On Saturday 23 March in Stellenbosch, bicycles were the focus of the day. Not only was the Absa Cape Epic – Africa’s untamed MTB race – starting and finishing in Stellenbosch, but 50 schoolchildren from Kayamandi High received brand new Qhubeka bicycles as part of a learn-to-earn programme. These bicycles are the first to be distributed of the 400 bicycles that have been funded in total by Qhubeka’s Absa Cape Epic teams (350 bicycles) and event headline sponsor, Absa (50 bicycles).
The remaining 350 bicycles will be distributed into the Qhubeka Western Cape SHIFT project in the coming months. A SHIFT is a Qhubeka bicycle project that aims to distribute 5,000 bicycles per year into a specific geographic area for five years, with the aim of helping SHIFT the entire community forward.
The children who received the bicycles on Saturday, 23 March are part of a learn-to-earn eco programme implemented by Qhubeka partner, Wildlands. To earn their bicycles, they have committed to growing 100 indigenous tree seedlings, improve their school attendance and academic performance, and participate in community and school conservation events. Before receiving their bicycles, the children received bicycle safety training from Bicycles and Beyond to equip them to ride safely.
“Our presence at the Absa Cape Epic has grown over the years and we’ve found that the Qhubeka brand resonates with local and international riders and supporters alike,” says Gaylene Campbell, Events Coordinator at Qhubeka Charity. “Every year we have the pleasure of engaging with new and previous riders who fundraise for us. Our fundraisers have been incredibly motivated and their donation commitments this year have been significant. Team Devonbosch for Qhubeka, a team of six Belgian riders, has raised funds for 190 bicycles and our two-man Team Mondo are hoping to reach their target of funding 60 bicycles. This year also sees a very exciting new partnership with Absa unfolding. We are grateful for the opportunities that our relationship with the Absa Cape Epic affords us, and we look forward to growing alongside this iconic African event and to changing more lives with bicycles together.”
“We believe in helping South Africa “to move forward”, because when it comes to helping those in need, there’s no distance too great or mountain too high,” says Dylan Koen, who makes up one half of Team Mondo.
His partner, Dean Hay, agrees. “I honestly think that particularly in South Africa, where inequality is so rife, even the smallest of contributions can make a difference. You can see that in what Qhubeka does – how one bicycle can change someone’s life. For us it’s an absolute privilege to contribute towards that. It will be an honour to fund bicycles for communities to help play a utility role in transporting people, water and goods.”
The bicycles distributed were designed and manufactured by Qhubeka’s recently established subsidiary, Real Bicycle Co.