The real bike behind Milan-San Remo winning MTN-Qhubeka
If you’re expecting to see a sleek Trek Seven Series Madone, you’ll just have to wait. The real bike behind the Milan-Sanremo winning team MTN-Qhubeka, is a heavy duty, pannier-ready and nigh-on indestructible workhorse weighing 22kg.
The bikes the South African charity Qhubeka distribute to deserving youngsters who have served their community or helped protect the environment, are built to last for up to 10 years in tough conditions where access to mechanics is limited.
Since it launched in 2004, Qhubeka, which means ‘to move forward’ in a number of Southern African languages, has distributed more than 40,000 bikes to deserving recipients all over the continent.
To make the steel single speed with a kick-back brake as utilitarian as possible, it is fitted with pannier racks and has a carrying capacity of 300kg.
It does have a sporty side – the bike has been spotted in township criteriums and duathlons.
After MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung’s unexpected Milan-San Remo success, delivered by resurgent German, Gerald Ciolek, one of the Qhubeka bikes found its way to the UCI’s Aigle headquarters, where President Pat McQuaid took delivery. He said: “This magnificent symbol will have pride of place at the UCI headquarters, and remind us of the benefits of cycling.”
The bike has also had a pro review: Felice Gimondi, a Tour de France champion and three-time Giro d’Italia winner in the 1960s and 70s had a go on one on the eve on Milan-San Remo. His verdict? “It’s a robust and performance bike, like the ones they used to make in my day,” he joked.