By Nico-Paul Bester, Software Engineer at Synthesis
Cycling has been one of my greatest passions since the age of 11. Having raced competitively at a young age, this outdoor sport has been woven into the very core of my very being. University meant that this passion became a part-time hobby, but it never went away. This also meant that one of my biggest fears of coming to ‘the city’ is not being able to enjoy this hobby as much as I used to.
To my greatest surprise, I soon discovered through fellow employees of Synthesis (who would soon become amazing friends), that it is more than possible to enjoy cycling while living in the city. In fact, many people do it every day. Synthesis sending a team to the Cape Town Cycle Tour to ride for charity, made it much easier to find people with the same interest in cycling. After asking around a bit, several people offered to show me around and invited me to go cycling with them. The goal of cycling the Cape Town Cycle Tour, helped spur this along. Soon, cycling in the mornings before work became a routine. Exploring a different route each weekend made the time fly by, all of this with constant companions from Synthesis.
On day one we were told that Synthesis has an amazing culture with friendly employees. This has proven absolutely true. Being immediately accepted and invited along, meant that I got to know several people outside of the work environment. It meant spending time with amazing people doing a sport that I love.
After several early-morning and long weekend training rides, the weekend of the cycle tour arrived. Having never raced this event, not even the exhaustion from the hackathon that Synthesis held the Thursday before could dampen my excitement leading up to the Sunday race. Being truly part of the Synthesis team by now, eating and laughing together the day before the race, meant that Sunday arrived before I could even realise it. After only two months of working for Synthesis, I could not be prouder putting on the new Synthesis kit and heading to the start line.
This massive event stood out beyond anything I have experienced before. It is not only the vast number of people pitching up to ride the 109 km, but also the breath-taking backdrop. Table Mountain looming over the start line to the amazing sea view riding up Chapman’s Peak, all added up to one of the most amazing cycle rides possible. Riding along the Cape Town region, I knew that – regardless of my time – it was worth it signing up for this event.
Synthesis sending a team of employees to ride the event for charity, unknowingly to them at the time, meant that I could experience one of the most memorable weekends of my life. The time spent with the other people from Synthesis was as valuable as the actual race. This event and everything associated with competing in it, showed me that Synthesis is more than a place of work or an employer. Synthesis offers a place where you can work hard and learn a lot from one another, all while being surrounded by people who care about one another: people who can be friends inside and outside the walls of Melrose Arch.