By Mourice Sereta
Garden City Business Park and new housing developer Mi Vida, joined forces on sunday to a new cycling event in Nairobi dubbed, The Garden City Criterium, designed to bring together both elite and recreational cyclists and encourage more Nairobians to take up the popular sport as part of a healthy lifestyle.
Speaking during the event, Chris Coulson, Garden City Managing Director, and Mi Vida CEO said that this race aims to grow the riding adventure in Nairobi.
“This has been our first event to bring together cycling enthusiasts and showcase Nairobi’s growing cycling community. As part of our mixed use offering at Garden City, we particularly wanted to work with Team VeloNos to show that cycling can be a fun daily activity for all the family, and to start to develop a cycling culture here at Garden City. But the main thing is we want everyone to enjoy themselves and if they get fitter in the process, then even better!”
The event started with a kid’s fun lap, followed by races across 6 categories for both recreational and elite cyclists throughout the morning. The winners of the men’s and women’s categories for both recreational and elite races won cash prizes totalling KES 200,000.
The elite category, designed to test both stamina and speed, proved to be extremely competitive. The cyclists circled the 1.9 km circuit (the approximate distance around Garden City Mall, Residences, Business Park and grounds) for 30 minutes, plus an extra two laps in order to determine the winner.
The overall winner of the women’s elite race was Nancy Akinyi from Team Frankies, Charles Kagimu from Kenyan Riders Bike Aid won the men’s elite category 1, and the kid’s fun lap was won by 12 year old Shalom Kimeu. The youngest competitor was 2 year old Sankara.
Two members of Team VeloNos represented Kenya at the Multisport World Championship in Spain earlier this year.
“Cycling as a sport and commuter cycling in particular is something we have seen is on the increase in Nairobi, but it has also become more popular as a recreational activity over the last few years. We are very grateful to Garden City Business Park and Mi Vida for organising this event to encourage more people to take up the sport, and we hope to have the Garden City Criterium as an annual fixture on the Nairobi cycling calendar,” said Charles Mbugua, Team VeloNos co-founder and Captain.
However, despite the success of the race, some lapses occurred but were quickly dealt with amicably due to good organization. For instance, a lady racer lost control and hit a wall at the residences but was saved by prompt response from the safety personnel at the venue.
Traffic control was also a challenge as motorists were allowed to use the racing venue, a lapse that the organizers acknowledged and said will be looked into going to the future.