Return to Grandads Army Memorial Ride 2019

Grandads Army Triumph for Eastern Cape: an account of the ride.

On Sunday, 3rd March 2019, 35 cyclists saddled up, ready to tackle a 1160km journey from East London to Gordon’s Bay in aid of East London’s, Eyabantwana Trust. The non profit organisation aids the Eastern Cape Paediatric Surgical Services of the Frere and Cecilia Makiwane Hospitals specifically supplying surgical equipment and maintenance to the Paediatric burn units of these hospitals.
Reigning from all over South Africa, these cyclists known as the Grandads Army took to the roads to help raise R300 000 for the Eyabantwana Trust, departing East London at 06h00 on Sunday morning. The Grandads Army consists of three groups, known as the Army, Navy and Air Force, completing 300km each day in a relay format.
The group arrived in Cradock on Sunday afternoon, completing their first leg of their journey, and continued onto Willowmore, where they spent Monday night.
One Tuesday morning, the Grandads Army continued their journey, via Tradouw Pass towards Swellendam where they finished Day 3. The “King of the Mountain” segment where all riders cycle together up the Huisrivier pass (R62), an exquisite 9km climb with a 660 km elevation. This section of the ride requires stamina, motivation and determination of which every single cyclists showcased on Tuesday afternoon. Reclaiming the King of the Mountain title from Wayne Salzwedel in 2018, Sean Rice reached the top of the Huisrivier Pass in 31m41s.
The Grandads Army travelled to Aguhlas on Wednesday morning where an intimate memorial service was held in honour of Michele Wienand, who sadly passed away after a tragic accident on Tuesday afternoon. The Group continued their cycle as per the Wienand family’s request and finished the day in Gansbaai. The final leg of the Grandads Army Memorial Ride toured cyclists along the coast, where they completed their 1160km journey in Gordan’s Bay on Thursday afternoon. The local fire department escorted the Grandads Army into Gordan’s Bay in support of a fellow fireman, who is also a member of the Grandads Army.
The Cape Town Fire & Rescue Service escorted the Grandads Army into Gordan’s Bay on Thursday afternoon, in support of their fellow fireman; Dino Levendal, who is also member of the Grandads Army and the Cape Town Fire & Rescue Service
The Grandads Army Memorial Ride is in honour of Rob Burton, Mike Mc Comb, Arthur Salzwedel and Michele Wienand, all members of the Grandads Army cycling community who sadly passed away following accidents on the road.
This event would not be possible without the assistance of its sponsors, featuring Caltex Eastern Cape , Caltex Beacon Bay – Fresh Stop, Refreshh and Minuteman Press.
Caltex Eastern Cape Marketer (CECM), the official fuel sponsors of the support teams commend the Eyabantwana Trust for their dedication in raising awareness and funds to assist burn victims in the Eastern Cape.
“The money raised by the Grandads Army has become a beacon of hope for so many burn victims in the Eastern Cape. Our young children are particularly vulnerable, with injuries claiming many a young life each year. These youngsters are the future leaders in our country and as a business we should ensure that they are given the chance to make this happen” said Clive Berlyn, CECM CEO.
“As Major role player in the Eastern Cape Fuel industry, we at Caltex Eastern Cape Marketer, take our responsibility seriously and believe that through awareness, preventative campaigns and ensuring that proper care are given to burn victims the effects of this scourge could be greatly reduced.
We must commend the Eyabantwana Trust for their dedication in raising awareness and funds to make the world a safer place for our children” Berlyn further added.
All Grandads Army Memorial Ride cyclists took on the additional task of cycling this year’s 109km Cape Town Cycle Tour in aid of their Eyabantwana Trust, wearing their Grandads Army cycling kit to help generate further awareness of their fundraising campaign. The group also wore a black armband in honour of the late Michele Wienand who passed away on Tuesday evening, following a tragic cycling accident which took place on Tuesday afternoon.
The Grandads Army have raised R1 million over the past four years, and this year have managed to raise R260 000.00 thus far, for the local non profit organisation. To ensure all funds raised go towards the Eyabantwana Trust, each cyclist and supporter cover their own costs leading up to and during the event.
Members of the public who wish to get involved with this phenomenal organisation and help raise funds for the Paediatric Surgical Services based at the East London public hospitals are encouraged to contact Trystan Viaene – Trystan@hypepr.co.za.
“We are incredibly proud of each the cyclists that took on this year’s challenge of cycling through to Gordan’s Bay from East London, and more impressed with the funds raised thus far for the organisation. Thank you to each cyclist, sponsor and donor for your continuous support and dedication towards the Eyabantwana Trust and all it stands for” shared event organiser, Trystan Viaene.

Members of the Grandads Army and the Eyabantwana Trust are deeply shocked and saddened by the tragic loss of one of their riders whilst cycling the Tradouw Pass leg of the Grandads Army Memorial Ride on Tuesday afternoon.

The cyclist received immediate medical attention at the scene and was transported to Swellendam Hospital, tragically she succumbed to her injuries by Tuesday evening.

A tribute ride along Agulhas took place this morning in honour of Michele Wienand, followed by an intimate memorial service on the beach which was attended by all Grandads Army Memorial Ride officials and cyclists.

The Grandads Army cyclists have chosen to ride their final leg of the Grandads Army Memorial Ride; the Cape Town Cycle Tour wearing a black band in honour of their fellow cyclist.

On behalf of the Eyabantwana Trust and all who are involved in the Grandads Army Memorial Ride, we offer our sincere condolences to the Wienand family, and we continue to pray for you all, during this difficult time.

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