2 March 2016
Two Khayelitsha cycling enthusiasts have transformed a home garage into the area’s newest cycling club for young adults.
“We grew up riding bicycles and we felt that there was a gap which clubs around Khayelitsha did not cover,” says 23-year-old co-founder Lubabalo Bongweni.
He started the club, known as Bonga.org Cycling Academy, with 24-year-old Bonga Nqobane in October 2015. Membership is free and is open to boys and girls from 16 to 26.
“We wanted to give other children that opportunity. Not all kids are interested in soccer and other popular sports, and because there are not a lot of choices, they end up not doing any sport,” says Bongweni.
Due to lack of funding, the club operates from his parents’ garage. The pair are also involved in the Inter-Schools programme, in which schools compete against each other in various sports. They currently work with 90 learners at six different schools.
They also train 10 other cyclists.
“We would love to get more schools involved. We want to work with other schools around Khayelitsha and make this a big competition,” says Nqobane. He says he would also like to expand the project to the Eastern Cape where children have to walk far to school.
The cyclists train for two hours in the week and four hours over weekends on routes around Khayelitsha .On Mondays they meet at the garage for life skill classes and career guidance.
The club only has ten bicycles, two of which are mountain bicycles. Members who have their own bikes are encouraged to bring them and the club also hires additional bicycles for members who take part in competitions.
“We do get children who do not own a bicycle and cannot afford to buy one. That that is also one of the challenges that we face. We don’t have enough funds for things like hiring and transport,” says Nqobane.
He says the pair plan to start a club for cyclists younger than 12, provided there are enough people to monitor the younger children on the roads.
Ntandazo Koyo, 22, is one of the club’s first members. Koyo has a Level 4 Certificate in boiler making, but his first love is cycling.
He came first in the 99er Cycling and MTB Challenge in Durbanville earlier this year and also took part in the SA Champs in Durban, though a puncture prevented him from finishing the race.