That's what friends are for! | SASCOC - SASCOC

That’s what friends are for!

By Mark Etheridge

Colleague Gary Lemke described his encounter with an ‘Angry Man’ in a previous column.

But on Tuesday I encountered the other side of the emotional spectrum in the Athletes’ Village next to looming presence of Celtic Park.

As I was just about to head into the city centre for a catch-up of Games coverage I noticed a group of frustrated and unfamiliar cyclists anxiously huddled around a more familiar face.

The former were members of the Swaziland cycling squad for the Games here, the latter was none other than Mr Fixit of the SA cycling squad, mechanic Ruan Lochner.

Said Swazi team official Mandla Simelane: ‘Soon after we got here we saw that there were problems with the guys’ bikes.

‘Of our eight bikes at least five had problems, mostly with the gears and one with a clip.

‘I just knew we could rely on our neighbours to help us out and I’m just amazed at the camaraderie that exists in cycling with us African neighbours.’

Explained Lochner, who operates out of the Tool-Up cycle shop in Pretoria. ‘They weren’t big problems, but there are so often problems with the bikes when they have to travel. I’ve seen how they can get mishandled at airports etc.’

Maybe not big problems for the helpful Lochner but a giant relief for Simelane and his grateful riders.

That’s why they call the Commonwealth Games the Friendly Games.