- Limpopo's Tlhologelo Mashala is the genius mind behind the unique invention of a petrol-powered bicycle
- The 26-year-old told Briefly News about how he always rode a bicycle to school leaving him tired and often late, inspiring his innovative idea
- Although it is not at its mature stage, the bike can run at 25km per hour and can travel up to 80km with only 1.2L of petrol
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He may hail from a small tropical town, but Tlhologelo Mashala from Limpopo in Tzaneen has the heart, mind, and hands of a game-changing innovator.
Speaking to Briefly News the 26-old-young man shared about the invention of a gasoline bicycle that he has been working on since high school in 2014 and has been working to master it despite limited resources and being a full-time student.
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Riding a bicycle to school
Tlhologelo was the typical child who rode his bike to school, giving inspiration to his curious mind.
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“When I was still in high school, I used to ride my bicycle to and from school, which was about 4.5km away from home one way. I would often get to school late and exhausted. I even missed morning classes at times.
It was these hard experiences that gave birth to his remarkable idea.
“That was the inspiration behind the bicycle invention. I was in Grade 11 at the time and participated in a school’s project which got learners to plan and create exciting inventions,” he shared.
So how does it work?
Tlhologelo explained that when riding his invention, the biker simply sits on the bike, turns it on, and rides it as you would a scooter.
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“You also have the option to switch off its engine, put it into neutral, and pedal the bicycle as normal. It's an innovative yet simple bicycle to gasoline scooter that can reach a speed of 25km per hour and can travel up to 80km with only 1.2L of petrol. It is not at a mature stage since I'm still lacking resources,” shared the young man who bought most of his equipment from a Chinese online retailer.
Using the bike for his business
The full-time computer skills student also started up his own business last year which involved him creating an app called Doorstep Food, available on the Google Play store. It works as a multi-vendor delivery service for customers when purchasing goods from local retailers in his community.
He currently runs the business on his own as he has one bike. He shared that he has put a hold on it, but hopes to resume business at the beginning of May - resources allowing.
Tlhologelo told Briefly News that his main challenges draw from a lack of finances. He hopes to continue improving the design of his gasoline bicycle - from making it more comfortable to installing more durable tyres.
He also hopes to build more bicycles in order to expand his business and create job opportunities for youth in Tzaneen.
Persistent petrol prices and being a full-time student also give him added pressure.
“If I could secure a funder or sponsor I could make several key improvements to my invention and even build more bikes in order to run my business more efficiently and hire people.”
Tlhologelo admitted that many people around him didn’t really understand his vision or product.
“It took a while for my local community to recognise and understand what I was doing. I found that I got more support and encouragement from people on social media.
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“I think it was only after I got exposure from online platforms that people around me actually recognised me and what I was trying to do,” he shared.
A personal achievement
Despite the upheavals and setbacks, Tlhologelo is doing very well for himself and has materialised what many could only dream of.
“I’ve been working on this project for 5 years now and I’d say it is a personal achievement. I even failed a grade in high school because I was so fixated on building this bike. My parents had to take it away from me so that I could focus on my studies.”
Advice for young innovators
The visionary looks forward to embarking on research into electricity-powered technology. He advises young people to start with what they have and not succumb to negative feedback.
“A lot of people get discouraged to follow through with their dreams because they don’t have certain things or can’t afford certain equipment.
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“Sometimes we kill our dreams by sharing them with small-minded people. I used to tell my teachers and classmates about my bike but because the vision was mine and not theirs, they couldn’t comprehend what I was onto. Don’t be easily discouraged when people don’t understand your vision,” said a passionate Tlhologelo.
Meet Rachuene Kgalema, the talented 19-Year-old inventor from Limpopo
In a separate story, Briefly News reported that Rachuene Kgalema is the 19-year-old changing the game in the field of science. The self-proclaimed 'science specialist' has just invented the machine to disinfect cash.
Briefly News recently sat down with the talented brainiac. Kgalema opened up about his upbringing in Limpopo as well as shared all the hopes and dreams he still has for his work in science.
The 19-year-old University of Limpopo student said he loves science because he finds it easy to understand visualise.
"One day I asked myself this question; “If Thomas Edison managed to invent the incandescent light bulb, then what is stopping me to invent something like that too?
"Then my answer was nothing is stopping you to invent, because Thomas Edison was also a normal human being just like myself, So from that day I started believing that even myself from rural areas can also invent a prestigious creation that will benefit the entire world positively."
Source: Briefly News