Change a life with a bike #changealife2013

One of our biggest and most generous sponsors, the Change a Life Trust, finishes its annual cycle tour this week where some 70 company executives have been burning up their lycra over 570km around the Lubombo mountains in Swaziland. Cycling champion Robbie Hunter and super multi-discipline sportsman Martin Dreyer accompanied the execs on this fairly gruelling route.

Computershare South Africa established the Mike Thomson Change a Life Trust in 2008 to sponsor initiatives that support victims of crime and grassroots programmes that address the causes and symptoms of crime. The trust supports the DNA Project, iChoose to Change a Life, the Martin Dreyer Change a Life Academy, the Allan Thomson Kushido Karate-do and Nemato Change a Life.

This year’s cycle tour is expected to raise R3.5-million, bringing to almost R20-million the total amount it has donated to these anti-crime and youth development projects in South Africa. Although the field is dominated by men, some of the women doing the race include Qedani Mahlangu, the Gauteng MEC of infrastructure development; Nicky Newton-King, the chief executive of the JSE; Ruan Jooste, the associate editor of money and investing at the Financial Mail; Ursula du Plooy, the executive director of Computershare South Africa; Katy Caldis, the head actuary at Liberty Health Holdings; and Diane Radley, the chief executive of Old Mutual Investment Group South Africa.

Tour history

The 2008 tour consisted of three days along the Zambezi River, with cyclists riding 450km from Victoria Falls through parts of Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia’s Caprivi Strip and Zambia. Some 81 executives entered, and R2.3-million was raised. In 2009, 62 cyclists spent five days riding through Northern Cape, Free State and into Swaziland. Almost double the previous year’s amount was raised, at R3.5-million.

Again in 2010, R3.5-million was raised, with 69 cyclists riding 480km in Malawi over six days. In 2011, 70 executives rode the length of the Namib desert in Namibia, taking four days to complete 530km. The route started in Windhoek and headed westwards across the desert before ending in Walvis Bay. The race was tough – day one was a hot 121km, with a gruelling 201km trek on day two, followed by 111km through the desert in sweltering heat. Day four was 101km, with cyclists finishing along the salt road with the Atlantic Ocean to keep them company.

Then, in 2012, 75 cyclists strapped on their helmets to ride 550km through the Waterberg mountains in Limpopo. They climbed 5 000m through the bushveld and undulating terrain of South Africa’s northernmost province. Some of the comments from that tour are testimony to the effort put in by everyone. “I’ve finally managed to watch the Change a Life High Five Tour Documentary. Enjoyed the tour all over again. What you’ve built is amazing. I am very proud to be part of the Change a Life family,” said Nthime Khoele, the principal and co-founder of equity company Bopa Moruo.

Mike Estment, chief executive of NFB financial services group, said: “Thanks for an absolutely wonderful tour. It was all seamless, sublime and special.”

And Eric Janet, the managing director of Luxalite, an optical goods manufacturer, added: “I wonder if the Tour de France is as organised and as well run as your Change a Life tours are? With the tour having come and gone the fond memories of such a wonderful experience will linger on for many years to come.”

Sponsors of this year’s race include British Airways, Dischem, Europcar, Hollard, Johannesburg Stock Exchange, Nedbank, Old Mutual, Pick n Pay, Sun International and Vodacom. Computershare matches rand for rand all funds raised from cyclist entry fees, which this year is R30,000 per cyclist.

This blog is an adaptation of the original article written by Lucille Davie

10 Sep 2013 06:47

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