The 2016 1965Ride must go down as one of the most successful.

Not only because it finished on a such a high note, nor because we had to struggle through two really tough days at the beginning, nor because we had such a cohesive and tightly knit team of cyclists, but also and especially because in terms of our mission it looks like this year will have produced the highest income per cyclist in the history of the initiative – something approaching R60000 per cyclist!

In these economic times that is a significant achievement in anyone’s language. We have not finished the reconciliation of the income yet and as the cyclists have until the end of May to round up any outstanding or new monies we will have to await the final accounting before making firm and confirmed numbers but it is looking good which means we can continue provide hope to disadvantaged communities in Queenstown.

Well done to all!

There are so many people to whom we owe thanks. I will not list them by name but suffice to say that we are deeply indebted to the cyclists who make enormous sacrifices to raise the money, abandon their jobs and businesses, say farewell to their families for two weeks and ride through 9 consecutive and seemingly endless days of somewhat unpredictable weather.

We love our sponsors! Without them we would have nothing to show for our efforts. They come in all shapes and sizes. Some give a lot and others less but as we all know every cent counts and we value every sponsor big and small! Some give much more than just money – they give of themselves, they share their passion for what we are doing, they encourage us in countless ways, they become a positive presence in our journey to Queenstown. Many thanks, you know who you are and are the types of people who do not need to be named! We value that!

We stay in great accommodation. All of these places adjust their prices to contribute to our mission:
Heidelberg Kloof Lodge, Heidelberg
Die Herberg, Oranjeville
Frankfort Guest Lodge, Frankfort
Poelanies, Reitz
Plaas Stoep and Grill, Fouriesberg
Woodpecker Lodge, Ficksberg
Constantia Cherry Farmstall, Clocolan
Lord Fraser Lodge, Wepener
Mountain View Chalets, Zastron
Umtali Country Lodge, Aliwal North
Hazelmere Country Lodge, Penhoek
Cosy Corner, Queenstown
We say to all of you many thanks for looking after us so well! We will see you again next year!

And then there is the team, the beautiful 2016 team:
The newbies first:
Ian DorringtonIan Harry Dorrington: Ian is vintage Queen’s College Class of 1965. He is a passionate Old Queenian. It took 5 years of persuading but eventually he came on board as our Chief of Support and what a brilliant job he did, notwithstanding creating a record that is unlikely ever to be surpassed – he bumped his head 34 times on the corner of the trailer. It became so bad that Setu lent him his helmet at the Boesmanskop turnoff to prevent any further damage. Ian also earned the title of King of Chirpers. It was simply non-stop!
It is great to know that he has signed on again for 2017.

Who2Desmond O’Connor: If there was a surprise package this year it was Des. A few of us thought (I suspect Des included) that after our horrifically difficult gale wind first day that he would consider bailing. It is testimony to his character that he didn’t. Not even after a freezing wet second day on the saddle. He stayed with the programme and simply got stronger. His indomitable good humour and love of laughter were ever-present. His enthusiasm for what we are trying to achieve is infectious. He just needs to learn how to handle a blow-out at speed on a downhill. Better still avoid a blow-out by having tyres on his bike that are not already through to the canvas! He has indicated also that he is IN for 2017.

SetuSetu Skepe: Setu joined the parlotone of the 2016 tour almost at the last minute. But what a wonderful addition he was to the tour. It was clear that he had not done much cycling before. But once we got him properly set up and comfortable with using his gears effectively he powered away and was mostly seen at the head of the parlotone. (For those that don’t know a parlotone is the 1965Ride version of a cycling peloton and only those who do the 1965Ride fully know what this means!). His wicked sense of humour had us laughing up and down hills. He missed his fiancé but made sure that mobile phone network revenue stayed intact with regular calls to Queenstown. The networks are no doubt missing his contribution this week. He has confirmed his participation in 2017.

Who1Gavin Whindus: Our first 1965Rider from Durban/KZN! It is about time that the outpost joined the tour! If you had asked Gav how things were going and whether he was enjoying himself after Day1 he would have said:”$@#%×€₩!!!! ! It was clear that it was a big struggle. He struggled, and struggled, and struggled for 3 days and then found a rhythm. From then on Gav was unstoppable. And on the downhills he was uncatchable. He was such an example for all of us and showed the power of sheer determination! It will be great to have him back in 2017.

Hester LemmerHester Annie Lemmer: Annie as we know her is no newbie to the 1965Ride nor to cycling. And it showed!
If you wanted to find her you had to look at the head of the parlotone, usually with Leon Annandale. Apart from her great cycling prowess she brought a fabulous positive energy that radiated out through the whole team. Her sense of humour was catching and she laughs a lot. For most women being the only woman on the team may have been a bit daunting but she took it in her stride and made sure that she allowed nothing to get her down; not even when we were all shivering, cold and wet. For quite a chunk of the way she struggled with sore knees. But she just rubbed and strapped and kept cycling. What an example to her two little kids! We know that she will do everything she can to be there in 2017.

Mike WarrenMagic Medic Mike Warren: Mike is BIG in every way. He is big of stature, big of voice, and big of snoring. He took the snoring prize again this year. This may well be the result of his huge passion for our initiative but whatever the case it was great to have him take care of our health needs again. He knows the drill so well now after 3 tours. He just has to learn his way around Wepener and we suspect that he created some history during our visit to the town by becoming the first person to get lost there! One of the BIG things about Mike is that nothing is too much trouble for him and he goes out of his way to help with even the tiniest things.

Rodger WebbRodger Webb: Rog is an icon and example of not allowing disabilities to get in the way of important things you wish to do. Most people would say after a couple of back ops, a triple heart bypass, two plastic knees and an hernia operation that there is no way you could (or even should) participate in something like the 1965Ride. But Rog has, 4 times now! And he just gets stronger and stronger even though he is also a veteran of the class of 1965! In addition to cycling he did the huge task of securing accommodation, negotiating rates and ensuring that that side of things ran smoothly. He was fantastic! He must just learn to join the shake-down ride on Saturday morning. Thanks for the coffee service though!

Leon AnnandaleLeon Annandale: Leon has participated every year since inception and in this he is a member of a group of only two. He is not one of the noisiest people in the parlotone. Indeed he asserted that he likes his legs to do the talking. If there is one fault he has, he simply cannot find it in his DNA to finish second, not even on one segment of one leg. One certain thing about him though you will always find him willing and ready to help, especially the weaker members of the team. And he produced a fabulous documentary. You will find it on the 1965Ride website. You can be sure that if you do something deserving of it you will be the subject of his dry and targeted wit.

And then there are some members of the team that are to all intents and purposes invisible to those outside the 1965Ride. They definitely deserve mention!
Thanks to Debbie Neilson for her really lekker crunchies; to Jen Ralph for the delicious fruit cake; Lyn Webb who was such an integral and helpful part of the Support team for a chunk of our way to Queenstown; and to Jen Wilson who did so much to ensure the success of the ride in her unfussed and quiet way. It is very difficult to quantify her contribution but what is certain is that our tour would not have enjoyed the success it did nor be so enjoyable without her steady and steadying hand on the tiller.
So another tour ends.
But the journey continues. Already there is indication that 12 people and maybe more have committed to the 2017 tour. Sign up now to avoid being left out and suffering from a severe and incurable case of FOMO!

Many thanks to everyone who made our 2016 tour such a success!

Tony Frost



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