Mayor peddles to promote cycling and a healthy lifestyle

2014-10-13 00:00

AMONG the huge peloton of cyclists taking on the 2014 Amashova Durban Classic cycle race yesterday was none other than eThekwini Mayor James Nxumalo — setting an example for KwaZulu-Natal.

Nxumalo was one of more than 12 000 cyclists riding from Pietermaritzburg to Durban yesterday.

Although he only raced in the family fun ride (35 km race), the mayor was proud to participate in the oldest classic race in the country.

“It is such a beautiful race, and I really enjoyed myself,” Nxumalo told The Witness after handing out the awards to winners Nolan Hoffman and Kimberley le Court.

“This race must be supported for a number of reasons. It promotes healthy living and also raises awareness about road safety — especially for cyclists.”

“We want it to grow to 20 000 or 30 000 people taking part, much like the Argus in the Western Cape. I’m sure in the next few years we can reach our target, but I must congratulate the race organisers for an amazing event.”

Nxumalo’s participation in the race goes further than a good day out on the road. He has been trying to encourage people to cycle to work, and has been a champion of that cause. Nxumalo envisions the city having more cycling lanes and people peddling their way around Durban.

“We want to provide safe infrastructure and mobilise resources to create cycling lanes around the city. Durban is for the people, and we can do so much to reduce traffic and get people healthy. We should all be parking our cars and getting on our bikes as often as we can to get around,” the mayor said.

Nxumalo believes that taking on the race himself is important to set an example for those around him.

“I am passionate about this race, and it needs to be supported. But my participation is important because leaders must motivate and encourage others to better their lives and lead by example,” he said.

Nxumalo said he was honoured to be awarded the best mayor award at the Municipal Excellence Awards last week.

“It’s quite exciting. I am happy that people have noticed the work that I have been doing and my contributions to making Durban a better city.”

The mayor has promised to take on the full 106 km race at next year’s Amashova.

Although the event was successful, the race started off on a sombre note after a 71-year-old man was hit by a taxi while he was believed to be on his way to the race.

He was taken to hospital, but later died from his injuries.

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