Further growing its Pump for Peace initiatives in South Africa, Velosolutions joined forces with Peschl Sports and the GO!Durban Cycle Academy to empower an all female team of young riders called “Velosolutions Izimbali”.
Previously in South Africa there has been little to no support for African women in cycling, and there has never been a team solely dedicated to the advancement of black female riders. Velosolutions and Pump for Peace believes that it is important to address this gap in the sport by creating a platform where the potential of young African women can be unlocked. Not only is this beneficial for the empowerment of individual athletes and for the growth of cycling on the African continent, but it also has a knock-on effect in their local communities where they become role models for other girls to believe that they can achieve their dreams. Cycling is not seen as a “girls” sport in typical township communities, but these ladies are defying stereotypes and changing perceptions of what is possible with hard work, determination and the right team of support around you!
The GO!Durban Cycle Academy was launched in 2016 as a partnership between the eThekwini Transport Authority (ETA) and Durban Green Corridors (DGC), a non-profit organisation. By creating a safe space for disadvantaged youth to play and learn through sport, the program provides free cycling training, academic support and life skills for youth aged 7 – 18 at a number of bike park sites in the eThekwini region.
Similarly to Velosolutions, the GO!Durban Cycle Academy aims to promote a healthy and active lifestyle by encouraging cycling in communities, whether it be for recreation, competing or commuting.
This synergy came together with a bang in March 2018 when the first Velosolutions Pump Track in the province of Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa, was built in KwaDabeka, a township located 30 minutes outside of Durban. The South African qualifier event for the inaugural Red Bull Pump Track World Championship was held here in April 2018, and the track has since become a hive of cycling activity in the community.
“Velosolutions is active around the globe, but focuses on every small town where we build a track as if it was our own,” explains Claudio Caluori, Managing Director of Velosolutions.
“We are grateful for what we are able to achieve in these towns and we want to give back where we can. Durban is very close to our hearts, so it was the perfect opportunity for us to support this first black African women’s MTB team in South Africa with girls that have been developed through the GO!Durban Cycle Academy.”