The Development Race Day Series continued the programme launched towards the end of 2014 to the remainder of the KwaZulu-Natal districts in the early part of 2015. The enthusiastic team of Adele Burger and Senzo Gumede (Giba Gorge Mountain Bike Park), Brenda Harding (Giba Gals) and Tyrone Johns (Development Officer for KwaZulu-Natal Cycling) visited Ethembeni School in KZN on Wednesday 11 February along with five bicycles and two trailer-cycles to be donated.
Ethembeni School has been running for 30 years and caters for the physically disabled and visually impaired children from all over KwaZulu-Natal. They school approximately 240 pupils. The team had described the process as an absolute honour to be able to give back to a community that battles every day with the little things that most people often take for granted. The bikes were off loaded, set up, and a handful of children were called up at random to experience the feeling of being on a bicycle for the first time.
“I was first to take Sphesihle Khumalo on his first bike ride ever and his smile got bigger and bigger, he could not stop smiling the whole time we were cycling together,” said Johns.
Sphesihle is visually impaired and will never be able to ride a bicycle without assistance. With the help of the trailer-cycles he can now experience the beauty of cycling every week. The team also explained to the kids that Johns is the current BMX World Champion and they were even happier to be on the same bike as a World Champ.
At first, Sphesihle felt scared on the back of the bicycle, but soon after cycling around the parking lot for a few minutes, they noticed that he had started to pedal forwards. This was something that he did instinctively, and it was his first time on a bicycle.
“I am sure with the kind donation from Brenda, Giba Gorge and KZN Cycling, there are going to be a lot of happy kids getting the opportunity to experience what cycling is all about,” said Johns.
“One thing that amazes me every time I go and see children on bicycles is the joy and smiles that it brings to them; it must be the wind in your face and the sense of freedom that just makes the experience amazing.”
He said that kids and bicycles go together like a match made in heaven and to help out as much as they do just fulfills a huge gap in their soul.
A huge thank you goes out to Giba Gorge Mountain Bike Park, The Giba Gals, KZN Cycling, KZN Sports and Recreation and Cycling SA for the continued support of cycling and giving back to communities less fortunate than ours. The learners at Ethembeni will have many hours of cycling pleasure with the donation and there will surely be some young Para-cycling superstars emerging from this area.
For further information about the Development Series Race Day, please contact KZN Cycling Development Officer, Tyrone Johns, on 083 606 6086.