Continental body raises bar on cycling for African youths
In 2017, Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi told journalists at the end of the National Council on Transportation meeting held in Sokoto that the Council had approved the commencement of a `bicycle riding’ project, as a means of transportation in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
According to him, the introduction of bicycles as a means of transportation would reduce congestion on the roads and also improve the health of the riders. He added that using bicycles, as a means of transportation was not new, as countries like China, UK and others were already using it.
In view of this, Sustainable Cycling Foundation, a leading African not for profit organisation committed to the growth and development of cycling in Africa, with its stated mission of using the sport to empower young people and build the next generation of leaders, has unveiled a ‘Kit and Kin’ initiative in partnership with Access Bank, Cocoon Homes, Kingston Wheelers and Craneburg Construction.
Speaking at the event, Iboroma Akpana, a trustee of the Foundation, explained that the future of every country depended on the youth and given the demographic bulge in this segment in Nigeria, the Foundation decided to massively invest in the talents of young cyclists and create opportunities through the sport for them to actualise their potential both as athletes and as citizens that woulde be useful to self and society.
According to him, the initiative is envisioned to support the launch of the Pro-Continental cycling outfit, Team Access-Cocoon, Nigeria’s first professional cycling team whilst also serving as a boost to the cycling ecosystem on the continent.
He said, “We are focused on building a solid foundation for future leaders to maximize their potentials. Working with our partners, the Sustainable Cycling Foundation realised that we can further empower young Africans to create better lives for themselves, improve their communities, and build global recognition.”
“Our mission is to connect African youths through cycling, provide opportunities for competition, promote healthy living, and empower generations,” Akpana added.
He explained that through the ‘Kit and Kin’ initiative, the Foundation would provide thousands of items to cycling communities over the next few months to ensure cycling is transformed into a major sport in Nigeria and the West Africa sub-region.
In addition to its support of five local cycling teams, which it helped establish, the Foundation has also established a cycling shop and bike maintenance facility and sponsored several bike races and training camps whilst it continues to make positive contributions to the cycling ecosystem.
Representing Kingston Wheelers for the initiative, Andy Edwards said: “This is our second year working with the Sustainable Cycling Foundation and we have stepped up our involvement. The images of last year’s Lagos Crit made a big impact in the UK, with my club, Kingston Wheelers and through a feature in the UK’s bestselling cycling magazine Cycling Weekly, on a national level also.
“The SCF and its partners demonstrate the vibrancy and talent within the Nigerian cycling scene and the potential to grow the sport not only in Nigeria but across Africa as a whole, and we are delighted to part of this.”
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