One of the major UCI World Tour cycling teams, Team Dimension Data, is rather special. It has sponsors, like most bike teams, but it is also a major supporter of a global charity that donates bicycles to people in rural areas of developing countries. The team’s official name is rather long: Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka.

Long name, clear goals

This means that, while Dimension Data and Deloitte are the team’s main sponsors, the team is equally committed to donating to the Qhubeka charity. Qhubeka is the South African arm of the global charity World Bicycle Relief. Consultancy Deloitte, a major sponsor of the team, has targeted a donation of 5,000 bicycles to the charity in 2018, and has so far funded 3,600 bicycles, since 2016.

The idea behind bicycle relief is simple: it provides a means of transport for people in remote areas, and this can have a profound, positive impact on small communities. More kids go to school regularly, healthcare workers with bikes make more visits, and even dairy farmers benefit by increasing their number of deliveries. This is the incredible impact bicycles can have, which also underlines the Qhubeka slogan: Bicycles Change Lives.

Since it was set up in 2005, World Bicycle Relief has delivered 250,000 specially designed, locally-assembled bicycles to people in need.

What does Qhubeka mean?

Qhubeka is a word in the Nguni group of languages spoken in southern Africa and it means “to progress”, or “to move forward”.

When we watch bike racing, us fans are fully involved in the way the races unfold. The races are being ridden on hyper-modern carbon fibre machines costing thousands. So, once in while, it is good to realise that within the peloton there is another force at work to promote the positive aspects of cycling.

Mark Cavendish

The great sprinter Mark Cavendish, who rides for Team Dimension Data and features in the picture at the top of this story, is a vocal supporter of Qhubeka (those armbands next to his wristwatch are sold in aid of the charity). So as we watch him sprinting towards the winning line at 70kph, perhaps we can also pause and think of the other great aspect of cycling: basic transport for people who don’t have much. Interested? Check out bicycleschangelives.