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CDC Kids Cycling Clinic another resounding success in 2016

“It teaches them discipline, commitment and teamwork,” says Olivier. Throughout the year, CAP runs the CAP Development Cycling Club headed up by Wynand Olivier, himself a keen cyclist. The club is registered and is affiliated with the Overberg Sports Forum and gives high-risk or borderline youths, as well as those who don’t have the finances, the opportunity to ride mountain bikes.

“We ride twice a week during school terms and four times during the holidays,” says Wynand. “These kid’s parents can’t afford to pay anything towards the club and we rely on donations and sponsorships for all the clothing and equipment and any race entries. However, we give back by working at events like CDC. It’s our way of saying thank you for what we have received from sponsors, like Coronation and Tsogo Sun.”

Then, once a year, in conjunction with the Coronation Double Century organisers and the Pedal Power Association, the CDC Kids Cycling Clinic takes place in Swellendam. The clinic is a rigorous and enormously fun course that teaches the kids basic bike / mechanical skills as well as how to ride and to look after their bikes that are gifted to CAP – as well as bigger life skills such as taking responsibility for their school work, etiquette on the road and road safety.

Not only does the Cycling Clinic equip kids with the skills they need to really enjoy the sport, but thanks to the support from Coronation and Tsogo Sun, it also provides them with all the practical and protective cycling essentials, like helmets, riding gloves, water bottles, tubby bags, bike wash gear, cycling shorts, and arm warmers. In addition to sponsoring individual cycling kits for participating kids, Coronation also donates bicycles towards the clinic.

“We have been proud partners to the Coronation Double Century for the past decade. Equally as important as the race itself, is our ability to make a lasting impact in the local community,” says Wendy Bergsteedt, Head of Marketing at Coronation. “Beyond our involvement in the Cycling Clinic – which we are thrilled to support – we also contribute to CAP’s social development initiatives.” This year, Coronation handed over desktop computers to Swellendam High School and in addition revamped the school garden to create a pleasant place for the students to enjoy during their breaks.

The 2016 clinic once again took place two days before the Coronation Double Century at the Bontebok National Park. A group of 10 aspiring cyclists, six from the existing club and four new members, were put through their paces and got to experience the thrill and freedom of mountain biking.

“What is as important as the introduction to cycling is the exposure they get to professional cycling,” says Ilze. “The clinic immediately links them to the Coronation Double Century because now they are part of everything that is going on in town, so now they can see what they can become, that adds hope and drive, which is a great motivator.”

Some of the opportunities that arise for these young people include the chance to become MTB tour guides, which will mean they will eventually be able to contribute positively to the region’s tourism industry. In addition, through the clinic and club, talents are starting to emerge and there is a possibility of taking it all further.

“There are lots of races in the area that we can negotiate entries for,” Ilze says. “To get to these races is the trick, however. If we can get a trailer and get the cycling club youths to these races there would be an element of competition involved. This would then mean they would want to train more, so we would then be able to keep them busy for more days of the week,” she says.

Despite the challenges, Wynand and Ilze see nothing but positive spin-offs to the clinic and club. Armed with the skills and lessons taught at the CDC Cycling Clinic and through the CAP Development Cycling Club, these youths are not only learning how to cycle, but are being presented with an opportunity to change their future for the better.