The St Bernard’s Hospice 3 Day Cycle Challenge was launched 10 years ago to help raise awareness of the Palliative Care services St Bernard’s Hospice offers the East London community, and, very importantly, to help raise funds to sustain the services of this not for profit company.
The exciting difference about this Cycle Tour is that it is not a race. BUT, though it is not a race, it is a real challenge.
This challenge is not suffered alone, but cheered on by great camaraderie. The camaraderie is found in the common purpose everyone is cycling for. Most cyclists are cycling in support of friends, family and loved one’s in general as they all think of the journey of walking with a life-limiting disease such as cancer – while they endure their 3 day challenge.
Preparation : Cycle Challenge
21 November 2018 – Day 1 – 87 km :
A Day to be remembered by cold and gale-force winds.
Floradale; East London – The Manderson Hotel; Stutterheim
The Floradale top parking area was packed with cars and cyclists in the early hours of Wednesday morning; all excitedly getting ready for the beginning of the St Bernard’s Hospice 10th 3 Day Cycle Challenge “Pedal for a Purpose” From East London to QTN and Return; Cyclists were preparing themselves for the 87 km’s, back up drivers were packing their vehicles with Powerade and other refreshments sponsored by Coca Cola; all anxious to get on the road.
At 06h30 the BCMM Traffic Department and Alderson Anderson led the way out of East London onto the N6 for the first leg of the Challenge.
The 20 cyclists battled the headwinds and took major strain due to bad … just plain awful weather, all struggling up and over the Amabele climb. We are proud to say the cyclists endured and arrived safely at The Manderson Hotel around 15:00 that afternoon. We were joined a by a few Stutterheim Roundtable members for the evening and fantastic food was enjoyed by all, which saw the Day 1 draw to its close.
22 November 2018 – Day 2 – 100 km :
When we cycled from what felt like Antartica – into the Sahara Dessert
The Manderson Hotel, Stutterheim to The Burrough Guest Lodge, Queenstown
The Stutterheim to QTN leg of the event was a bit disruptive this year due to the extensive roadworks just outside Stutterheim (just before Cathcart). While traveling on the road in the process of being tarred, the loose gravel caused havoc with the bicycle tyres and derailers – In an effort to avoid further damage, bikes and cyclists were loaded onto the trailers and bakkies and transported past all the roadworks. 5 Damaged bikes were rushed through all the way to QTN for repairs.
The rest of the cycle for the remaining cyclists went smoothly and we arrived at The Burrough Guest Lodge at about 16h00. A few extra members of the Queenstown Roundtable group and the Queenstown Cyclists family members joined us for Dinner and a great evening was had by all.
The highlight of this evening, perhaps especially for the St Bernard’s Hospice staff members present, was when a few of the cyclists shared their reasons for cycling.
23 November 2018 – Day 3 – 187 km :
The Burrough Guest Lodge to Floradale Nursery, East London Day 3 – 187 km
Departure from The Burrough was 06h30 with Alderson Ambulance leading us out of town, after also receiving assistance from Queenstown Border-Kei Chamber of Business Champion, Adri.
Our first stop was about 20kms outside Queenstown where everyone enjoyed their packed breakfast before the Transkei overpass.
We then proceeded to stop every 20 kms for the cyclists to catch their breath, rehydrate in a now very warm day and have a bit of comradeship whilst resting. The road orks played havoc going down to Queenstown therefore, it was decided that the cyclists and their bicycles would be loaded into vehicles, bakkies and trailers for the safety of cyclist and their bicycles.
We stopped in Stutterheim for 30 minutes and had a pre-packed lunch from Pick n’ Pay which went down well with everyone. The most irritation or concern was the lack of shade, which is a problem along the greater distance of the full route.
Our entourage of cyclists & backup vehicles were escorted into Floradale Nursery by The Traffic Department and Aldersons Ambulance. They had sirens and their blue lights flashing and we arrived to an impressively big crowd at Floradale
St Bernard’s Hospice 10th Annual Cycle Challenge “Pedal for a Purpose” finished off with the handing out of Certificates at the Country Bumpkin on Friday 23rd November. Cyclists & Back up drivers were all exhausted but in good health and spirit.
The atmosphere and camaraderie amongst the cyclists and back up drivers was fantastic and it was great making new friends. If the enthusiasm is anything to go by, some back up drivers and cyclists wives will definitely be cycling in the 2019 Cycle Challenge. Diarise the dates 27th, 28th , 29th November for the 2019 Pedal for Purpose.
We are incredibly grateful to our sponsors and back-up drivers who were part of making this a successful event.