On Wednesday, 21 September 2022, the Amashova Durban Classic team opened the newly refurbished Safety Bike Park at George Cato Primary School in Cato Ridge. Having previously built this bike park at the school, this forms part of the Amashova’s ongoing charity initiative to build and maintain Safety Bike Parks in underprivileged schools along the race route from Pietermaritzburg to Durban in Kwazulu-Natal.
“These bike parks not only give the children in these schools the opportunity to learn to ride a bicycle, but more importantly they are educated on basic road safety both on and off a bicycle. Although this important life skill has sadly been removed from the syllabus for government schools – we still ardently believe it is crucial for learners to still be exposed to the rules of the road for their own safety. This year we are also extremely grateful for Jonsson Workwear’s generous donation of reflective high visibility belts that learners at George Cato School will also receive today”, explains Amashova Race Director, Annie Batchelder.
In the year of the race’s official comeback on the original and much-loved Comrades route, Amashova organisers have offered in 2022 an early starting charity batch for riders to buy into – of which the proceeds from riding in this batch will be donated to other much needed safety bike parks to underprivileged schools along the race route.
Thornville Primary School in Pietermaritzburg is another school that has benefited from this project, having had a mountain bike track built at the school in October 2017. This unique school-based road safety project was started by the Amashova race organisers in 2015, with custom made cycle tracks being built at previously disadvantaged schools, and bicycles and push bikes being donated for the children to ride and learn road safety, in a self-sustaining project which the schools then run and manage themselves.
The first bike park was built at eThembeni School for Physically Disabled and Visually Impaired learners, which is situated along the Amashova route in Inchanga. Batchelder adds, “on race day you’ll always notice the children from schools like Thornville Primary School and eThembeni supporting the cyclists on Amashova race day outside their schools. They still appreciate and love the tracks and bike parks we have built for them and we look forward to continuing our support to these schools and hopefully many others in years to come. Hopefully our efforts along with key stakeholders are helping to develop a generation of children who will be responsible road users of the future”.
In attendance at the opening of the refurbished Safety Bike Park at George Cato Primary School who support the race and this initiative were representatives from the eThekwini Metro Police, KZN Department of Transport Authorities – Road Safety, Aquelle, Jonnson Workwear and Bluff Meat Supply.
“I’m grateful we are part of this great initiative that ties in with October being Transport Month. We are proud to be part of this year’s project and commend Annie and her team for the work they have done and continue to do to ensure the safety of our learners. We encourage people to buy bicycles and use bicycles in order to reduce the scourge of accidents on our roads. This event would not be a success without the Amashova organisers, Department of Transport, Metro Police as well as ETA and sponsorship by other stakeholders,” says Bonga Mpofu, Deputy Director of the KZN Department of Transport Road Safety.
In addition to this CSI project, the Amashova has traditionally always been a race that is popular with cyclists riding for a cause. Riders can enter the early charity batch by contacting [email protected] or entering online at shova.co.za. Online pre-entries to the Amashova Durban Classic close at midnight on 23 September 2022 but late entries are available on race weekend at the Suncoast Globe’s lifestyle expo and registration.
To find out more about the Safety Bike Park Project and the work the Amashova Durban Classic team is doing for the communities along the iconic Amashova route from Pietermaritzburg to Durban, as well as how to support a charity through the race, go to www.shova.co.za.