The Best 4xCyclistsxFar have done what they set out to do, and completed the Pick ‘n Pay 94.7 Cycle Challenge to raise some much needed money for the Endangered Wildlife Trust’s Carnivore Conservation Group.
The four motoring journalists, Jesse Adams of The Star Motoring, Stuart Grant of Classic & Performance Car Africa, Stephen Smith of Leisure Wheels and Stuart Williams of Automobil/Wheels, hatched the plan a few months ago and were lucky enough to receive support from Land Rover and Linden Cycles.
Land Rover generously agreed to donate R30 000 to the EWT if the cyclists finished, as well as supplying kit for the race. Linden Cycles were kind enough to lend the group Raleigh bicycles for training and the race, and also organised helmets and shoes to get the project rolling.
The ironically-named Best 4xCyclistsxFar then spent the next three months training with diligence not normally associated with these individuals, a sure sign of how motivating a good cause can be.
A nervous but excited team gathered on race day, prepared to ride almost twice as far as they had ever ridden before. Energy gels were shared out, tactics discussed, and then it was time to start pedalling.
Not everything went according to plan though “We were prepared and keen, but unfortunately fate conspired against us, and an out of control cyclist crashed into Stuart Grant while he was standing at a water point. His back was injured and while he carried on for another 40km, this effectively split our team in two. Stuart eventually retired after 60km, while the rest of us went on to finish in varying states of disrepair,” says Smith.
“We thoroughly enjoyed the race,” says Williams, “although the long, hot and steep Krugersdorp highway took its toll. We kept our focus on the cheque heading to the EWT, and made it through to the finish, grateful to get our rear ends out of the saddle. An epic adventure for a novice with unique sounds and sights along the way. Let’s hope our efforts help the Wild Dogs move away from the brink of extinction.”
The good news is that the race is over, and it was completed successfully. Now we can safely say that it’s going to the dogs (the money, that is), and set our sights on future fund-raising projects.
The team has already set its sights on two new fund-raising projects for next year including the Bike4Beasts Challenge as well as an epic adventure bringing cycle safety to motorists’ attention. “I for one can’t wait to get back in the saddle, and to do my bit for another worthwhile cause,” says Grant. “We’d like to thank Land Rover South Africa and Linden Cycles for their support and for helping us to make a difference”.
The total wild dog population in Africa is between 3000 – 5000 individuals
The Wild Dog is South Africa’s most endangered large carnivore
Wild Dogs are considered to be extinct in 23 countries in Africa
Wild Dogs are particularly susceptible to snares and road kills
In natural areas the lion is the Wild Dog’s main enemy and competitor
Wild Dogs use up twice as much energy as a working border collie