SOUTH AFRICAN CYCLISTS RIDE FOR AUTISM IN UPCOMING PARIS-BREST-PARIS
From 16 to 20 August 2015 endurance cyclists from all over the world will come together to participate in the oldest cycling event in the world, the Paris-Brest-Paris Randonneur. Cyclists must complete a 1200 km course within 90 hours, which means they will literally ride day and night to reach the end point. For the first time the start and finish of the most famous long-distance randonnée will take place at the National Velodrome of Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, the world capital of cycling. Randonneuring, as it is referred to, is not about who rides the fastest and comes in first, but about the enjoyment of cycling and the focus is therefore on the amateur rider. It is the quest for the ultimate cyclist – any distance, any weather, self-sufficient. Even though support cars are allowed at control points, riders are expected to be able to ride by themselves, and to be prepared for the challenges of the road ahead. There is a 90-hour limit and the clock runs continuously. Many riders sleep as little as possible, sometimes catching a few minutes beside the road before continuing. South African riders
Locally five riders (Gerhard van Noordwyk, Daniel Langenhoven, Rob Walker, Nico Coetzee and Peter Müller) have qualified as part of approximately 15 riders from South Africa to participate in this prestigious event.
Their journey thus far has been inspiring. During the past year they have prepared for this event by completing at least 4 brevets each (4 qualifying rides to be able to enter the 2015 edition of Paris-Brest Paris). Riders had to complete 200km, 300km, 400km and 600km rides within time limits of 13h20, 20h00, 26h41 and 40h00 respectively.
Says Gerhard: “Undertaking this epic cycling event requires digging deep into your inner self for courage, resources and motivation, very similar to the journey a child with autism faces every day. For this reason, we have opted to champion the autism cause as beneficiary for our upcoming efforts in France.”
SNAP (Special Needs Adapted Programme) is a highly specialised, non-profit program founded in 1998, offering one-on-one early intervention and specialised schooling to children with autism and other special needs and has helped children for the past 15 years from almost 36 countries in the world. They have proved that it is possible to provide the right intervention that will unleash the extra-ordinary talents of these special children.
As a Public Benefit Organisation SNAP offers tax rebates in return for sponsored donations.
Cycling enthusiasts interested to follow their journey as they prepare for this event or support their cause can join their conversation on Twitter on @Road2ParisBrest or follow their progress on Facebook at The Road to Paris-Brest-Paris 2015.
For more information visit www.snap.org.za