Bay set for family cycling festival

    The Boardwalk’s marketing manager Tanuja Gangabishun (left), retail promotions coordinator Babalwa Sogo (centre) and public relations and entertainment manager Caley Phillips (right) enjoy the musical fountain spectacular as they look forward to welcoming The Herald VW Cycle Tour to the Home of Cycling from February 1 to 3. Photo: BJ Piercey

    Organisers of The Herald VW Cycle Tour have promised to deliver yet another action-packed, family-oriented festival of cycling and entertainment when the 28th edition of the event rolls out in Nelson Mandela Bay from February 1 to 3.

    The programme starts on the Friday with an all-day expo and registration (9am to 9pm) on the exhibition level of The Boardwalk International Convention Centre opposite Hobie Beach.

    Then, on the Saturday morning, the racing kicks off with the mountain bike events in Addo and family road events in Port Elizabeth. The weekend culminates with the feature races and prize-giving at the beachfront on the Sunday.

    According to event coordinator Linda Harwood riders may collect their goodie bags and comprehensive race booklet at registration.

    “We’ve gone all out to add value to our riders with a bumper goodie bag full of products and vouchers, and there are more than a dozen cycling-related stalls for those last-minute purchases.

    “Late entries will also be accepted at registration for all races except the Ultimate Quest.”

    Harwood said a 50% penalty fee would apply to the 55km Pursuit and 106km Classic road races, as well as for the 60km Adventure and 80km Extreme mountain bike events.

    She said visitors to the expo could also catch a glimpse of some of the lucky draw prizes on offer, which are worth around R300 000. These include the VW Polo 1.4 Trendline valued at R170 000, courtesy of Volkswagen Group South Africa.

    “One fortunate rider will become the proud new owner of the vehicle at the prize-giving, which takes place at 1pm on Sunday.” She reminded riders that the car and other lucky draws were attendance prizes.

    Harwood said the race village near the start/finish at Hobie Beach would host the weekend’s festivities, with various food and refreshment vendors, a spectator tent and the Coca-Cola Waya-Waya mobile music truck adding to the atmosphere.

    “On the Saturday, we’ve got a kiddies’ action arena, complete with a mini-train and themed jumping castles. There’s also a photo booth where little ones can have their picture taken with their finishers’ medals for free.”

    Children’s entertainment would be free of charge and manned by volunteers from Reach for a Dream, the charitable beneficiary of the Powerade-sponsored family events, she said.

    Harwood said these included the 500m Toddlers’ Dash, 2km Kiddies’ Ride, 10km Sprint and 21km Leisure Ride.

    “Out at Addo, the race village at the Polo Club is where it’s all happening. Hermitage House, the new local independent school, will be running the children’s entertainment as a fundraiser, so there will be a jumping castle and plenty of activities and refreshments for kids.”

    She said the Addo Women’s Institute would also be offering a country-style market stall, with food and drinks on sale in the clubhouse.

    Harwood said late entries for the mountain bike events would be accepted at the Polo Club between 4.30am and 5.30am on the morning of the race.

    “Aside from the two longer distances, there will be a 500m Toddlers’ Dash, 5km Kiddies’ Challenge as well as the family-oriented 30km Leisure Challenge, which are all sponsored by Powerade.

    She said various restaurants at The Boardwalk, which is dubbed the official Home of Cycling, would be offering specials to participants throughout the weekend.

    “Spectators and riders can unwind after a hard day’s riding with a great meal and enjoy the musical fountains on the lake.”

    The colourful light and water spectacular takes place at 8pm, 9pm and 10pm on Friday and Saturday, with two shows on Sunday at 8pm and 9pm.