To celebrate 40 years of the Cape Town Cycle Tour, we will be profiling some of the riders the event attracts – from the pros to the average Joes – and sharing their stories.
Which was your most memorable? Post the answer on Facebook!
Two VIPs share their most memorable rides
We all have that one ride which stands out from the rest for whatever reason. Neil Bramwell has ridden all 39 Cape Town Cycle Tours and Olga Basson is the lady with the most behind her name at 34. We quizzed them as to which was their most memorable, and why…
Looking back through my file of Cycle Tour memories, my certificate from 1989 must be my most memorable and proudest. My time for that ride was 2 hours, 50 minutes and 38 seconds. I was 48 years old at the time and was very keen on road riding. The conditions on the day were perfect – no wind, and cool temperatures. For a good part of the ride I found myself riding with some of the big names in cycle racing. Ertjies Bezuidenhout was close behind me for a while but pulled away from me on Chapman’s Peak. I was very happy with my time and my position of 100th overall. My best ride of all! – Neil Bramwell
I guess my most memorable were the years where we had the storm (1987), the heat – where they stopped the race (2002), and the wind (2009), but in terms of my most memorable in a positive light, it has to be 2015, when the race was shortened due to the fire. It was a fantastic ride, the atmosphere was amazing and it felt great riding for a cause. I also got a medal for being first in my age-group! – Olga Basson
My Incredible Journey by Polly Sacker
Most people have some sort of mid-life crisis, … not me! I sailed through the roaring 40’s, happy as a lark. But then I realised I was on the road to the T-junction of retirement, and was in denial that somehow I had found myself in the mid-50’s, and it was at this point that I had MY crisis.
“Come cycling!” my friend Nikki said! “With what?” I replied. “With whatever you have!” was the rather unhelpful answer I got.
So it was early one cold, crisp winter’s morning that I found myself conspicuously dressed in gym tights, a baggy T- shirt, sunnies, and 22kg of excess weight, on my Cash Crusader mountain bike. I felt as large as a tractor amongst the sleek, carbon-fibre frames of seasoned cyclists, each rider anonymous behind reflective lenses and pulled-up-over-the-nose buffs…. bandits on wheels.
“Three rides is all it takes until you are hooked,” bellowed Nikki in a tally-ho sort of voice. So off I went, until three weeks became four, and four became six, and now, seven months later, I am a bandit too!
I have to confess I am a total 100% cyclaholic.
My mountain bike has now morphed into a road bike and I have morphed into a sleeker sport’s model – 18kg down to date.
I made the transition from gym tights to cycling shorts; ‘safe’ baggy T-shirts to figure-hugging cycling tops; and from takkies to cleats – and THAT’S when my troubles began! With three falls in one ride and a total of five falls in two rides, my dignity, and both hips were bruised, my pride was shattered and my husband hysterical, but NOTHING was going to get me down! I am proud to say progress has been made – I have now done two rides and remained upright, clamped into my cleats, eating up the kays.
I am 55yrs old with a zest and passion for life that would challenge any 25yr old.
My husband is a seasoned Cape Town Cycle Tour participant – he will be doing his 30th event next year. As too will our son Daniel, aged 13 – his first ever! Not wanting to be left out, I have entered too, blissfully ignorant of the challenges that lie ahead.
I have no goal other than to stay on my bike, finish and have the most fun day ever.
My new-found passion (obsession?) has brought us, as a family, so close together as we talk cleats and clusters, and clean and polish our trio of two-wheeled stallions, ready and pumped for the road ahead.
I don’t ‘train’, I ride. I ride with my club, the Outriders, every Saturday morning (+-46km) as well as most Sundays to get longer distances in. My longest distance so far being 86km.
I have no strategy. I have no plan. I’ll take whatever comes on the day.
Over all the years that Daniel and I have been there to cheer my husband on as he came flying past us, down the Blue Route, stopping to have a chat and a sandwich in Noordhoek, my words, thoughts and heart always screamed ‘NEVER!’
And now just look where ‘never’ has landed me; soon-to-be-lined-up in the starting chute of the 40th anniversary ride of the Cape Town Cycle Tour, one rider amongst 35 000, facing one of the biggest challenges of her life.
BRING IT ON!