Lesotho cycling scene update

We couldn't have said it better ourselves, so we're just reprinting a recent letter from our friend Mark West in Lesotho:  

Hi Ken

Thank you for your interest in Lesotho Cycling news - in particular more details about the bicycle handover in Leribe on 30 September.

Over the past 6 months, since the election of the new executive committee under President Tumi we have had two main priorities: -1. To hold more races2. To spread the sport to other regions of the country.

Priority 1. has seen us holding at least 2 races per month and is paving the way to establish a cycling league with 'trade' teams in 2013.  It has caused such a buzz about cycling in the country and is motivating more and more children and young people to get into cycling.

For priority 2., we have continued the modus operandi that we learnt from the Bike Town Africa project last year.  We found a sponsor (Powerade/ Maluti Mountain Brewery) to procure 39 single-speed bikes and we have been using these to kick-start cycling programmes in district towns.  The first donation of 10 bikes, helmets & pumps was held in Mohale's Hoek district and we have already identified great potential from these riders.

On 30 September 2012, we had the official handover of 10 bicycles, helmets and pumps to the Leribe district.  The District Administrator was involved ad well as district officers from the Ministry of Sports.  These are key people to get involved and take ownership of such projects for future sustainability.  At the moment the sports officer concentrate most of their efforts on soccer and Athletics, but we are offering them a more exciting sport to develop.

At the launch, we held a demonstration road race with our elite riders and a participatory MTB race for the new riders to try their hand at racing.

The remaining 19 bicycles were allocated to the development programmes in existing clubs.

10 bikes in each district is just a drop in the bucket to satisfy the demand and our real need is for more bicycles.  The Mikes Bikes Sister Shop, "Tumi's Bicycle Shop" is helping a lot to provide affordable bikes for people in the capital city, Maseru, but few of these bikes find their way to the rural district areas where a huge potential of undiscovered talent exists.

Another great need is a handful of better-specification bikes (road & mtb) to be able to develop the young talent that we uncover and introduce them to higher quality racing in South Africa.

Thank you once again for your interest.  You have already done so much to develop cycling as a viable sport in Lesotho and we know we can count on you to continue supporting us.

Regards

Mark West

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