The 2013 edition of the 1965Ride was a great success!
We have been asked often what made it so successful. The simple answer is that it is not the road, nor the landscape, nor the bicycle, nor where we stop over, nor the jokes, the blow-outs, punctures, broken spokes, the support team. All of these play their role for sure.
Actually it is the people that, for an amazing 9 days, form a community of like-minded, passionate people who are driven to make a lasting contribution to the society of which they are part that makes this journey so special. If we had gone out and hand-picked a bunch of people to ride with us we very much doubt that we could have done better.
So, a big thanks to each of the 14 who rode the whole way – you are the real stars of this show. It was also great to have all those who joined us along the way starting with Sean in Aliwal North and scores along the way from there.
We rode the 850 kms without major incident, although we did have some interesting discussions with the Free State traffic authorities in Bethlehem which nearly scuppered the event. More about that later.
Obviously the purpose is to raise money for the creation of bursaries for talented kids who want to attend boarding school and obtain a quality education but do not have the wherewithal to do so. It is therefore critical that we give our supporters feedback on this essential part of our mission. The final numbers have not yet been completed, tallied and audited but, excluding donations in kind, it appears that we have done better than R400 000 in 2013. We hope, of course, that with our last efforts to pull in outstanding sponsorship pledges we will achieve a lot more. If we add this to the roughly R800 000 raised in our first two years we are beginning to be in a position to make a real difference.
This is very encouraging evidence and support for the fact that South Africans believe in good education and are prepared to invest in it to help to improve the competitiveness of our beautiful nation.
When one meets the young men who have already benefitted from the 1965Ride it is very clear that we are doing the right thing. They are such outstanding ambassadors for our efforts but also great examples of what good education can do to give our talented young people the self-confidence to use their talents to the full!
We have learned a lot from the 2013 event (as we do from each ride!). One of the more important issues we will need (indeed already have) to take care of is to ensure that we have the permissions from every authority that we need authority from. We thought we had done all we needed to by talking to the Gauteng Traffic Authorities and the local authorities through whose jurisdiction we would cycle. They basically told us to ride. WRONG! We won’t have this experience again.
The entries are open for the 2014 edition. We will only take 30 cyclists. Those who have ridden before will have first go at a spot; then we will entertain the new applicants; those who don’t make the first cut will be placed on a waiting list. So get in early!
We know that those who raise the most in sponsorships don’t wait until the last minute. In fact I am sure that they have already started for next year. They also know that it is about building enduring and sustainable relationships around our effort to transform education in the Queenstown district.
That is one of the most important reasons why we are so grateful to those companies that have supported us from the very beginning. Now we have some proof of what we are doing and what we have achieved – then we had nothing but a promise, therefore they can be justifiably proud of having helped to build a brand. We want to name them because our success in 2013 is built on their contribution in 2011: Pretoria East Ford and Mazda, Life HealthCare Group (Queenstown), Biogen, Cargo Motors, Twizza, DAWN Group, Barker Insurance Brokers. This is not a complete nor comprehensive list. It is, however, a list of our biggest supporters in that first year when we needed them most. They are still with us as we go forward.
We were very lucky to have them because they helped us to build a credibility base which made our job of selling our dream much easier. We were delighted to welcome really significant new players this year who have helped to ramp up the trajectory of our efforts considerably. So…..a big thank you to General Motors for their sponsorship, their vehicles, the daily video blog; to Pfizer for believing in us and for their sponsorship, the cycling gear, and daily cap for the person of the day; to Build-It for climbing on board and giving us not only cash but also riding kit; the Life HealthCare Group and especially the Suikerbosrand and Bedford Gardens Hospitals for coming on board in a really personal way with at least 12 of the Life team riding the first leg (all 144 kilometres of it!) with us as well as their cash sponsorship, and riding gear . Again there are others but these four in particular have raised the bar for ourselves and the entire sponsoring community for 2014. Bring it on!
Thanks also to the media all over the country but especially to The Rep of Queenstown, to David O’Sullivan of Radio 702 and to Radio 2000 for showcasing our initiative.
Finally a big thank you to the members of the 6 schools who turned out to welcome us and the Walkers home. It was awesome!! We do it for you.
Thanks to all who support and encourage us – you give us energy.
Come and Ride with us in 2014!