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MBABANE – Excitement keeps buzzing for cyclists as they continue to tick off the events slotted for the 2023 calendar year.

The Safety Awareness Ride set the wheels in motion on February 25 this year as it marked the first cycling event of the 2023 calendar year, which was followed by the Sisekelo MTB Challenge 30 days later. Before marking off June’s excitement, cyclists enjoyed fine riding accompanied by wine after the ride at the Othandweni Ride and Wine, which is located at Siphofaneni Ziva Campsite yesterday. Meanwhile, the Imvelo MTB Challenge will take place on June 3, exactly 20 days away from today, making it the very first series of events for the month of June. The Imvelo MTB Challenge started out as Ngulube MTB Classic, which was the first mountain bike race in Eswatini in the year 2000.

Mlilwane’s annual bike race changed its name to Imvelo MTB Classic in 2004.The entries are capped to ensure that the race maintains a fabulous personality and the lowest possible environmental impact. It is a balancing act for the Imvelo MTB Challenge to remain a largely Eswatini race and simultaneously attracts great competition and active participants from outside the boarders of Eswatini. The Imvelo MTB Challenge aims to become Eswatini’s MTB event of the year by being an efficient, well-organised fun event with the highest ethical standards possible.  It also looks at raising funds for the community and the conservation projects linked to Big Game Parks, showcasing the Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary as a wonderful outdoor destination for families as well as promote and instil greater appreciation for the awareness of conservation.

The MTB Challenge has also increased the recreational value of conservation areas in Eswatini for the people, as well as enhances awareness of Big Game Parks as a contributing organisation to Eswatini’s society. Riders may continue to register as registrations are open for the ride. The Imvelo MTB Challenge will be followed by the much anticipated Border2Border Cycle Tour, which will guarantee a scenic 240km ride from Ngwenya all the way down to Lavumisa.  This is the premier road cycling event according to the attendants of the race. Endurance has to be your strength in order to finish the race, yet alone compete for a podium finish. This will be the third edition of the Border2Border cycle tour, departing from Ngwenya border post, riders will ride 60km to pass Somhlolo Park in Manzini.

They will continue for an additional 50km to pass Sikhuphe and make their way to Lukhula. This will leave the cyclists with 140km to the Lavumisa Border gate. Meanwhile the road ride also influences tourism in the country and benefits from it as well. The ride has a route that will allow the cyclist to take in different parts of the country. It is worth knowing that riders should prepare for the weather.  Ngwenya in the Highveld side of the country is generally cold, unlike the Lowveld where temperatures are much warmer.  Lavumisa boasts with scenic views of nature as well as wildlife. Instead of the networks of roads, buildings and manufacturing plants the road riders are used to seeing, Lavumisa will provide a mountainous landscape covered with indigenous trees, waterfalls and flowing rivers with wildlife that riders will surely enjoy.