OVER a happy and successful event last week, the Grandads Army launched their fourth annual Rob Burton memorial ride in aid of the local non- profit organisation, the Eyabantwana For the Children Trust.
The annual ride, in remembrance of fellow members and dear friends, Rob Burton and Arthur Salzwedel, will see cyclists take on a 1160km journey to the Western Cape.
“Like all good things, this ride was started over a beer with good friends, soon after Rob passed away.After one too many we decided that riding to Cape Town would be a good idea,” Grandads Army cyclist, Andrew Langtree, said.
Starting out with only seven members, the Grandads Army has now grown to include 30 cyclists who will depart for the four-day ride this weekend.
Facing the semi-arid desert climate, the “Grandads Army” will ride to the Western Cape via the Karoo. Three teams will each ride a total of 100km each day in the form of a relay system in an effort to arrive in Stellenbosch safely.
“One of our main objectives on this journey is for the whole team to cycle and arrive at our destination safely. Despite proving to be quite a tough ride, the route through the Karoo was chosen specifically for this reason,” Langtree said.
Raising more than R750000 for the Eyabantwana for Children Trust over the past three years, the Grandads Army are hoping to raise more than R250000 with this year’s ride.
Eyabantwana for the Children Trust was established by paediatric surgeon and Grandads Army cyclist, Dr Colin Lazarus, in an effort to support the work of the Eastern Cape Paediatric Surgical Services operating at the local Frere and Cecilia Makiwane Hospitals.
The trust serves an estimated five million people from all regions of the Eastern Cape.
Last year, the funds raised from the “Grandads Army” memorial ride went towards the much- needed burn surgical equipment for paediatric patients at both hospitals.
The funds raised through this year’s ride will be used to upgrade the burns ward at Frere Hospital.
“The money raised by the Grandads Army has become a beacon of hope for so many burn victims in the Eastern Cape,” official fuel sponsor for the ride, Caltex Eastern Cape Marketer (CECM) chief executive, Clive Berlyn, said.
Other major sponsors for the ride include, Coca-Cola, Caltex Beacon Bay Fresh Stop and Minuteman Press.
Upon arrival in the Western Cape, the 30 cyclists will also ride along the scenic Clarence Road Drive, along the coast from Hermanus to Gordon’s Bay.Ten members of the Grandads Army will then also take on a further 110km by tackling this year’s Cape Town Cycle Tour.
“Its an honour to be part of something like this and a big thank you goes to all those who have made it possible and continue to support us. We have a team of 44 people riding to the Western Cape and we really could not manage without each and every one of them,” Langtree said.
For more information or to donate to the cause, contact Trystan Viaene at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To follow the excitement of this year’s ride, visit the Rob Burton Memorial Ride Facebook page.