High-profile politicians were there, sporting personalities, writers and entrepreneurs too, joined by regular riding enthusiasts from around the world. They numbered 3 500, many kitted out in Ciovita indoor cycling gear. Pedalling to fight hunger, they were on their bikes for at least 67 minutes each, to honour the legacy of democratic South Africa’s first president, Nelson Mandela.
South African participants included national Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture, Nathi Mthethwa; author and entrepreneur, Letshego Zulu; professional rugby player, Tendai Mtawarira and CEO of the Nelson Mandela Foundation, Sello Hatang.
The occasion was Zwift’s Ride4Hope, a virtual ride to raise awareness and funds for the Nelson Mandela Foundation’s #Each1Feed1 project that collects and distributes food for the food-insecure. Held 18 July, on what would have been Madiba’s birthday, the ride drew cycling enthusiasts from many parts of the world in a bid to combat the escalating hunger that’s been precipitated by the pandemic.
It has become customary for members of the public in South Africa, as well as further afield to give 67 minutes of their time for a social cause on Nelson Mandela Day to mark the 67 years he dedicated to fighting for human rights and social justice in South Africa.
Ciovita, which takes its name from a mix of Italian and Latin, and means life in motion, is an international cycling kit company headquartered in Cape Town. CEO Andrew Gold says: “It’s been almost eight years since Madiba died but it is incumbent on us all to keep his humanist and humanitarian values alive. For Ciovita, life in motion means more than physical activity. It means responding to movements and changes in the world, and that includes the impact wrought by the pandemic. We are immensely proud to have been a part of this important initiative that could attract so many riders.”
Gold says that much of the kit worn by the participants has been designed specifically for indoor training and virtual racing. “The gear includes indoor base-layers, as well as indoor bib shorts, that are the first in the world of their kind. So, for us it was also a great opportunity to get rider feedback, as we continue to innovate.”
He adds that the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) identified online training as the new top trend in fitness for 2021. “It’s totally understandable given the times. Available 24/7 via live-streaming or pre-recording, online training gives people the flexibility they need and want in these volatile and uncertain times. We know South Africans and many others have embraced working out this way too. That’s why we have created gear that works in this context. It’s lightweight, breathable, gives good support, aids temperature control and ease of movement.”
Zwift is a leading digital app within the cycling fraternity and has 2,5 million uses worldwide with 30 000 users on the platform at any given time.