Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Tsela Riders seek to groom more professional cyclists

It is good for you and even better for the environment. For the best cardio vascular workout, look no further than a good old fashioned bicycle. Conventionally designed for commuting, cycling is now a professional sport and also a saviour to the environment since other than walking, it is the only other form of transport which does not wreak havoc by emitting green house gases into the atmosphere like other fuel guzzlers.

A growing lifestyle phenomenon, for sports, recreation and commuting cycling is without a doubt making its mark in Botswana and will very soon be at par with other sporting codes.

Cyclists and member of the Tsela Riders, Nathan Kgabi, explains that like any sport to be a professional cycler, depending on the objective, one needs to be committed, focused and also have the necessary sponsors and technical assistance. Having cycled in the renowned Cape Argus cycle Kgabi is an avid cyclist and boasts various accolades.

Their biggest challenge as cyclists on the road in Botswana is the “temperamental driver,” explains Kgabi.

He further stated that at many road intersections, motorists are on the lookout for other vehicles and hardly consider cyclists as fellow road users and mostly viewing them as pedestrians.

This mentality puts both the motorists and cyclist in grave danger which is why Tsela Riders club have embarked on a road safety awareness campaign making it a permanent feature across all form of media to educate road users of the relevance of effective communication between motorists and cyclists.

In as much as cyclists are one of the most vulnerable road users and constantly suffer at the mercy of drivers with road rage, Kgabi also stated that they too have to take responsibility for their safety on the road.

He further said that no cyclist should be on the road without protective gear, being the helmet and gloves and they must always be wearing reflective clothes for adequate visibility.

Since its inception in 2006, Tsela Riders has grown to 40 paid up members, one of them turning professional and currently living in Spain.Kgabi said that they have three more primed to turn professional. Financial constraints have made the process rather slow.

Locally, they have established routes in various locations in the outskirts of Gaborone which are more challenge and safer to engage in as a group. Kgabi compared sport cycling to formula one racing.

“We do not ride at regular bicycle speed and can go up to 40km/h which is why motorists need to take this into consideration,” he said.

Kgabi also expressed immense confidence in the growth of cycling as a sport, and are in the process of engaging more youthful riders. They also want to involve the corporate industry to sponsor cyclists as part of their corporate social responsibility. Regarding safety, Kgabi emphasised that they have an excellent working relationship with the Botswana Police and the department of Road Safety.

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