“I am unbeatable.” The 13-year-old cyclist breaking the barriers of sport
On her bike, Aphiwe Goge is unstoppable. The cyclist speeds through the pump track with coolheaded strength and razor-sharp focus. She’s here to win. Flying past the other cyclists, Goge commands the course. And she’s only 13 years old. Goge was hooked on riding the moment her grandfather taught her to balance on a set of wheels. Taking her talent to a bike park, Goge discovered unprecedented freedom to boost her skills. Now, she’s breaking the barriers to cycling with South Africa’s first black female mountain biking team.
“There weren’t a lot of black females riding professionally,” Goge says. The Velosolutions Izimbali team is changing that. Made up of Goge, Ongezo Mini, Amahle Cane, and Nomfundo Mtshali, the young cyclists are accelerating forward with determination. At the GO! Durban Cycle Academy, the girls have the chance to not just try out cycling, but excel at it. “I get to do what I love every day,” Goge says. At her age, she’s already leaving dust in her wake. Just last year, she placed third in the 20-kilometre Marriott Freedom Race.
Goge hopes to one day become a professional cyclist and pass on what she’s learning. For now, she’s focusing on the everyday demands of school. As the youngest in the group, Goge looks up to her fellow athletes as role models and friends. They’re changing the game, and showing other girls what they’re also capable of. “When I ride my bike I am unbeatable,” Goge says.