|Organisers of the Tshwane Classic are intent on making the mass participation road cycling race a family festival when it takes place in Pretoria on November 5.
While the elite riders and adults tackle the road races over distances of 98km and 60km, the younger generation will be fully catered for with a series of routes within the race venue at the Voortrekker Monument.
Tshwane Classic spokesman Mauritz Meyer, who is working with ASG Events on the race, said they were determined that nobody should be excluded from the fun.
“Our message is that we want anyone from the cradle to the most senior riders to participate in this iconic race,” he said. “We are starting at the very beginning; this is even for those who may be only a few days old and still in their prams.”
He added that parents with children up to two years old could enjoy a relaxing stroll over 500 metres.
“There are no winners and every participant will receive a medal and a gift-pack.”
Meyer said the next group, from two to five, would ride over a course of 500m on anything with wheels, “whether it be two or more”.
“It does not have to be a bicycle and this will also be a race for fun, with no winners, but medals and gift-packs will go to all participants.”
Meyer said a big attraction for the children’s races would be the fact that these took place entirely within the grounds of the monument.
“There is no traffic in the grounds so the safety factor will not be an issue. Even the longer race, over 5km for children up to 10 years, will be on the grounds and without traffic concerns.”
He said the children’s races were all about participation and the organisers were promising an “unforgettable experience for everyone”.
Meyer said the whole area in which these races were taking place would be child-friendly with colourful decorations and music appropriate to them.
“We are obviously hoping for no incidents, but to make sure there will be an emergency tent and qualified doctor on duty.
“There will even be a dentist available while the Cancer Association of South Africa will be on hand to treat riders against sunburn.”
To help youngsters experience the real thing, he added that they would have their own finish area.
“They will pass over a mat which, instead of giving them a time, will ring a bell,” said Meyer, adding that marshals would patrol the route to make sure everything went smoothly.
He said the Tshwane municipality would also provide a senior traffic officer “to keep an eye on things”.
“The entry fee is just R50, part of which will be donated to needy children to provide clothing for the winter months,” said Meyer.
A green policy would be adopted and he said riders would be made aware of keeping the areas clear of plastic, glass and paper.
“In more than one way, we want the Tshwane Classic to become known as the race that cares.”
Go to www.tshwaneclassic.co.za for more information.