A while ago Marco Joubert was thinking about he possibility of becoming an ambassador for Imveli Cycling Academy.  After explaining what his vision was to Lukholo Badi who is running the Academy they both agreed that it was a good idea. The next step was for Marco to visit the Academy and first hand experience what it was all about.

Imveli Cycling Academy is a prominent force in youth cycling in the Eastern Cape. It was founded in Port Elizabeth in 2014 and has been steadily on the rise since then.

Imveli Cycling Academy is a Non-Profit registered organisation with Public Benefit Organisation (PBO) for youth development through sport and education. It endeavors to broaden scope and attract athletes within historical disadvantaged areas with an intention to integrate, inspire and unite sports.

Imveli Cycling Academy – How it started

Imveli is quite often in the media and there are a number of articles that tells the story. You can read some more about the history in this article from Herald Live:

“Social gathering grows into a cycling academy in two year” 

Becoming an Imveli ambassador

Marco Joubert is still a young (20 year) rider who is busy establishing himself in the South African Professional Mountain bike setup. He does however have a lot of experience and did his first Cape Epic as part of Kargo Pro MTB Team at age 18. During the week, with the launch of Cape Epic 2018 news got out that Marco will once again be on the start line for Cape Epic 2018!

It is a good initiative from his side to connect with the Academy. Being asked on how he decided to get involved:

“I did a morning bunch ride on my previous visit to PE. Quite a few of the Imveli riders were in the bunch. I was impressed by the disciplined way they were riding in the bunch.  During the ride up Maitlands climb there was this young guy (probably 13) from Imveli sticking with us while I was putting out some pretty big watts!

I want to try and get word out about these young riders and reasoned if I become an ambassador for Imveli I could help create awareness for the Cycling Academy.  We chatted to Lukholo Badi about it and shared some ideas and it was done… “

At Imveli Cycling Academy house, giving a short talk to the young riders.

The man behind Imveli Cycling Academy

The man behind it all is Lukholo Badi. Many people impress with talk and plans for the future…. Then later they find it difficult to produce and eventually disappear  off the scene.

Listening to the talk from Lukholo Badi it was all about what they have already done . Yes, also on how they are going to move forward but realistic plans with small steps focusing on keeping momentum all the time.  It is clear they understand their own shortcomings and needs.

Lukholo Badi giving some background in the Academy and pointing out future goals.

The great thing about the academy is that there is progression all the time.  Lukholo is pro-active and always on the search for new opportunities and better facilities.

The Academy and its riders

In 2015 there were 10 riders and has grown to a group of over 150 with a selection of top riders getting podiums at each event they attend.

The aim of the academy – Lukholo Badi

The aim of the academy was to give children from disadvantaged backgrounds the opportunity to compete on an international platform.

This year the young riders really impressed with their performances and basically dominated youth cycling in the Eastern Cape. Recently they had a string of podiums in major events in both East London and Port Elizabeth.

  • Daily Dispatch Cycle Tour – East London: A total of nine top three finishes in the different age categories.  Unfortunately gear ratio restriction issues caused them to miss out on getting the podium positions: Full results
  • Makro/Bestmed Cycle Tour – Port Elizabeth: A total of eight podium finishes in the different age categories:  Full results

Future stars

The structured and disciplined manner in which Imveli Cycling Academy operates makes us believe there is much more to come from these young riders! The growth has been amazing the last year and Lukholo Badi has been really good at keeping the momentum going.

Some of the keen young riders with strongman Luthanto Meintjies on the left of Marco.

It was an enlightening experience to visit Imveli with Marco. I have huge respect for what has been achieved by these guys! Despite many challenges in their day to day lives they are getting extraordinary results by being determined.

These young guys need all the support they can get. I have no doubt that a top SA rider will come from their ranks in the near future.

Already Luthando Meintjies is showing a whole lot of talent: “Academy star has all the makings of a saddle king”

Supporting Imveli Cycling Academy


Lukholo showing Marco where they store and fix the bikes.

“Imveli is a humble setup but they make it work extremely well!”

One of the two rooms with beds where the young riders sleep the night before a race or sometimes over the weekends before a long training ride.


If you feel like contributing towards the development of these young future stars in cycling contact Lukholo Badi:  Email: blukholo@gmail.com  Cell: 0826959456

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