Every year the Coronation Double Century gives back to the local community through various initiatives. Click the article below to read more about it.
CDC Kids Cycling Clinic 2015
Making a difference in the lives of young people along the Coronation Double Century route, Wynand Olivier shares some of his passion for the CDC Kids Cycling Clinic.
Once a year, in conjunction with the Coronation Double Century, the CDC Kids Cycling Clinic takes place in Swellendam. As part of a cycling club that continues throughout the year, the clinic puts underprivileged young people from schools along the CDC route through a rigorous and enormously fun two-day course that teaches them how to ride and to look after their bikes – as well as bigger life skills such as taking responsibility for their school work, etiquette on the road and road safety.
This initiative was the brainchild of keen cyclist, Wynand Olivier, who had a dream of teaching youth in the area how to mountain bike, particularly those who would otherwise not be able to afford it. He started chatting with David Bellairs, a Director of the Cape Town Cycle Tour Trust in 2011, they got sponsors on board – including the Pedal Power Association and Coronation Fund Managers who have been staunch supporters from the start – and signed up interested participants from across the area. Two days before the Coronation Double Century in 2013 the first clinic was set up and that was the beginning. For the rest of the year the club is run by Wynand, who rides with the youngsters regularly and offers support with school and home life.
“We ride twice a week during school terms and four times during the holidays,” says Wynand. “These kid’s parents can’t afford to pay anything towards the club and we rely on donations and sponsorships for all the clothing and equipment and any race entries. However, we give back by working at events like CDC. It’s our way of saying thank you for what we have received from sponsors, like the Pedal Power Association and the Coronation Fund Managers.”
When it comes to race time, they do the Renosterbos race in Barrydale, and next year hope to expand this to five races, all of which they have been promised free entries for. “Once a month we do our own race against each other. Bontebok Park gives us entries on these events and we keep score of the best five boys and three girls. These top eight will have the opportunity to ride in more top races in the future.”
Speaking to Wynand, you get some idea of how passionate he is about these young people and the positive effect the club is having on their lives. They aren’t just learning how to cycle; they are being presented with an opportunity to change their future. “Some of them are doing far better at school since they joined the programme. They know that if they don’t perform well at school then they can’t ride. A few were dabbling in drugs, but have stopped since they started cycling and are now clean. Just the joy on their faces and the gratitude they express is so humbling. We’ve had some falls, a few stitches here and there but they all come back and say no fall can make them stop!”
That said, it can be a struggle to keep things going, they need money to repair bikes and buy tyres and tubes. Plus, the families have no spare cash for gear. “We need clothes, riding bibs, tops and winter clothes particularly,” says Wynand. “If you think your gear is old or useless, we will use it.” They are also hoping to train five of the young people to be mechanics. If they can work on the club’s bikes, then they can get experience enough to work at big races and earn money for the club and for themselves.
“We understand how difficult it is for cyclists from poor communities to participate in a sport like this,” said Steve Hayward, PPA Chairman. “If it is a toss-up between buying bread and buying a spare tube, food will win, which makes it very difficult to practice the sport. This is why the PPA assists initiatives like this as far as they can.”
Despite the daily challenges that come with a project such as this, Wynand sees nothing but benefits. “This club is giving kids hope and a hobby, giving them purpose again. To see those smiles and get those hugs makes it all worthwhile. I learn so much from these young people.”
If you are in Swellendam for a day or two, the CDC Kids Cycling Clinic would love to offer an invitation to join them on a ride. They will show you a few great spots and make eager pupils if you have any tips to offer – and who knows, maybe you’ll learn a thing or two?
Spreading the love of cycling, from the grassroots up
Continuing to assist cycling development across Western Cape youth, the Pedal Power Association is gearing up to support yet another Coronation Double Century Kid’s Cycling Clinic this year.
Between July 2014 and June 2015, the Pedal Power Association (PPA) invested almost a half a million rand towards developing cycling initiatives across the Western Cape. The aim for this investment was to benefit previously disadvantaged communities and grow the sport of cycling across all social spectrums. Founded in 1976, the PPA is a Public Benefit Organisation that allocates proceeds received from the Cape Town Cycle Tour Trust to a number of initiatives across the country that promote the interests of cycling.
One of these initiatives is the two-day CDC Kids Cycling Clinic that takes place in Swellendam, including youngsters from along the entire CDC route.
The Clinic, which is part of a cycling club that continues throughout the year, is carried out over two days and focuses on teaching enthusiastic youngsters the basic cycling skills, safe cycling practices, bike set-up and basic mechanical skills that help keep their bikes on the road. The Clinic also includes an outride that encourages them to put their newly learnt skills to the test.
“We look to include young people who don’t have the money to cycle,” says founder Wynand Olivier, who conceptualised the projects off the back of a long held dream to teach youngsters how to mountain bike. “Thanks to the sponsors like PPA and Coronation Fund Managers, every youngster gets a bicycle and is taught about set up and cleaning and the basic riding skills. The Clinic is held once a year in conjunction with the CDC, but for the rest of the time my team and I ride with them at least once a week, teaching the technical skills and the etiquette of riding, road safety and responsibility.”
Last year’s clinic took place two days before the Coronation Double Century 2014 at the Bontebok National Park and Marloth Nature Reserve in the Overberg. A group of 18 aspiring cyclists from Buffelsjag, near Swellendam, were put through their paces and got to experience the thrill and freedom of mountain biking.
“The PPA is thrilled to be a part of this initiative and to be empowering young people in rural communities with bicycles,” says Rob Vogel, head of the Pedal Power Association. “The clinics help them feel secure on their bicycles, learn how to cycle safety and to take responsibility for them. From this comes freedom to explore the environment,” he says. “It’s about growing horizons.”
Cyclist and Coronation Double Century veteran, David Moseley, was one of the volunteers who helped at the clinic last year, and his experience was a memorable one, “The kids took to the bikes like kids taking to bikes; fearlessly and enthusiastically,” he said. “As volunteers, we don’t know how much we were able to teach them, but we certainly learnt how much joy a bike can bring. With cycling it’s all about giving a hand, and that’s what makes it special.”
Not only does the Cycling Skills Clinic equip kids with the skills they need to really enjoy the sport, but thanks to PPA and Coronation Fund Managers support, it also provides them with all the practical and protective cycling essentials, like helmets, riding gloves, water bottles, tubby bags, bike wash gear, cycling shorts, BUFFS and arm warmers.
Alan Winde, Western Cape Minister of Economic Opportunities and a keen cyclist, was at the Skills Clinic last year and was moved by the enthusiasm of the participants and the opportunities it opened up for them. “It was great to see the excitement in the eyes of the kids as they tore around the Marloth Nature Reserve. I couldn’t help thinking that the seeds planted there will result in a few of these kids becoming very good at mountain biking, and being catalysts in growing cycling amongst people in the region.”
Some of the opportunities that arise for these young people include the chance to become MTB tour guides, which will mean they will eventually be able to contribute positively to the regions tourism industry.
“The work that CDC is doing in giving back to the community is really fantastic,” says Beverley Schafer, Western Cape committee chair of economic opportunities, tourism and agriculture, who has been involved in the Clinic from the outset. “Giving bicycles to the community has so many benefits. It’s about ensuring young people are commutable and are able to participate in a healthy, active lifestyle, as well as aiding the transformation of cycling as a sport. True transformation happens when our children build a love for the sport they are involved in. This cycling clinic provides a truly valuable contribution to the community.”
And this is ultimately what the clinic is all about. Providing the opportunity to enjoy a sport and become part of something positive. And it doesn’t end there. There’s an amazing follow-through programme in place that ensures the bikes are stored for the children to use throughout the year, helping them further develop their interest in the sport and their skills.
Buffelsjag kids ‘learn the ropes’ at Coronation Double Century MTB Skills Clinic
(Cape Town, 21 November 2014) A group of 18 young, aspiring cyclists from the Buffeljagsrivier community gathered at the Bontebok National Park and Marloth Nature Reserve in the Overberg to take part in a MTB Skills Clinic ahead of the annual Coronation Double Century team cycling event taking place tomorrow. The clinic formed part of the Coronation Double Century community investment programme which aims to encourage young cyclists and leave a legacy of cycling in Swellendam.
The MTB Skills Clinic focused on teaching enthusiastic youngsters basic cycling skills, safe cycling practices, bike set-up and basic mechanical skills. The group also enjoyed an outride on the second day, allowing the kids to put their new skills to the test.
Rob Vogel from the Pedal Power Association led the clinic and was assisted by fellow Cape Town mountain bikers. Vogel says, “We had many volunteers who were eager and ready to assist, making it easier to split the kids into smaller groups and rotate them through ‘work stations’. This allowed us to give children appropriate attention and training. The kids were thrilled to put on their newly sponsored Tsogo Sun kit and ride their new Scott bikes after setting up on day one. This was truly a fun and exciting two-day clinic for the kids and the coaches.”
Alan Winde, Western Cape Minister of Economic Opportunities and a keen cyclist, was on hand to support this great community initiative and join the kids on their outride. Winde says, “It is great to see the excitement in the eyes of these kids as they tear around the Marloth Nature Reserve. I couldn’t help thinking that the seeds planted here today will result in a few of these kids becoming very good at mountain biking, and being catalysts in growing cycling amongst people in the Swellendam region.”
In addition to the skills learnt, the eager riders received cycling essentials like helmets, riding gloves, water bottles, tubby bags, bike wash gear, cycling shorts, BUFFS and arm warmers. Vogel adds, “We’d like to thank all our sponsors – Coronation Fund Managers, Pedal Power Association, GU, Wintergreen, Scott and Omnico, and Tsogo Sun – for their contributions and for making this clinic possible.”
One of the participants, Kario Abrahams expressed his delight at the conclusion of the two day clinic, saying: “It was a lot of fun. The best part was definitely riding in the mountains.” Another rider, Anned Oeson, adds: “I learnt a lot and it motivated me to go out and give it my all. Riding up and down the hills gave me a sense of freedom and like it was just me and my bike out there!”
The bikes will be stored for the children to use throughout the year to further develop their MTB skills. Those who show commitment and dedication to both cycling and their school work over the next year will be given the bikes to keep.