Cycling is one of the fastest growing sport in AfricaThomas Kwenaite
By Andile & Mandla Dladla
Cycling has become one of the biggest and fastest growing sport particularly in Europe although Africa is also slowly catching up and introducing measures to try and grow the sport and take it to the highest level.
Moosa Patel of the Lenasia Cycling Club is one brave and courageous individual who is deeply passionate about the sport and is driven by a desire to see the club becoming more of a community based organization.
“We are generally not a professional cycling club but more of a social club,” said Patel. “We compete in almost all locally organized races like the annual 94.7 Ride Day, Cape Town Cycle Tour and the Tsogo Sun Durban Classic cycle race.
“At the moment our club is predominantly made up of males. We only have a few female members and recently we just launched our junior section where we are embarking on a drive to encourage more younger ones to join the club this season.
“When I started cycling nearly 10 years ago, I attended all the big races but in those days one hardly saw Black, Indian or Coloured participants. However things have changed dramatically during the last couple of years with a lot more people of colour now taking to the sport.”
Patel believes one major reason why the sport has as rapidly as it should have in purely from an affordability point of view. He explains that there is chronic lack of know how in terms of what is required and there’s not that many social clubs around who are willing to spend the time to teach newcomers the basics of the sport of cycling.
In his estimation, a lot of guys are self-taught and started joining after they had converted the club into a social activity. That is when they started increasing membership as a lot more attended to socialize and in the process improved their knowledge of cycling.
“It is a myth that cycling is an expensive sport to get into with some decrying the fact that a bike could cost a whooping R50 000. My first bicycle cost me R5 000 and I used it for two years but was still able to sell it for the same amount I bought it with.”
Granted, everyone is feeling the pinch of the biting economy and inflation that has been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic, but Patel feels there are a lot more cheaper bikes that one can purchase to get into the entry level.