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Konrad’s very special cycle

Konrad Clifton took off on his bike from Springbok via Augrabies in the Northern Cape last month to Atlantis to highlight the daily challenges of people with disabilities.

The legal adviser, and former non-commissioned officer in the South African Navy, began cycling solo to raise funds to enable this community to rise to meet the daily physical and logistical challenges it faces, with a little help from Rotary.

He arrived in Saldanha last Tuesday to help hand wheelchairs over to, and open a ramp at, Diazville High School. “People who face challenges specifically with regard to mobility and accessibility have inspired and encouraged me to do something good that will improve their condition,” Clifton said, “and at the same time explore the beautiful Karoo, West Coast, Namaqualand and Northern Cape from Augrabies to Atlantis by bike.”

The first leg of his solo bike ride started on 31 January in Springbok to Upington, afterwards through the Karoo and after the West Coast ending his journey in Atlantis at Kerria Primary School on Tuesday 12 February.

On the 1 500 km journey Clifton has been meeting with various Rotary clubs along the way. Funds raised during the journey are used to make more buildings accessible with the help of wheelchair ramps.

The Rotary Club also gave wheelchairs to community members in Saldanha who were in need.

Gerald Cleophas from Champion Ideas NPO who was also involved in the project alongside the Rotary Club says the need was great and that many of the residents did not have wheelchairs and spent most of their time indoors. “It was a joyful moment for many as they could not be more mobile,” he said. Clifton also had the opportunity to witness this.

During parts of the last stretch he was accompanied by members of the Piketberg Cycling Club as well as a very large contingent from Diazville High School’s cycling club.

“After getting some refreshment in Velddrif we proceeded to collect a contingent of cyclists from Vredenburg, and then ended up in a headwind all the way to Saldanha,” Clifton related.

“The headwind was, however, easily worth it, as we proceeded to hand wheelchairs over to disabled people in Diazville as well as White City on behalf of Rotary.”

He added that the “tens of thousands of rands” that were collected through sponsoring to the cycling trip, particularly from Peninsula Beverages, the Rotary Club of Kirstenbosch, the Rotary Club of Newlands and numerous private donations will mean numerous accessibility ramps can now be built.

Clifton said more than R100 000 had been raised during his trip.

“We raised awareness of the needs of those we owe a human duty to uplift and support,” he said. “It also served as a platform to connect numerous role-players.”

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