Seventeen cyclists who endured a gruelling nine days on the road for the 1965 Ride and backed by three support crew, received a hero’s welcome when they peddled into Queen’s College in Queenstown on Thursday.
Emotions ran high as the cyclists were met by scores of learners, teachers and parents from the six surrounding schools in the area.
The students encircled the school and cheered the cyclists on as they were led into the school by the Queen’s College brass band.
The 1965 Ride culminated in Queenstown after the cyclists left Heidelberg, Gauteng on 8 April and covered a distance spanning some 850 kilometres in nine days.
The goal of the event is to raise funds for disadvantaged learners, who would otherwise not have been able to afford a quality education.
Though mentally and physically exhausted, the cyclists rolled into Queenstown with huge smiles on their faces, beaming with a sense of accomplishment and camaraderie.
The 68 year old Tony Frost, initiator of the ride, described it as a tremendous success.
“The people who participated are not all from Queenstown, but from other cities around the country.”
“We were a group of people bound by a deep belief that education is what our country needs to grow positively and to move forward.”
Frost said although the cyclists have until June to complete their fundraising, they hope to reach the R1 million mark this year. Six beneficiaries are already benefitting from the fundraiser.
The ride has been undertaken each year since 2011 by a group of passionate cyclists, each tasked to raise a minimum of R30 000 to participate.
Proceeds from the 1965 Ride go directly to a bursary fund that supports learners at six schools in the Queenstown area including Queenstown Girls’ High School, Hangklip Hoërskool, Queen’s College Senior and Junior Schools, Balmoral Girls’ Junior School and Hangklip Laerskool.
Tim Hendon, Chevrolet brand manager, said Chevrolet put their weight behind the event because Chevrolet is committed to nation-building and educating the youth.
He commended the cyclists for their commitment towards changing the face of education in the country.
Hendon added that the Chevrolet Ute Force is a project that values children, their welfare, their education, their communities, and therefore supporting a project like the 1965Ride is in line with their objectives of improving education and circumstances of less fortunate communities.
To date the 1965 Ride has secured over R2, 500 000, which has been raised through the fund-raising efforts of the cyclists.
The 1965 Ride began in 2011 with five cyclists and grew to 22 cyclists in 2014. Chevrolet has supported the ride for the third year in a row.
Two Chevrolet Utility bakkies followed the riders on the journey from Johannesburg to Queenstown, staying with the riders every step of the way. Chevrolet also made a sizable contribution towards the bursary fund.