Since its launch almost two years ago, the Toyota Cycle Park in Bryanston has helped boost the popularity of recreational bicycle riding among children in Johannesburg’s northern suburbs. This is due to the park’s location, high level of safety and variety of facilities, catering for all age and skill levels.
But now, following the donation of bicycles from bicycle empowerment groups operating in Southern Africa, children from disadvantaged communities beyond the surrounding suburbs have also begun to enjoy the facilities.
BikeTown Africa and Specialized Bicycles have donated 19 BMX bicycles to the Cycle Park for use by children that don’t have access to bicycles. Qhubeka, another socio-economic bicycle initiative, facilitated the bicycle donation, logistics and warehousing.
Bionic BMX Club has partnered with the Cycle Park to ensure that the donated bicycles are used to develop skill and talent consistently and under appropriate guidance so that sustainable development happens, all while ensuring that the element of fun is always maintained.
“As the Cycle Park’s BMX track is a world class standard track, every opportunity will be given for the next Sifiso Nhlapo to stand out,” said Jeremy Wood, Chairman of Bionic BMX Club.
“To this end, Themba Hlophe one of our senior club members, will be the resident development clinic co-ordinator and will be running clinics at least weekly to teach the basics of bike handling, racing and of course the all-important fun, fun, fun that is riding a bicycle! Our international Elite rider, Dean Holdstock, will also be giving input and time into the programme, as his racing commitments allow,” added Wood.
“Because of the tight management of the initiative and the safe, top class facilities, we have access to, this is a fantastic opportunity for corporates to get involved in this and to give just a little to make a big difference in the these youngsters’ lives,” Wood pointed out.
“It’s thanks to visionary people like Brad Schroeder of BikeTown Africa, Meurant Botha of Amarider and Anthony Fitzhenry of Qhubeka that we now can offer the gift of riding a bicycle to kids that wouldn’t normally be able to due to economic reasons,” said Cycle Park co-founder Andrew McLean.
BikeTown, Amarider and Qhubeka are all non-profit organizations whose purpose it is to facilitate the use of appropriate bicycles to improve the mobility of rural southern Africans in order that they may improve their economic status.
Toyota has provided the vehicle to ensure the children are transported to and from the Cycle Park, while Cycle Lab and the Toyota Supercycling Club are sponsoring the bicycle maintenance and supplying riding gear, food and drinks to the children on the programme.
“A BMX bicycle is the ideal entry for any child into the cycling world. With a single gear and an easy, relaxed riding position, a BMX bicycle teaches skills that will endure for years to come, whether they remain involved with BMX or move into another discipline of cycling,” said Wood.