Cyclists turn up to make a difference at 35th edition of Ride for Sight

The race attracted more than 2 700 cyclists, an increase of around 50% from last year’s entries.

The head of science at Retina South Africa and Ride for Sight organiser, Claudette Medefindt, thanked all the cyclists and volunteers who participated in the race on February 18.

Medefindt, also the deputy president of Retina International, hailed the 35th edition of the event as a success, adding that this would not have been possible if it were not for all the volunteers.

This was the first time disabled riders entered the race.

She said this year’s event was special because it was the first time physically disabled and visually impaired people (VIPs) were involved in the road race.

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“The race started in Benoni in 1989 as a small fun ride. It has grown over the years and has contributed over R11m to retinal research to find the genetic causes of retinal blindness affecting thousands of South Africans,” she said.

Medefindt also thanked Edenvale para tri-athlete Linsay Engelbrecht, who represented SA in the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham in 2022, for inspiring VIPs to participate in the race.

Visually-impaired Ashley Agulhus, receives a present from Vision Works’ George Levin and his colleague for raising around R30 000 for Retina SA through GivenGain. She’s seen her with her pilot Marc Smith and Linsay Engelbrecht (in spectacles).

“She decided that the event shouldn’t only raise money for vision loss but should also showcase the lives of those living with blindness and partial sight.” Linsay recruited 20 sighted volunteers willing to pilot tandems with visually impaired people (VIPs) at the back.

Claudette Medefindt is the head of science at Retina SA.

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“She helped them achieve a remarkable change in their lives as they tackled the 62km road race and competed with sighted cyclists to foster the strength and courage that competitive road cycling brings,” said Medefindt.

“There were over 30 VIPs. Most are blind and only started riding a bike four weeks ago.

The men’s main race was won by Bradley Scott. The riders seen here are on Jubilee Road.

“They competed and scored a personal triumph of courage and stepped out of their comfort zone into a new world of personal empowerment,” Medefindt added.

A disabled rider prepares for the race.

The race attracted more than 2 700 cyclists, an increase of around 50% from last year’s entries.

Benoni’s Bradley Scott won the men’s main race, and Lisa Bone walked away with the women’s title.

The event raised over R300 000, which will go to Retina SA’s research drive to find a cure for retinal blindness.

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