Windhoek, Feb 23 – – Nedbank Namibia has played an important role in the development of many different sports over the years, including as cycling, running, and golf. This has been accomplished through the sponsorship and promotion of competitive events.
This year, Nedbank Namibia partnered with a coalition consisting of Namibia Road Safety Forum (NRSF), Ebikes4Africa, the Namibian Cycling Federation (NCF), the City of Windhoek and Physically Active Youth (P.A.Y.), sponsored by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) to fund 34 young cyclists to compete in the Nedbank Cycling Challenge, which took place on Sunday, 13 February. This was the 36th successive year of the Nedbank Cycle Challenge, and more than 600 cyclists competed in the 20km, 30km, 60km, and 100km categories.
The young cyclists who participated are students from the University of Namibia (UNAM), the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST), and the International University of Management (IUM).
Their participation in the Nedbank Cycle Challenge was part of the Student Cycling Project sponsored by GIZ that commenced in September last year. This project is part of a drive to promote sustainable mobility in Windhoek, which has included the construction of cycle lanes on specified routes. The primary goal of the cycle lanes is to provide students with safe, convenient, and comfortable transportation to and from the three tertiary institutions. The bicycle lanes cover Florence Nightingale Street, Andrew Kloppers Streets (Khomasdal), Dr Kuaima Riruako Street (Dorado Park) and Brahms Street (Windhoek West).
The coalition implemented the Student Cycling Project under the subject ‘Cycling Towards Sustainability’ for the purpose of promoting safe travel. ‘The aim of the project is to groom cyclists to be able to utilize the bicycle lanes safely and confidently,’ Horst Heimstädt of the Namibia Road Safety Forum remarks enthusiastically.
‘To promote cycling as a means of commuting, we entered the students for the Nedbank Cycling Challenge. Of the initial 50 target students, thirty-four took part in one of the biggest cycling races in the country. This is excellent; their participation demonstrates their dedication and commitment. They gained the necessary experience during the race, which gave them the final edge to become committed cyclists,’ adds Horst, who also represents the Namibian Cycling Federation.
Selma Kaulinge, Manager: Communications and PR at Nedbank Namibia, shared that the bank is proud to have assisted the students as Nedbank is committed to lending a helping hand at grassroot levels as an important aspect of nation-building.
In addition to the coalition partners, the Windhoek City Police, the NAMPOL Traffic Police, the National Road Safety Council, the Motor Vehicle Accident Fund, and the Automobile Association of Namibia also support the project.
A Cycling Development Officer at the Physically Active Youth of Namibia (P.A.Y), Laban Naftal, who attended the three-month cycling training programme, says the lanes are visible and effective for cyclists, pedestrians, and motorists alike. An avid cyclist himself, he hopes that the City of Windhoek will extend the lanes to areas such as Havana and Okuryangava in the near future.
According to Heimstädt, the GIZ-sponsored project ended on Saturday, 19 February, 2022 which saw each student receive a Certificate of Competency as well as a commuter bicycle. For continuity in the promotion of the use of bicycles, participants and any interested members of the public are invited to engage in a monthly Fun Day that will take place in the morning of the second Saturday of the month at the P.A.Y. premises, under the banner of the Windhoek On Bike platform. These will be fun-filled events where beginners will engage with the P.A.Y. trainers to learn basic cycling skills, while the more advanced riders will do a fun ride along a planned route.
‘Promoting sports means helping to shape a society, giving it a new impetus and enabling people to have unforgettable experiences. In doing so, Nedbank Namibia lives up to its corporate responsibility. We wish the new cycling enthusiasts all the best and look forward to welcoming them to upcoming events,’ Kaulinge concluded.