The Herald Cycle Tour, hosted by Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality, will continue its drive to make a difference in the lives of others through next year’s event.
The 36th edition of the popular Eastern Cape race, which includes mountain bike and road options, will take place at the Addo Polo Club on February 13 and in Gqeberha on February 19 and 20.
While the cycle tour has a history of giving back to the community, it is constantly finding new ways to support charity organisations.
That is why the organisers have included a new beneficiary in the Uthando Cycle Youth Academy as well as a project aimed at improving the safety of commuters who use bicycles.
The Reach for a Dream Foundation, involved since 2009, and Smile Foundation are other organisations to benefit financially from the event.
Through the Helmet Heroes campaign the organisers are raising funds to purchase new helmets while also collecting pre-loved ones. Their aim is to donate 100 helmets to commuters in the Walmer township, situated on the route, as part of the race’s vision to promote a safer cycling environment.
Meanwhile, members of the Uthando Cycle Youth Academy, a non-profit organisation founded by Luthando Fatyi in New Brighton and Algoa Park, are excited at the prospect of taking part in the events.
“This development means so much for us,” said Fatyi, who set up the academy to try to offer children in the townships a healthy exercise option.
“For some it will be their first big event they have ever raced or attended, and we can’t wait for the opportunity to be part of this festival of cycling.
“My message to the cyclists is never give up until you have crossed the finish line, while I would also encourage businesses in the Eastern Cape to support our cause.”
He added that the academy provided cycling, running and recreational activities to youth to get them off the streets and to try to prevent substance abuse and crime.
“Also, we want to instil in them the ability to dream and to achieve their goals.”
Fatyi said the children in the townships would love to start cycling but very few had the means.
“We subscribe to the saying ‘it takes a village to raise a child’ and naturally we would love more support for the academy.
“The cycle tour is an ideal opportunity to tell the public more about the academy and to expose the children to the benefits of healthy exercise.”
Gqeberha branch manager Michelle van Huysteen said the Reach for a Dream Foundation’s journey with the Herald Cycle Tour was paved with special memories and beautiful dreams fulfilled through its support.
“Reach for a Dream’s core purpose is to fulfil the dreams of children of any race, colour and creed between the ages of three and 18 faced with a life-threatening illness,” she said.
“The foundation has been doing so all around the country for 33 years and with our theme for 2022 – journey of hope – we cannot wait to join hands with all the role-players to make a difference in the lives of these brave children.”
She said the link with the Herald tour had allowed them to fulfil 11 “beautiful dreams” following last year’s event.
“The foundation’s aim is to inspire every child to believe in the power of dreams and take them on a journey of hope that inspires, encourages and shows care, acceptance and kindness.”
Van Huysteen added that they were proud to be part of the cycling classic.
“We do not merely view it, its partners and cyclists as donors of dreams; it feels like family.
“We are honoured that our brand is associated with one of the most recognisable sporting events in the Eastern Cape and love that there is a strong focus on the family.”
The Smile Foundation has been part of the Herald Cycle Tour for two years, hosting its annual cyclethon as part of the activities in the race village in 2020.
This was used to create awareness and raise funds for the organisation, according to Eastern Cape hospital coordinator Tanya Jackson.
She added that cyclists had the opportunity to contribute by donating when they entered online or by participating in the Smile Foundation Cyclethon.
“All funds raised go towards plastic and reconstructive surgery for children, fitting in with the foundation’s mission of transforming the lives of children with facial anomalies,” said Jackson.
“It is a non-profit organisation that brings people together for the purpose of providing expert surgical intervention.”
Visit www.heraldcycletour.co.za to enter before midnight on February 6.