Qhubeka: moving Africa forward on two wheels

The team training in South Africa for their first Pro Continental season in Europe

However you translate Qhubeka—to progress, to carry on, to move forward—the Nguni verb perfectly suits Team MTN-Qhubeka, which is moving the sport of cycling forward as Africa's first UCI-registered Pro Continental team, and moving Africa forward by providing bicycles to kids in transportation-deprived rural communities.

Until recently, Africa wasn't a major player on the world cycling stage. In fact, it wasn't a player at all. No African team had ever been eligible to compete in the sport's top-tier races, the UCI Pro Continentals. Not until November 2012, that is, when Team MTN-Qhubeka of South Africa became Africa's first UCI-registered Pro Continental team.

As befits its name, Qhubeka has progressive goals. The jump from Pro African to Pro Continental is a huge one, so over the past five years the team has made the difficult shift from a typical Pro African training regimen to the more rigorous training load of top European teams. It's paid off: 2013 marks Qhubeka's entry into elite European races, and the team is aiming for a coveted berth in the Tour de France by 2015.

Qhubeka's goals extend beyond the peloton. The team is a force for social change, partnering with World Bicycle Relief to deliver bicycles to rural African communities, where children typically have to walk long distances to access education, healthcare, and shops.

A bike can cut a student's commute time by 75%, and can increase a person's carrying capacity fivefold. Qhubeka's efforts have provided tens of thousands of African kids with this life-changing advantage, and the team's rising profile is helping to bring awareness to the dire lack of transport in rural Africa.

Trek is proud to sponsor this inspiring team as they take their rightful place among the ranks of the world's best cyclists. Qhubeka: carry on!

We're inspired by the great athletes who ride Trek bikes, from world champions to weekend warriors. They remind us to dream big, and motivate us to do our best.

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Finally, an African UCI Pro Continental cycling team! MTN-Qhubeka is helping advance both a sport and a continent.

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