South African cross country rider, Cherie Redeker will be joining forces with up and coming Lesotho rider, Tumelo Makae for the legendary Swiss Epic on 18 August as they partner to raise awareness and funds for #pumpforpeace around the world.

Cherie Redecker gives us the lowdown on racing with Tumelo, why #pumpforpeace, and the importance of giving back. 

Where did you meet Tumelo? 

I met Tumelo briefly at a SA XCO Cup in Afriski, Lesotho in 2014, but got to know him more through the Sufferfest Lesotho MTB Team when he joined in 2016. His development in the sport has been amazing. With the team structure and having teammates like Teboho Khantsi and Olympian Phetetso Monese to aspire to, he quickly became one of the top riders. His determination and hard work have helped him be selected to represent Lesotho at various top events like the Commonwealth Games and World Championships. His racing and technical skills have improved even more since he received the two-year Olympic Solidarity scholarship to chase his dream at the UCI World Cycling Centre. It is great to see him at races, he always has a smile on his face and has a positive outlook on life, even in the most challenging of times.

Racing with Tumelo

Seeing how Tumelo has developed in his cycling journey has been inspirational for me. He has made bigger progress since he has been on a two-year Olympic Solidarity scholarship at the UCI World Cycling Centre in Switzerland, chasing his Olympic dream. When countries started lockdowns because of the pandemic, riders from the World Cycling Centre were meant to go home but Tumelo was denied access to fly back to Lesotho since the borders between South Africa and Lesotho had already closed. He has been in Switzerland since unable to see his friends and family which must be difficult. What has been motivating is his positive outlook on the situation.

Finding a teammate who would have a similar focus to develop cycling in South Africa and Lesotho was important for me. After catching up with him recently at the Proffix Swiss Cup, I realised we could race as a team for Swiss Epic. He is a great ambassador for Lesotho Cycling and I know he will inspire more children in Lesotho to realise their potential. 

Why I chose #pumpforpeace

#pumpforpeace has projects in Lesotho and South Africa which are places close to my heart.

The Go!Durban Cycle Academy projects and Velosolutions Izimbali are both in Kwa-Zulu Natal, a Province I grew up in South Africa.  The pump track in Roma, Lesotho is close to me due to my previous involvement in the event, Lesotho Sky, where I got to know some Lesotho riders and have seen how much they have progressed from when they first started. I feel I will be able to connect with these riders to help tell the story of #pumpforpeace and cycling in Lesotho which will make people feel more connected to the initiative. 

What I like about #pumpforpeace/Velosolutions approach to helping developing communities is their focus to make these projects sustainable. I feel by getting the community involved, helps them feel part of the project, and inspires them to keep the project going.

The importance of giving back

Through my photography, I have been able to work on projects where I have seen how powerful cycling has been for developing communities. Even though I am no longer working on these projects, since I started racing competitively, I have watched how some individuals from these initiatives have developed. Some have represented their countries, competed in races like the Absa Cape Epic, or started working for the initiatives that have helped them, so they can continue inspiring and developing cycling in their communities. Seeing these individuals and communities grow has been an inspiration.

When I was photographing full time I was able to create awareness for these initiatives and have been wanting to do the same since I started cycling competitively. With the current change of events due to the Pandemic I have seen an even bigger need to help out these communities. Since my racing calendar has also been affected, I have been able to work on some personal projects, which led me to the idea of racing Swiss Epic for a meaningful purpose.  Racing an event like Swiss Epic helps bring more awareness to an initiative like #pumpforpeace due to the larger audience they are able to reach. 

My focus is to raise funds to help the #pumpforpeace communities during the lockdown and to create a lasting awareness for #pumpforpeace beyond the Swiss Epic so they are able to raise funds for their future projects.

Cherie, Claudio, Tumelo and the #pumpforpeace Stumpjumper that could be yours

You can win this bike! 

Enter the sweepstakes on and you can win this very unique Specialized Stumpjumper (Size L, S4)!

It’s a #pumpforpeace special edition and there are only two of them in the world, one of them is Claudio’s and the other one could be yours soon. 

All funds raised will either be donated to support feeding schemes in and around our existing #pumpforpeace tracks to support communities that have been severely impacted by the current international health crisis or, towards launching the next #pumpforpeace project in either Nepal, Guatemala, South Africa, Ethiopia or Morocco.