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300 pupils take to cycling

Pascalinah Kabi

MASERU — About 300 pupils from different schools in Maseru braved the chilly afternoon breeze on Thursday to gather at Lepereng to learn how to ride a bike.
After the lessons, the children were given an opportunity to compete in their different age groups.
The event was organised by
Biketown Africa and Spur as part of an initiative to keep children busy after school.
The idea is to give children a hobby that keeps them away
from drugs, alcohol and risky behaviour.
Biketown Africa also used the event to identify talented children who they will nurture to become professional cyclists.
Each of the 28 finalists in three age groups, walked away with a bike and helmet after the competition.
In addition, five top finalists were each given a professional bicycle.
Twelve of the 33 finalists will get a chance to represent Lesotho at the Southern Africa Cycling Competition scheduled for Bloemfontein at the end of this year.
“This is a very successful event and the top finalists will get a chance to compete in a regional competition sponsored by Spur,” said the Biketown Africa project manager, Bradley Schroeder.
Schroeder told the Sunday Express this was one of the mechanism used in Africa to help keep kids busy after school.
“This is a mechanism we are using to keep kids busy and away from drugs, alcohol and early sexual activities because children in Africa normally do not have anything to do after school,” he said.
He said Biketown Africa and
Spur were involved in three projects in Africa and this was the
first cycling project they undertook in Lesotho.
“We have six years working in Africa on farming and health projects but this one is the first to be implemented.
“It is a huge success because the Lesotho Cycling Association is very organised and on the right track in developing sports, they just lack funding.
“We are however happy to be working with them because we are working on producing future athletes who will turn professional along the way.
“They are also future Olympics,” Schroeder said.
Lesotho Cycling Association president Sechaba Khoetsa said this project was meant to develop the sport in the country.
“It is specifically concentrating on children aged between 12 and 19.
For us this is a purely talent identification process,” Khoetsa said.

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