedom Trail, which already runs for 2 300 km from Pietermaritzburg through the Karoo to Cape Town, for the training of local community mountain bike guides and to develop a range of other trail-related products.

Zanele Zeka, regional fund advisor of Thina Sinako,

said: "There is growing international interest in mountain bike touring and it is wonderful that South Africa is able to offer a product that will appeal to this market."

The Freedom Trail is expected to bring significant benefits to the local communities who live along its route and who are responsible for providing overnight accommodation and guides.

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