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Pedal Power assists grassroots cycling development in the Western Cape

Between July 2014 and June 2015, the Pedal Power Association will invest almost a half a million rand in developing cycle initiatives that will specifically benefit  members from previously disadvantaged communities throughout the Western Cape.

In this time, the PPA will assist twelve clubs with projects that will be run by the clubs in their various communities. These include some 100 bicycles and helmets which will be given to excited newcomers to the sport; while over R130 000 will be granted towards assisting clubs to keep their bicycles on the road.

“It is very difficult for cyclists from poor communities to find the necessary funds to keep their bicycles on the road,” said Steve Hayward, PPA Chairman. “If it is a toss-up between buying bread and buying a spare tube, food will win, which makes it very difficult to practice a sport. This is why the PPA assists these initiatives by providing funding to effect basic bicycle repairs and maintenance.”

“We also assist clubs with transport to and from events as well as a limited number of reduced entries and memberships. In particular, our junior development memberships are granted practically free of charge in an effort to assist young riders to enter the sport. The Association also collects and distributes donated cycling kit to dedicated cycling projects.”

Not all of the PPA project funding takes the form of distributing bicycles, helmets and spares, though.

“Cyclists need to be safe on the road,” Hayward said. “The PPA therefore assists with presenting safe cycling workshops and the Association has even allocated some safety equipment and ‘Caution: Cyclists ahead’ signage to one or two of the clubs who regularly train at night.”

Several of the bicycles are earmarked specifically for female cyclists. “There is a shortage of female cyclists in general and young female cyclists in particular,” Hayward said.  “We are very excited to be funding initiatives that specifically address this cause.” Amongst others, the Cape Town Giants Cycle Club will be working closely with the Oval North School to identify keen young female cyclists, while Cedar Cycling Club has also earmarked a number of bicycles specifically for new female riders. Fairmount High School, Freewheelers Cycle Club, Muhammedeyah Cycle Club and Steenberg High School Cycle Club are other initiatives with an active female component.

Some of the PPA funding will be spent on BMX tracks and initiatives. “A BMX track offers a safe, contained area for young cyclists to exercise,” Hayward explained. “Not only does it keep them off the road, BMX tracks are also the ideal place to learn various bike-handling skills.”

Other initiatives funded by the PPA include the 2014 Youth Festival which took place from 29 June to 3 July 2014 in Oudtshoorn. Some 120 cyclists from the Western Province, Eden (SWD), Boland, Free State and Northern Cape participated in a road race, criterium, team time trial, MTB Cross Country and MTB Marathon, in age groups from u/10 to Juniors (u/18).

“The standard of riding demonstrated by some of the youngsters was phenomenal and it is clearly evident that this development and transformation initiative is working and reaping the benefits,” said Corne Bence, president of the Western Cape Cycling Association.

Since 1976, the Pedal Power Association has shown their commitment to empowering, promoting and protecting cyclists through a host of funding and initiatives. In the past 5 years the PPA spent well over R9 million on funding for a number of upliftment projects. “This year, we again find ourselves in the fortunate position to be able to offer funding support to a number of initiatives and have allocated some R4 million to projects for the 2014/2015 project year,” Hayward said. This includes the Association’s various safe cycling initiatives.

The projects are being funded through the PPA’s 50% share in the profits of the Cape Town Cycle Tour; with Rotary Claremont taking the remainder of profits. “Without the funding received from the Cycle Tour, these projects would not have been possible,” Hayward said.