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Chiropractic Charity and Awareness Cycle Tour 2014


Words: Janine De Gouveia | Photos: Lindsay Balkwill

The 20th of June 2014 marked the start of the 7th annual Chiropractic and Charity Awareness Cycle Tour. With temperatures well below what would have been preferred, 13 cyclists, 7 from the University of Johannesburg (UJ) and 6 from the Durban University of Technology (DUT), plus 5 support crew set off on a 681 km cycle from Johannesburg to Durban.

Photo credit: Lindsay Balkwill

The Chiropractic Charity and Awareness cycling tour was originally started by Stuart Murray and Tjaart van der Merwe, chiropractic students from DUT, for three reasons:
1. To create an environment wherein students from all walks of life, races, ages and backgrounds could come together in an informal setting and socialise with some of their classmates and fellow students.
2. To create awareness about the chiropractic profession, as well as spinal wellness and general well-being through promoting a fit and healthy lifestyle.
3. To raise funds for identified charities in a bid to fulfil our civic duty of giving to those less fortunate than us. The charities supported this year were the Durban Children's Home and Marburg Haven.

Since its inception in 2007, the tour has grown both in participation and funds raised. It's always been well supported by students and continues to provide a great deal of enjoyment to all those involved. For me, the most incredible part of this year's tour was that we just went out and did it. It didn't matter that we only had a small support crew, or slept on friends' floors and in the Lions Club's hall, and ate whatever we could get the night before. What mattered was that we bonded, grew and learnt about each other, life and our profession, and raised funds for our nominated charities. We took ourselves out of our comfort zones and thrived! Make no mistake, the tour was hard. It was taxing on our bodies and the organisation was tough, but in the end it all came together - just like everything does when you have enough passion and heart!

This year's event was a major success and we could not have done it without the generous contributions and help of our sponsors; Nevsway Conveyor Supplies, Space Television, Lassen Sportswear, Cyclesphere, Frese Moll and Partners, Coffee Tree, the Chiropractic Association of South Africa, Gavin Kilpatrick and Gerd Bergmann for sponsoring FUTURELIFE® products, and Sonja Castelo Branco.

Here are some highlights from this year's six-day tour.

Day 1: (Johannesburg to Standerton - 138 km)
* An icy-cold start at Carnival City, where many of the cyclists met for the first time.
* Novice-rider Charlotte Stipcich had the first fall of the tour, before we'd even left.
* Riders in their Red Socks #ShoOps. We wear red socks on Fridays, Google it - incredible stuff!
* Learning patience and kindness as we embraced the many 'stop and go's'. Every now and then, we took a chance on the road less travelled, which left us with the open road all to ourselves.

Day 2: (Standerton to Newcastle - 145 km)
* The temperature at the start of the ride was a lovely minus one degrees.
* A sprint finish into Newcastle, with a police escort
* Sleeping on an aerobics floor in the Newcastle Gym and the incredible dinner that was made for us by the Singh family.

Day 3: (Newcastle to Bergville -101km) 
* That awkward moment when Jaryd, Mike H and Mike B decided that 101 km wasn't enough and rallied up an extra 90 km for the day.
* Playing 'sweet and sour' with the oncoming cars. There are way too many sour faces in these parts.
* Appreciating our incredible support crew and the hard work and effort they put in.

Day 4: (Bergville to Estcourt - 88 km)
* Being joined by two more riders, Robyn and Kimi, for the last three days.
* Robyn deciding it was perfectly acceptable to stop peddling when being pushed up a hill (I completely agree).
* Sleeping on the floor of the Lions Club and everyone enjoying drinks from barman Cecil.

Day 5: (Estcourt - Pietermaritzburg - 108 km)
* Warthog Hill, as you climb out of Mooi River, being as bad as everyone said it would be.
* Sleeping in the Thistle Hotel in Pietermaritzburg, kindly sponsored by the Lions Club.
* Stopping off at the Nottingham Brewery for a quick beer tasting.
* Meeting Pro mountain biker Robyn de Groot on the way.
* A group photo taken at the Mandela Capture Site, on the R103 near Howick in KwaZulu-Natal. It was an incredible moment for all.

Day 6: (Pietermaritzburg to Durban - 101 km)
* Getting lost in Kloof and blaming it all on Will.
* Watching Jaryd trying to save a pigeon that had been hit by a car, only to get bitten by it.
* Stopping off at Inchanga Hill. We definitely had it easier than the Comrades' runners.
* Having Giselle waiting for us at the Bike and Bean with champagne in hand. (Someone needs to teach her to SPRAY champers.)
* A swim in the sea to mark the end of an incredible tour.