Over the past 21 years that this iconic event has taken place, there have been many courageous characters who have participated and supported the Lions of Knysna and Uniondale, who own the event.

One of them is visually impaired paralympic bronze medallist - Gavin Kilpatrick, along with his tandem mountain bike guide Francois Esterhuizen- who won the tandem category of the Lions Karoo to Coast in 2018.


Kilpatrick was diagnosed with Stargardt disease as a child and his sight degenerated. He has only 20% vision but has never let this deter him from competitive sport. Kilpatrick won a bronze medal at the 2008 Paralympics for track cycling and now focuses on triathlon, where has shown great talent and is often on the podium:

I love to compete, and I love to inspire others to take part in sport despite any challenges they may face,

Gavin also has an Honors qualification in Sport Management and is a Uvex Ambassador.

Tandem mountain biking has opened up a whole new sport beyond triathlon for me. Francois and I completed the Coronation Double Century road race on a tandem in 2017, and he then suggested we try the mountain bike tandem riding.

Esterhuizen, a passionate cyclist and owner of Manic Cycles in Worcester, says:

Gavin is very fast and strong on the bike, and he certainly pushed me at the Lions Karoo to Coast route in order to get the podium position.

Stephen Drew (61) from Knysna is the first mountain bike racer in South Africa with an above the-knee amputation. He was an avid mountain biker on the world stage before he lost his leg in a motorcycle accident in 2016. This almost brought his career to a complete stop - but he gathered courage after his loss and got back on the bike. He was already practising again five weeks after his loss, even before his prosthesis was fitted.


Stephen is a regular Lions Karoo To Coast rider and also takes on various other challenging endurance mountain bike events.

Riding the Karoo to Coast and other races is not about finishing and being a hero, it's about exploring the world of cycling as an above-knee amputee. Ultimately my objective is to get other amputees on their bikes - not necessarily to race but to be able to have a better quality of life.

We would also like to celebrate the Ladies of the Uniondale Lions Club, whose hands and hearts create the delicious meal that is served to over 1600 riders each year (for over 20 years!) at the registration hall on the eve of this iconic event. We salute these ladies who work together as a happy team of VOLUNTEERS to nourish our valued participants.