South African Cycling

Pedal your way to health and wellness

2014-11-19 10:08
Cape Town - Are you a racing snake, a weekend warrior or a recreational rider? Are you a mountain biker or a roadie? Regardless of where you put yourself on the cycling spectrum, it’s true that this sport is one of the most rapidly growing pastimes in South Africa. With an estimated 1.5 million cyclists on the road already, it’s clear that the sport is appealing to men and women of all ages who are looking for a way to balance their health and fitness with their family and social commitments.

“One of the most attractive things about cycling is that there’s a clear link between effort and outcome,” says Stephen Reardon of MoreCycle, owners of Cycle Lab and partners of Multiply, the wellness and rewards programme offered by Momentum.

“The more you cycle, the better you get, and the fitter you become. The results are visible and measurable, unlike many other sports where, no matter how hard you may practice, you are likely to hit a skills ceiling. In fact, by cycling for just 10 hours a week, you will become quicker and better – and you are likely to lose excess weight too.”

This quick correlation between effort and results has seen the sport becoming particularly popular among executives seeking a balanced approach to fitness, weight-loss and family. For example, 69 percent of riders in the 2014 Cape Town Cycle Tour were CEOs, directors or senior management, with 47 percent owning their own business. Moreover, the 2014 Momentum 947 Cycle Challenge, hosted in the country’s economic centre, is hosting 33 000 cyclists in an epic journey through and around the City of Gold.

“Training for cycling isn’t restricted to classes at a gym, or to a particular club environment – you can cycle whenever and wherever you choose to,” Reardon points out. “While at least half of Cycle Lab’s customers also have a gym membership, they’re also taking the choice to participate in an outdoor sport – one that they can enjoy with their families.

“The barriers to entry are relatively low, and while there are certainly very pricey bicycles out there, you don’t need an expensive bike to get going. There are also innovative finance products to help people take the first step, such as the Multiply and Cycle Lab partnership that rewards members of the wellness programme with up to 20 percent discount, and there are very few adults out there who haven’t ridden a bicycle before,” he says.

“There are a myriad of accessories and upgrades which can make the sport expensive, but once you have your bicycle, your helmet, your cycling shorts and your shoes – and a basic toolkit to repair punctures - you’re on your way.”

Cycling is good for your heart, improving cardiovascular fitness and reducing the risk of coronary heart disease. It is also great for toning and building muscles, particularly in your core and the lower half of your body – and it’s a great option for those who need to avoid high-impact exercise like running.

It’s also a sport that gives you a different view on the world – cycling through a beautiful landscape taking the time to look at the scenery and smell the aromas around you connects you to nature in a way that driving through natural surrounds doesn’t. Furthermore, while long training rides are certainly for the focused adults, there are many environments that are great for family rides, giving them the opportunity to spend quality time together, while getting fit and enjoying the great outdoors.

For those skittish about cycling on the roads, there are numerous cycling parks that offer different opportunities for cyclists of all skills levels. “These parks are driving the sales of mountain bikes, which are the most rapidly growing category at the moment,” says Reardon. “Also, while you can ride a mountain bike on the road, you can’t ride a road bike off road – so mountain bikes are a great entry point for people wanting to take up the sport.”

Multiply and MoreCycle are working together to encourage members of the programme to take up the sport by launching the new Toyota Supercycling Club benefit. The joining fee includes a club cycling shirt, and full Multiply members get 80 percent off their monthly club membership fees which means they will only pay R19 per month for membership to the biggest cycling club in South Africa. Base Multiply members get a 10 percent discount off the R99 normal fee. Members also get 75 Multiply points for every ride they complete through the Toyota Supercycling Club outrides. Momentum 947 cyclists can learn more about this benefit at the Multiply stand at the race expo.

“At Multiply, we believe that cycling makes a significantly positive impact on an individual’s wellness, which is why the brand is so invested in cycling,” says Jaco Oosthuizen, CEO of Multiply. “Momentum has invested significantly in event sponsorships, and many of our teams at Multiply – myself included – are out on the road whenever we have the opportunity, because we have felt the reduction in our stress levels when we cycle.”

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