In 2018, the world’s most-watched cycling event, the Tour de France, saw 176 cyclists line up to tackle the event. Now, Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO), the organiser of the event, has agreed to fund one Qhubeka Bicycle for every rider – a full peloton of bicycles to help change lives for people in South Africa. The first 30 of these bicycles are being distributed today through a programme operated by Qhubeka implementation partner, JAG Foundation.
The partnership between ASO and Qhubeka makes sense. Qhubeka is a charity that moves people forward with bicycles, improving their access to schools, clinics, shops and sports activities. The Tour de France aims to promote cycling, particularly among young people, and this year launched a campaign called “L’Avenir à vélo” (which, translated, means “the future of cycling”). This initiative will provide cycling equipment for children until 2020.
As part of this campaign, ASO is funding 176 bicycles (the number of riders who started the Tour de France) for Qhubeka’s various programmes, which include programmes focusing on sports, health and disaster relief, as well as learn-to-earn programmes for schoolchildren and work-to-earn programmes for adults.
“We are thrilled to be distributing 30 bicycles into a sports programme today – 10 for coaches and 20 for children in grades 6 and 7,” says Tsatsi Phaweni, Qhubeka Executive Director. “This programme, implemented by JAG Foundation, aims to use sport and play as educational tools, helping to create sustainable change in vulnerable communities in South Africa, such as Bergsig Primary in Bonteheuwel. The coaches and children will use the bicycles to travel to sports facilities and groups, and the children will also use the bicycles to commute to and from school. We appreciate ASO’s support and their recognition of the ways that bicycles change lives – as any rider in the Tour de France will tell you!”
“As explained by the L’Avenir à vélo campaign we launched this year, cycling means greater wellbeing and protecting the environment,” says Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme. “Thanks to Qhubeka, it also translates into freedom when it makes life easier for thousands of children who just want to go to school.”
Stéphane Ruault, Corporate Social Responsibility Manager at ASO, says, “Our CSR commitment to backing the global shift to soft and sustainable mobility has taken us to promote cycling for the environment, for cities, for young people and for wellbeing. This is why we have decided to support Qhubeka. We believe that more people have to take up cycling if we want a sustainable future.”
“We are excited and privileged to be partnering with Qhubeka, in an initiative which tackles an ever-present issue within our communities – safe-mobility. Travelling between schools is severely compromised for our coaches, mentors, and children due to the gang violence and shootings taking place on the streets. We believe these bicycles, with a safety-first strategic roll-out, will make a significant difference in the communities of Bonteheuwel, Khayelitsha, Langa, Lwandle, Netreg, Cloetesville and Vrygrond,” says Barry Clarke, General Manager of JAG Foundation.
Phaweni notes that Qhubeka is grateful to Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka – Africa’s first World Tour cycling team – for its role in bringing Qhubeka to the attention of the ASO and cycling fans around the world, through its continued promotion of the charity and its goal of distributing 100,000 bicycles. To date, Team Dimension Data has funded over 10 000 bicycles.