The Cows gear up for GABRAN stampede

Westville Cycle Club co-ordinator of GABRAN Kelin du Start (right) takes delivery of the proceeds of the 2016 GABRAN from The Cows stalwarts Julia Varty, Lauren Varty, Lynne McRae and Iris Varty.

THE unstoppable sport fanatics that make up The Cows are gearing up for their annual three-day fund-raising bicycle tour known as GABRAN, or the Great Annual Bike Ride Across Natal, to help reach their lofty national target of R10 million for the Childhood Cancer Foundation,

The race, now in its 26th year, is organised by the Westville Cycle Club and attracts cyclists of all abilities as it is a slow-paced, social ride. The entry fee for the three-day ride is R1950, which includes three cooked meals a day and all camping and transport of the riders’ personal possessions during the ride.

“It is not a race at all,” stressed The Cows’ event organiser, Lynne McRae. “It is an experience. Everyone rides at their own pace, and takes as long as they want to complete each stage.”

“It all forms part of the national campaign to raise funds for CHOC, and over the last three years we have raised R385 000 through GABRAN,” she said.

“This year we want to really raise our game to contribute meaningfully to the national target of R10 million, by raising R250 000 from GABRAN 2017.”

The race is open to any cycling enthusiast looking to enjoy the leisurely 283km ride from the foothills of the Drakensberg to the outskirts of Durban. Minors who are 14 years or older are welcome, if accompanied by an adult.

While road bikes are the popular choice, many opt for tandems or mountain bikes, and the odd unicycle or mini cycle has also completed the fun event.

“Safety is paramount throughout,” stressed Lynne. “Every rider will adhere to all the usual cycling safety requirements, like compulsory helmets, and they have obey all the rules of the road, all the time.”

The race actively discourages riding in big groups to contribute to the events safety and a sweep vehicle will be on hand to assist riders battling at any stage of the ride.

The event website makes it clear that this is a non-timed, non-podium event, and warns that there are numerous ‘compulsory’ stops for ‘feeding and grazing purposes’.

The first stage is a 100km ride from ATKV in Drakensville, followed by an 87km second stage to Howick, and finishes with a 94km closing stage to Hillcrest.

The 2017 GABRAN is from 18 to 20 August.

Lloyd Mackenzie

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