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October

2018

The Rising Star of Mncendisi Mkhize

Mncendisi Mkhize (Middle) with his aunt and uncle.

Mncendisi Mkhize produced stellar performances on the bike at this year’s KZN Spur Schools MTB League, which resulted in his selection to represent the province at the national finals in Gauteng on the 5th and 6th of October 2018.

On Tuesday night, he was awarded “Cyclist of the Year” for Northwood School in Durban North where he enrolled at the beginning of the third term on a scholarship from the GO!Durban Cycle Academy.

“I feel very happy to win this award, it means so much to me. I’m proud to be representing Northwood School and the GO!Durban Cycle Academy at the Spur Schools MTB League Inter-Schools Finals next week,” says Mncendisi.

Mncendisi says he wasn’t expecting to be selected this year because the competition during the season was much tougher than last year where he also qualified for the national finals. This is his first year competing in the Youth category (age 15 – 16), and he is both nervous and excited for the weekend of racing.

“I think I have an advantage now because I know what to expect at the finals. But I will have to stay focused and be mentally prepared for the challenge.”

Mncendisi will be joined by his GO!Durban Cycle Academy teammate Sanele Mkhunya from Bheki High School in Inanda. Sanele competes in the Sub-Junior boys category and this will be his first time racing in the national finals.

“It is very exciting for us to see Mncendisi continuing to excel in the sport, while also adjusting to his new school environment at Northwood,” says Shaun Peschl, Programme Director of the GO!Durban Cycle Academy. “We are also proud of Sanele’s selection to the Spur Schools MTB League National finals. This validates the success and sustainability of the GO!Durban Cycle Academy programme as we strive to give more riders the opportunity to be on the start line and to produce athletes who can compete at the highest level.”

Coach Siya Njiva will accompany the KZN contingent as a chaperone in the team support crew.

“Mncendisi is much stronger now than he was last year,” says Siya. “I’m excited for the finals, I think he’s going to do well and it’s a great opportunity for him to get more national racing experience. We are focusing on training for the next week to make sure he’s ready.”

After the school holidays, the focus will shift to his school work with the aim of successfully passing his Grade 8 exams in November.


1

October

2018

Local Business invests in Cycling Development

Bluff Meat Supply (BMS) has grown from humble beginnings on the Bluff in Durban in 1960 to become a significant brand in the province, now comprising 15 retail butcheries and state-of-the-art manufacturing plants that supply the country’s largest retail chains.

With a passion for serving the local community and a rich heritage of cycling, we are proud to announce that Bluff Meat Supply has become a partner of the GO!Durban Cycle Academy.

What started out as a group of cycling mates, supported by Mark Bielovich personally and later by Bluff Meat Supply (the company), BMS Cycling has established a credible reputation in the road cycling fraternity, as well as to a lesser extent in Mountain Biking and Triathlons over the past seven years, as a KZN-based top amateur age group squad.

This year, BMS Cycling took a decision to not only focus on their own racing achievements, but to also make a meaningful difference in cycling development. As a proudly KZN business and team, a partnership with the GO!Durban Cycle Academy provides them with the perfect opportunity to give back to the community.

BMS will support the grassroots development of the academy as well as the top riders in the programme who will become the pro-am team and who will benefit from mentorship and social integration with the BMS Cycling team.

“We will help fuel them with the BMS competitive spirit, imparting knowledge and experience where appropriate, and try to get them to hold our wheel!” Bielovich says enthusiastically.

“Our ambition is to support and help prepare these young boys and girls for the world stage. For BMS Cycling to positively impact the future of South African cycling, from our roots in KZN, will be most gratifying.”

Shaun Peschl, Programme Director of the GO!Durban Cycle Academy and Director of Peschl Sports is also thrilled at the partnership.

“We are very excited to welcome Mark and his team to the academy family as we take the next step in this journey together. We have always had the vision of expanding our partner network and we believe that with the support of local businesses like Bluff Meat Supply, we will only grow from strength to strength. The mentorship that BMS Cycling will offer our team will provide them with valuable support and insight into a professional set up and we would like to thank them for offering their time and resources to invest in our young talent in this way.”


1

October

2018

KwaMashu Bike Park Inspires a Community

“Nothing is as contagious as enthusiasm” – Samuel Taylor Coleridge.
And nothing could be more true about the KwaMashu Bike Park and how the enthusiasm of the site manager, Brightson Dlala, and coach, Thobani Bhengu, has rubbed off on their community.
Six months ago, Thobani noticed a growing interest from parents asking how they could also learn to cycle like their kids at the GO!Durban Cycle Academy, so he sent out a message on the parents’ Whatsapp group and the response was incredible!
He now coaches 25 mothers from KwaMashu as well as other areas including Pinetown, Morningside and Inanda every Saturday morning while the GO!Durban Cycle Academy members are in tutoring sessions. The effect on the community has been so positive that the parents even ask to ride in the early morning hours before work.

“The moms love it because they can have fun and socialise with their friends while they are riding,” says Thobani. “Even those with health problems want to ride because it makes them feel better,” he explains.
While the approach for teaching parents to ride a bike may be slightly different to the fearless young kids, the result is the same – happy, smiling faces. And now the culture of cycling is spreading throughout the community.
“We can see a change in attitude and the way the bike park has made a difference in the community, all the way from the kids to the parents,” says Brightson. “It is growing faster and bigger than we thought it would. It is making a good impact.”

About Coach Thobani Bhengu:

Thobani Bhengu and the Cycle Academy members’ mothers

Thobani was born and raised in Soweto and moved to KZN in 2015 at the age of 20 to pursue a career in the marines, but fate had a different plan for him and led him to Durban Green Corridors in January 2017, where he began working as a bike coach at the KwaMashu site.

Thobani learnt to ride a bike from a young age and his BMX skills were made evident when he made it to the top 16 of the Red Bull Pump Track World Championship event in KZN in April this year.

His skills on two wheels and passion for the youth to succeed are a powerful combination, and he has earned the love and respect of his new community.

“The GO!Durban Cycle Academy is like home to me, it’s my home away from Johannesburg. It’s awesome because there are a lot of opportunities here for the kids.”

 

About Site Manager Brightson Dladla

Brightson Dladla (Left) and Thobani Bhengu (Right)

Brightson was born and bred in KZN and has been very involved in playing sports as a way of staying off the streets since he was a young boy. He now has three children of his own (aged 13, 3 and 2) and is passionate about sharing the valuable life lessons he learnt from sport with others in his community.

He was previously employed by Durban Green Corridors and joined the GO!Durban Cycle Academy in 2016 when the construction of the KwaMashu bike park was underway.

While Brightson is slightly older than the other coaches, he is young at heart and brings a great level of wisdom to the programme.

“I see my role as being a mentor to the kids, because the academy is not just about cycling, it’s also about helping kids to overcome their problems,” he explains. “It inspires me to work with the kids.”

“Durban Green Corridors and the GO!Durban Cycle Academy have changed so many people’s lives; they give job opportunities for people like me and others in the community. I am very grateful for this opportunity and I hope that we can see the programme growing from strength to strength.”

For more information about how to get involved with the adults programme, please email us at cycle@godurban.co.za.