23 Apr 2020 From the Chairman’s Peloton
For many of us, these current times are exceptionally frustrating (as well as stressful). I’m sure there are many of you worrying, justifiably so, about how your job and personal income is going to be affected by Coronavirus. Different governments respond in different ways and – despite our personal and varying opinions on the matter – South Africa has had to abide by strict lock-down measures. By in large, the cycling community has heeded this call to be compliant and for that, you must be commended. Those empty roads are sometimes very tempting…. and many of us are chomping at the bit to get out there once again. We want to feel the rush of air around us as we celebrate our health and the natural beauty of our country. Hopefully, in just a short while these sensations will once again be possible.
But whilst a return to that landscape is going to be a reality for most of us, the economy has taken a real beating during this lockdown period. The lingering legacy of the rigid regulations will no doubt have a massive impact on the eventing industry. Right now we can only guess at how long mass-gathering events are going to be off-limits. These rules will definitely impact on the PPA events and will have a significant trickle-down effect on all the service providers to the events business. Whether we agree or not, it is going to be increasingly difficult to be able to get permits to host large-scale events. Right now we don’t know the timelines, but our Government has clearly taken the most conservative route when it comes to preventative measures so we can only assume that mass-gatherings will not be permitted for the rest of the year (that’s just a guess for now!).
At PPA we are constantly evaluating the information as it comes in and we are adjusting dates in the calendar – fully aware that everyone else will also be trying to cram 12 month’s worth of events into half (or less) the time than that. And those are the optimists. The Cape Town Cycle Tour of 2020 was literally the World’s Last Largest Cycle Race on the calendar. We are now keeping events such as the Cycle Lab Maluti Double 90; the Elgin Tiletoria MTB races; PPA One Tonner; and the Double Century on tenterhooks as we wait for more permissions and regulation relaxations to be promulgated.
The impact on the economy is well-known and articulated in just about every current news article you read – the reality for us is that fewer companies are going to be in a position to sponsor events, and fewer cyclists are going to have the disposable income to enter these events. We are going to become far more selective in what events we enter. These factors pose further risks to the events portfolio of PPA.
We need to accept the realities of the current situation but have the strength to live in hope and realise that this too will all pass. It will certainly change the landscape for all of us in one way or the other. PPA will also need to adapt to this new environment because there is no longer such a thing as “business as usual”. All I know is that PPA is here to represent the interests of cyclists and we will continue to do so. Stay strong during this time. Cycling is a healthy past-time and it’s proven beyond doubt that regular exercise helps improve your immune system – and that’s all we really have right now to combat this virus. So do what you must to keep the pedals turning over (as long as it’s legal) and I hope to see you all – hopefully soon – out on the roads or trails. Let’s support each other through and after this as well. We all need to stand together to get through the damage that this virus is causing in the World and in South Africa.