Named after the famous Brazilian fooballer, Roberto Carlos, cyclist, Robby Rodrigues, has done his namesake justice.
Being an avid footballer, he started out playing soccer for the Cape Town club, Vasco da Gama. Excelling in the sport, the young Robby played with his cousins at the club with the hope of becoming a professional footballer.
As he claimed, being Portuguese, he was practically raised with a football by his side.
So how did Robby go from wanting to be a professional footballer to becoming a professional cyclist you may ask?
“I was forced into cycling,” Robby says. “While playing soccer I tore my ligaments in my right knee,” he continued. This happened when he was 24 years of age.
Robby was given the choice of either swimming or cycling as a form of rehabilitation. He jokingly explained that he swims like a rock, so cycling seemed to be the only other alternative left.
“I never looked back, I enjoyed it from the start,” he said.
Being a determined fellow with a passion for sport, Robby’s professionalism wasn’t curtailed to just cycling and soccer.
His drive to excel blossomed as early as Standard 6 (Grade 8) when he became a SA Skateboard champ in 1989.
In his last year of serving in the military, Robby started lifting weights and rather enjoyed it. This encouraged him to do body building, which he pursued for 15 years at a WP level. But pressure grew to use steroids, which he was not prepared to do.
“I work too hard to cheat; I would rather be beaten fair and square,” Robby exclaimed.
These days Robby has maintained his muscle strength but dropped the body weight, becoming more athletic. And even though he doesn’t gym, he does cross country to keep his body in shape for cycling.
Let’s not forget about his rigorous workout schedule. Robby begins his cycling training at 07:00 in the morning during winter and 05:30 during the summer, three hours before work. His only exceptions are darkness, rain and when he is sick, otherwise he trains seven days a week.
Along with his intense training comes a strict diet. He maintains that he does not eat fat, bread or drink fizzy drinks. His choices are fish, chicken, vegetables and salad.
When he is not cycling, he is reclining by watching movies, soccer or working at Cycle Teknix.
With such discipline, it’s no wonder he is the ambassador for Siverback and has his SA colours in cycling.
It seems like Robby or Robrider, as he is known in the cycling fraternity shows no sign of slowing down as he sees Carla, his 12-year-old daughter, as his inspiration.