Apart from introducing young riders to the sport through the clinics programme and nurturing the talented riders in the higher performance element of the project, a significant pillar of the KZN Cycling Development programme is to undertake capacity building programmes across all the districts. This programme is structured so as to be able to provide training in the various “backend” elements of the sport to adults across the province so that the sport can be grown at all levels.
Introductory courses are run in elements such as coaching, mechanics, event safety, event management, officiating and club and event administration and over the past years, a large number of people have passed through the programmes and are active in the different fields.
This year, focus was also given to some “high end” courses to not only increase the overall capacity in the province, but also with the express aim of making people more employable in the different elements allied to the sport. A national commissaire course and also a team manager’s course was held earlier in the year, and a number of people from these courses have already been active at the different events in the province. These courses were supplemented by a “bike technicians course” at the end of 2019 and recently the first ever Trail Builders course being held with 15 x representatives from four of the KZN districts attending. The course was run by Tim Keep who was able to impart his knowledge and experience to the attendees – both in the lecture room and more importantly, in the practical sessions that made up part of the course. This all culminated with a new trail being designed and built at the Cascades MTB Park in Pietermaritzburg and the experience gained by all will stand them in good stead in being more employable with new skills in their home districts.
It’s no use running training programmes if people are not going to be able to use the skills learnt so it’s exciting that those that attended the bike technicians course have now been contracted to undertake the extensive bike maintenance programme that has started to roll out across the province. KZN Cycling has a large number of clinic and racing standard bikes in all 11 x districts that require continual maintenance, and as time goes on, through the normal rollout of the programme, these bikes and other linked equipment require more and more upkeep. The process has started this past week with all of the trained mechanics being on duty sorting out all the uMgungundlovu District bikes and equipment and over the next weeks, they will be going out to all the districts to carry out the necessary repairs and upkeep of the equipment.
As the programme builds, so too will all these elements increase.