Sponsors put cyclists in the riding seats

2017-02-16 06:01
 Team Velokhaya members from left to right Thulasizwe Mxenge, Lutho Maxengwana, Mthetheleli Bonga, Thulani Anton, Luthando Kaka and Thando Zathu.  PHOTO: Mandla Mahashe

Team Velokhaya members from left to right Thulasizwe Mxenge, Lutho Maxengwana, Mthetheleli Bonga, Thulani Anton, Luthando Kaka and Thando Zathu. PHOTO: Mandla Mahashe

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A team of professional cyclists from Khayelitsha has received a major boost just in time for the Cape Epic Competition next month.

Team Velokhaya presented their new jerseys on Friday at their Khayelitsha establishment as part of their sponsorship.

They were presented their road and mountain biking jerseys as they were preparing for an upcoming race.

According to the organisation’s General Manager Sipho Mona, the team also welcomed new sponsors and continue working with the current.

“We are welcoming a new sponsor, Giant, a bicycle manufacture who has donated gear worth more than a R100 000.

We also welcome Thusele and continue our relationships with Rand Water and Transnet.

We are very grateful for these sponsors because their support make it possible for us to run our daily business of competing at a national level,” said Mona.

Velokhaya has a team of 7 professional riders who compete in both the road and mountain bike competitions in the country.

The organisation was founded in Khayelitsha 14 years ago with many of its members having started riding with the club from when they were as young as eight years old.

Mona said that cycling is an expensive sport and it is often difficult for their organisation to keep up despite knowledgeable successes in the past.

“For our riders this is the only source of income ; it is their profession and they have to be paid. The sport is also very expensive...The equipment is quite expensive to buy and to maintain,” he said.

He said some of the major challenges they faced as an organisation was the perception that it(cycling) was not a Black sports.

“People in the township still don’t see it as a(kind) sport that they can get into, but young children love bikes, so they are the ones that show interest. Also because its largely a White sport, there are unfortunate incidents of racism,” said Mona.

He said that they were confident of a good showing in upcoming events. One such young rider is Lutho Maxengwana.

He said that he was happy to receive such support as much as he was anxious about the upcoming Cape Epic with will take place in March.

The 18-year-old from Khayelitsha, who joined the organisation at the age of eight, just made the professional team this year and is excited of his journey.

“I’m very excited to compete at this level, but also very anxious as the competition is better than what I’m used to.” he said.

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