This year, Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung will make history as the first African-registered team to take part in the Tour de France. While we have always focused on developing African cyclists to compete at the highest levels of the sport, the team’s also always been about more than just winning races.
This year, we have committed to raising funds for 5 000 bicycles to mobilise African school children through its charity partner, Qhubeka, which is World Bicycle Relief’s programme in South Africa. World Bicycle Relief is a global non-profit organisation dedicated to advancing education, health and economic opportunities by providing simple, sustainable transportation. Since its founding in 2005, WBR has delivered more than 225 000 specially designed, locally assembled bicycles for people in need.
Formalising a successful partnership
Doug Ryder, Team Principal at Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung and founder of Ryder Cycling, explains that the team was founded in 2007 and has steadily worked its way up from a regional team to now being a Continental Pro Team with bases in South Africa and Italy. Along the way, the team developed a relationship with Qhubeka.
“Our goal at MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung is to give talented African riders a path into the pro peloton while raising funds for Qhubeka, World Bicycle Relief’s programme in South Africa,” Ryder says. Qhubeka is an Nguni word (Zulu and Xhosa) that means ‘to move forward’ or ‘to progress’. The organisation helps others do that through mobilising people with bicycles. Having a bicycle changes lives by increasing the distance people can travel, what they can carry, where they can go and how fast they can get there.
“While we have a longstanding relationship with Qhubeka, the success of both organisations has led us to formalise our relationship and we’ve committed to funding 5 000 bicycles this year through our #BicyclesChangeLives campaign,” Ryder says. “We’re calling on all our fans to support our fundraising efforts by donating at www.bicycleschangelives.com.”
Qhubeka Executive Director Sarah Phaweni says the deal was signed on Wednesday 8 April at a high school in Orlando, Johannesburg. “This is an exciting development for both organisations,” she says. “We’re thrilled that Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung has committed to funding 5 000 Buffalo Bicycles through our programmes. The bicycles will be distributed to school children who currently walk to school – some up to an hour and a half each way. The bikes will help them to get to school more quickly and safely, reducing their commute time by up to 75%. We appreciate the ongoing support of Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung and look forward to supporting them at this year’s Tour de France as they represent the African continent.”
Also present at the signing of the contract were Qhubeka founder Anthony Fitzhenry and upcoming cyclist Nicholas Dlamini, who rides for the MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung feeder team. Dlamini took the opportunity to chat to students about his own cycling journey and to try out the steel-framed Qhubeka Buffalo Bicycle – a big change from his carbon fibre race bike. The Buffalo Bicycle is a robust bicycle designed for tough terrain and for heavy load requirements (carrying an extra student, hauling product to market, etc.). Each student who receives a Buffalo Bicycle will also receive a helmet, pump, cable-lock and a small tool for basic maintenance.
To track Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung’s progress towards funding 5 000 bicycles or to donate towards the #BicyclesChangeLives campaign, visit www.bicycleschangelives.com.