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Riding High

Riding High

Story & Pictures by Andrea Abbott & Tyron Mackenzie

Gabi Ngcobo had finished school and was sitting at home in the rural Valley of a Thousand Hills outside Durban wondering what he was going to do with his life. “There were just no jobs.”  

As he pondered his rather bleak future, he noticed a stranger passing by. “I decided to approach him to see if he could give me a job.”

The stranger was Ian Wilson, a MTB trail expert who was building bike trails in the region in preparation for the S.A MTB Championships in 2011.

“Ian offered me a job making the trails,” says Gabi. “From that I started to get interested in riding and after a year, Ian got me onto a bike and taught me to ride.”

Gabi proved to be a talented rider and soon found employment with the Durban Green Corridors (DGC) project as a highly regarded MTB and cultural tour guide at the DGC’s eNanda Adventures site next to the Inanda Dam.

Fast forward to today and Gabi still works for DGC in a guiding capacity, but has added a stellar new role to his CV – head coach at the various bike parks operated by the Durban Cycle Academy, a programme dedicated to developing a cycling culture in the greater Durban region.

“Since the day I met Ian, there have been so many firsts and highlights in my life,” he says. First job; first time on a bike; first bike race;  promotion to head coach in the Academy; and first trip to Cape Town last November  to compete in the Wine to Wales race. “That was my first time on a plane! I never thought that riding my bike would take me this far.”

MTB trail rural development

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