Trip of lifetime for cyclists
Promising young riders to broaden their horizons with visit to Europe
After making their mark on the local cycling scene, three Imveli Cycling Academy members will dip into the international arena when they jet off to Europe later this year. Imveli founder Lukholo Badi will accompany Zukhanye Mahashe, 14, and Simiselo Nelani, 16, as the trio embark on a learning experience.
Badi, the 2017 Herald Citizen of the Year, said they would visit Belgium and the Netherlands, adding that the trip would be more about participation than competition.
“The idea for the trip came after some engagement with other cyclists who have been on similar tours,” Badi said.
“So it can be a good thing for us to introduce our cyclists to environments outside of their comfort zones.”
Badi said Mahashe and Nelani had met the criteria for selection, having shown their willingness to work hard, both on the bicycle and in school.
“Even though we are a sporting organisation, here [at Imveli] we want our members to grow, not only on the saddle, but in the classroom too.”
Badi hailed the efforts of various companies and organisations who assist the academy with fundraising, as well as raising awareness about the work being done by Imveli.
He said organisations such as the Umyezo Group, African Pioneer Group and the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality had thrown their weight behind the initiative, in addition to advertising firm Boomtown and Belief Agency, based in Seattle.
He said other companies such as Bestmed, Standard Bank and Continental Tyre South Africa had shown an interest in coming on board.
Nelani said this was an amazing opportunity which both he and Mahashe would cherish.
“I am so honoured to have been chosen for this trip. I cannot put into words how I feel about this opportunity – we are going to learn such a great deal while over there,” an excited Nelani said.
“Ultimately, we want to absorb as much as possible and learn from some of the best cyclists these countries have to offer.
“Once we are back, we can then teach our fellow club members the skills we have learnt so they can also improve.”
Both teenagers will also have their first taste of flying when they leave for the trip at the end of September.
Mahashe said: “I am very excited for this trip, but also that we will be flying in an airplane.”
Badi said they were going to start selling socks emblazoned with the Imveli name in June.
A gala dinner was also being planned for the fundraising drive.