The KwaZulu-Natal herd of The Cows has become a distinctive part of the aQuellé Tour Durban, and every year a steadily increasing group of social riders has joined their group, or herd, as a show of solidarity with their on-going efforts to raise funds for, and profile the work done by The Childhood Cancer Foundation of South Africa (CHOC).
Last year, one of their stalwart members Gordon Reid rode the aQuellé Tour Durban 45km race on an ice cream cart bike surrounded by fellow Cows who helped push him up some of the hills. True to form the high-spirited Cows engaged fellow riders and spectators with their enthusiastic banter and passionate team spirit.
This year, the race organisers have set aside a batch in the 45km race specially for The Cows. Anyone interested in riding with The Cows herd needs to enter the race first, buy on of their distinctive Cow t-shirts to ride in and then contact Mamma Moo at the KZN herd of The Cows.
"Our motto is simple - Love Living Life," says Gordon Reid, a Pinetown businessman who has been actively involved with the Cows from the inception of the KZN herd.
"When it all started at the 2008 94.7 the people involved tried to get matching costumes to ride in and all they could find was six cow suits. That's where The Cows was born."
The Cows project was started by friends close to the family of 20 month old Jessica Bain, who died of cancer. Her parents Kerrin and Grant Bain threw their weight behind a pilot fundraiser for the Childhood Cancer Foundation of South Africa at the 94.7 Cycle Challenge in memory of their daughter.
The project caught the imagination of the race and the public and snowballed as a fundraiser and awareness drive for the fight against childhood cancer. Nationally The Cows have raised over R24 million for CHOC related charities by the beginning of 2015.
The KZN herd of The Cows gets involved with many of the province's major sporting events like the Comrades Marathon, the Midmar Mile, the FNB Dusi Canoe Marathon, ECR Big Walk, Compendium MTB Derby & Trail Run and the Amashova cycle races, using their enthusiasm for endurance sporting events to channel awareness and funds to the childhood cancer charity.
"The herd is really looking forward to the aQuellé Tour Durban this year, and we are hoping to get as many riders that have entered the easy 45km ride to uMdloti and back to join us in the special charity batch," said Reid.
Any rider keen to join The Cows herd for the 45km race will need to lodge a normal entry first and then notify Mamma Moo at the KZN herd by email at email@example.com
Normal entries can be submitted online at www.cycleevents.co.za/road-events/aquelle-tour-durban-2016/ until 22h00 on 11 April, after which late entries will be taken at registration at Suncoast Casino & Entertainment World from 10h00-17h00 on Friday, 22 and Saturday, 23 April.
The 105km road race, 45km fun race and 55km cyclocross race take place on Sunday 24 April 2016. More information can be found at www.tourdurban.co.za