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The Chronicles of Pitstop Lagos: Community Innovation Taking Cycling to New Heights in Nigeria

Posted : 12 May 2024

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While cycling may not be a popular sport in Nigeria, there is a community that has taken up the challenge to ensure that cycling takes its pride of place just like it does in other countries. Despite its numerous exciting benefits, cycling has largely remained anonymous and marginalized in Nigeria. Apart from being a beneficial sport, cycling is also one of the most viable means of transportation, almost without cost, very affordable, and accessible with minimal training. Additionally, cycling is environmentally friendly and can help mitigate pollution arising from the use of fossil fuels. In contrast to Nigeria, where cycling is often overlooked, in other countries, it is taken seriously and included in national planning as a means of transportation. However, despite the challenges faced by cycling in Nigeria, a community called Pitstops has risen to the occasion.

Pitstop Community in Lagos is a non-profit organization that advocates for the interests of its members in pursuit of healthy lifestyles through voluntary cycling and wellness enhancement. Established in 2019, Pitstop Community has grown significantly over the years. Notably, elite cyclists within the community made headlines by winning the prestigious Tour de Lunsar held in Sierra Leone consecutively in 2023 and 2024.

In an interview with Africa Sport Network (ASN), Mr. Opeyemi Adegboro shared insights into various aspects of Pitstop Cycling Community:

ASN: Can you tell us how Pitstop Cycling Community came into being?

Mr. Adegboro: Pitstop is a community of cycling enthusiasts who have come together to pursue our passion without hindrance. We simply want to cycle because we enjoy the sport. Unlike a club, we have no registration fees. The community started around 2019 and 2020, initially gathering individuals who rode for fun and health benefits, using cycling as a recreational activity. As we grew in numbers, we decided to include professional cyclists. Our patrons created a platform for elite cyclists to earn a living and develop their talents. We also established marshals responsible for technical aspects such as route mapping and training aspiring professional cyclists privately.


ASN: How many people are currently in Pitstop Lagos?


Mr. Adegboro: It's challenging to ascertain the exact number since Pitstop Lagos is a community rather than a club. Membership is open to all once the conditions, such as owning a bike and gears, are met.

ASN: Could you share the experiences gained at the Tour de Lunsar?

Mr. Adegboro: The Tour de Lunsar provided invaluable exposure for our elite cyclists. Winning the event two years in a row was a significant achievement. We aim to provide grassroots support for cycling in Nigeria, leveraging the support of sponsors like Access Bank, Chraneburg Construction Company, and Ilubinrin Lagos Island. Last year, we named our teams after sponsors and this year, we presented two teams, Team Access Bank and Team Ilubinrin, winning all categories, including the four stages. We also sponsored elite athletes for training camps in Rwanda in 2022 and 2023 to enhance their skills and encourage more participation.


ASN: What were the attractions at the Tour de Lunsar?

Mr. Adegboro: The turnout and support in Sierra Leone were impressive, particularly from the communities hosting the event. The enthusiasm for cycling among the people was evident, highlighting the potential for similar passion in Nigeria with corporate support. Sports, including cycling, are appealing to youths and contribute significantly to the economy. Sierra Leone's example underscores the importance of not neglecting any sport and organizing more competitions to keep elite athletes engaged.


ASN: What are the future plans of Pitstops?

Mr. Adegboro: We plan to expand and hold cycling competitions nationwide to further promote the sport. We aim to emulate internationally recognized events like the Tour de Rwanda. Additionally, we intend to organize tours in different parts of Nigeria to garner more attention for cycling. Past competitions, such as the Criterium held last year, serve as a foundation, and we plan to host more in the future at dates yet to be decided.

The future of cycling in Nigeria appears to be shifting gears. Pitstop Community's passion and innovative approach are paving the way for a more prominent position for the sport. Whether it's through nationwide competitions, local tours, or continued support for elite athletes, Pitstop is determined to leave its mark. As they continue to pedal forward, one thing is certain: Nigerians can expect to see a lot more cyclists taking to the streets, and perhaps, a future generation where cycling isn't just a niche sport, but a celebrated pastime.


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