Victoria Grandmothers for Africa: Cycling sub-Saharan Africa (at home)

Victoria Grandmothers for Africa has passed on the update below on their VG4A 2020 Cycle Tour: cycling sub-Saharan Africa — at home. 

The cycle tour is a go yet in a different format. In light of continued requirements for physical distancing and near certainty of a second wave of COVID-19, the Cycle Tour Working Group has landed on a cycle tour format that respects the health of cyclists. That said, commitment to raising money for the Stephen Lewis Foundation (SLF) Grandmothers to Grandmothers campaign remains stronger than ever as grassroots organizations in sub-Saharan Africa cope with COVID-19 in addition to challenges created by HIV and AIDS.

No, we’re not going to Africa.  However, from August 17 – September 13, 2020 registered cyclists will collectively cycle 18,107 km, the distance to cycle to most SLF funded communities.

Here’s how the cycle tour will work. The 18,107 km distance has been divided into six sections, each of approximately 3,000 km. Team leaders will be assigned, given a section and will manage their team with each team riding 3,000 km. Although riders will cycle independently, once registered they will be randomly divided into teams that include both riders committed to shorter or longer distances for the cycle tour. Each rider will determine for themselves a distance to ride over the duration of the cycle tour. Team leaders will check in with team members and track distances on a weekly basis. Teams will be provided with information about the SLF projects in their section so that riders and donors can be more connected to the grassroots initiatives in Africa.

If you are relatively new to cycling this cycle tour is absolutely for you! Because you determine the distance you will cycle and all kilometres count, there is a place for you on a team. E-bikes are permitted for the 2020 Cycle Tour for any rider choosing to use one. Regardless of the distance riders choose or the nature of their bikes all riders are encouraged to aim for a personally challenging goal for the one-month duration of the cycle tour to show solidarity with the lives of African grandmothers through our cycling efforts.And here is what you need to know to register:

  • The cycle tour is open to women 55 years of age and older (as of December 31st, 2020). You do not need to be a member of a SLF Grandmothers group to register.
  • To get a registration form go to the Victoria Grandmothers for Africa website.
  • On the registration form you will need to declare the distance you hope to ride over the one-month time frame of the tour for the purposes of being assigned to a team. Don’t fret about this! If it looks like you won’t achieve your goal, check-in with your team leader and others in the team will pick up the distance to reach the 3000 km team goal. Conversely if it looks like you’ll surpass your goal, yay for you! You will not be asked to hold back if you’re piling up the kilometres during your weekly virtual check-in.
  • Fill in the registration form, sign the waiver and pay the non-refundable $20 registration fee. Registration will be open from June 1 to July 31, 2020. The number of riders will not be restricted.
  • Once registered you will be contacted by Bonnie Yarish for details on how to set up your SLF donor page. In addition to soliciting donations please consider donating what you would have paid to register for our traditional ride – $350 for the 275 km ride from Campbell River to Victoria or $50 for the 50 km ride around the Saanich Peninsula.
  • Sometime during the week of August 10th you’ll be contacted by your team leader who will provide information about the SLF funded communities in the section you and your team are riding and to whom you will report your kilometres cycled on a weekly basis.

And here is the fine print. No accommodation, meals or rider support is provided. Group training rides are not being provided at this time. VG4A T-shirts will be sold to interested riders who do not own either a cycle tour jersey or T-shirt.

This year’s cycle tour format allows for even more women to show our African sisters that “We will not rest until they can rest.”

Victoria Grandmothers for Action

28 May 2020

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