Riding Joburg for a cause


Hundreds of riders sign up to Ride for a Purpose at the Discovery 947 Ride Joburg. Take a look at some of the charities who are taking part this year once again, what it means for them and what their goals are.

Every year, thousands of people sign up for the 947 Ride Joburg in an effort to conquer the 94.7 kilometres of gruelling undulating road. Of these riders, hundreds add extra impetus to their efforts by riding for a charity. There are even those brave individuals who do a double loop.

Making dreams come true

Reach for a Dream, one of South Africa’s longest-running charities, aim to make the dreams of children facing life-threatening illnesses come true and was last year’s largest charity team, gathering a field of 387 riders.

The Discovery 947 Ride Joburg is a highlight in the charity’s fund-raising calendar and adds considerably to its resources. The charity raised over R1 million from the race in 2018, which it used to make the dreams of children come true as well as expanding ongoing projects such as Camp Sunshine, Queen for a Day, Captain Courage, Show You Care Send a Bear and the Jabulani Kingdom Hospital entertainers.

This year, award-winning proudly South African band Mi Casa joins the Dream Riders team in support of the charity.

Speaking about their involvement, the band said:
“We’re so excited about this race. Mi Casa took up riding because it’s Dr Duda’s favourite type of exercise and we wanted to do something together that would keep us bonded outside of the studio and on stage. Mi Casa has been part of Reach for a Dream for many years and we really value the work that they do. They give hope to kids where hope is needed. We will continue to support them and their dreamers, as our number one charity commitment, because of how much the work they do touches our hearts. Our only fear is that we haven’t trained enough throughout winter, but spring means we’re getting back to early morning rides at the Cradle!”

To be a cow

Attracting endearing attention along the route is charity group The Cows. Easily identified by their cow-themed riding kit. The Cows raise money for CHOC (Childhood Cancer Foundation South Africa) in appreciation of the support given to the Bain family when losing 20-month old Jessica Bain to Neuroblastoma Stage 4 in 2008.

Parents Kerrin and Grant Bain decided to cycle the 947 challenge that same year, joined by a group of six other enthusiastic cyclists in cow suits because that was the only suit they could get six of. Cows raise money by cycling, running, swimming or doing just about anything to show support. Perhaps befitting the “mad cow” description, The Cows had one of the largest double loop teams in 2018 with over 60 riders, known collectively as the Apocalypse Cows. Their objective was to ride the first lap in sub-three hours and to catch The Cows ice-cream bikes on the second lap, getting them to the finish, assisting fellow riders and having fun.

Robbie Riccardi, one of the first eight riders to start The Cows and fearless leader of the Apocalypse Cows explains why the team rides for CHOC.

"We ride for The CHOC Cows because it's one of the few times of the year that we get to feel like real-life superheroes. It is a tough race and you have to dig deep. And hopefully someone at home will be inspired and dig deep into their pockets to donate to CHOC who do great work helping kids with cancer. But mainly we ride so the kids getting treatment can see us in our black and white Cow kit and it gives them hope that they have a fighting team behind them, and that - by grit and tenacity - they too can overcome all their obstacles and be superheroes," he says.

In 2018, The Cows and Apocalypse Cows raised over R1.7 million for CHOC. So far this year, the charity has 51 riders signed up for the double loop with nine female riders, its highest number yet. The Cows main riders will be around 100 strong with five ice-cream bikes.

Winning to mobilise Africa

Qhubeka Charity, which rides to raise funds to change the lives of people in Africa through bicycles, had 197 riders in 2018, which included 30 double loop riders. Qhubeka is the charity supported by the first African cycling team to ride the Tour de France and Discovery Vitality ambassadors, Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka.

Collectively, the charity riders raised R392,237 in net funding last year. The fastest Qhubeka rider, Brent Ward, finished in a time of 2h39 and 56 seconds. This year, the riders look forward to taking on the challenge of the Discovery 947 Ride Joburg again.

The Qhubeka charity gives people access to bicycles through their programmes, improving their access to schools, clinics and jobs. Since its start in 2005, it has distributed over 90 000 bicycles to communities across South Africa.

Whatever moves you, be inspired to move more for a charity personal to you at the Discovery 947 Ride Joburg on Sunday 17 November. www.947ridejoburg.co.za

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