There are no words that can express our gratitude to the team of Recce Riders who cycled the 2830km ride and others who helped plan the Long Ride To Freedom! From the time James met Mark Lawson last year from Cycle The Cape, he bought into the vision of Leaderless, the Non Profit Organisation organising this event. From there Mark, started planning and getting people together.
We had not met Ian, Kurt, Shanel or Brian, but they were in and they made it happen. And it is this that we wish for all South Africans. To step up and take action. Our goal now is to grow the Long Ride To Freedom, to make it a success every year so that we can attract people from all over the world to South Africa.
And we're not going to stop there. We're going to create a corridor through Africa and make this ride a universal event that people can ride all the way from North to South Africa.
These are the amazing people who have helped us get the Long Ride To Freedom off the ground in 2019.
When James approached me for help in organising the Long Ride To Freedom I wasn't quite sure what to expect. It quickly became apparent however that James's vision was a thing of pure beauty.
Exciting, challenging and most importantly vital in our time of the Fourth Industrial Revolution for helping everyone's education, particularly for our children, to tackle joblessness by the digital impact in the near future. Our cycling journey here is symbolic about the challenges we face everyday and the immense possibilities that teamwork can reach as opposed to thinking just of ourselves, the individual.
This journey wouldn't be at all possible without everyone working together and helping each other pull through our darker moments. Riding a bike is always great, but riding as a team is so much better. Proud and inspired to be at the start of this amazing life changing adventure...
Owner of Global Cycling Tours
Interests: Cycling in any shape or form and sharing the passion with like minded people, technology, being involved in making a difference in improving people's lives.
I joined the Long Ride To Freedom initiative to support James's vision and Mark's planning in anyway I'm able to. Be it cycling with the Cycle The Cape reconnaissance team or being available to assist where I can technologically.
I'm passionate about the development and upliftment of those who haven't had the opportunity in life that I've been privileged to acquire.
The reality and threat of The Fourth Industrial Revolution is unknown to many who live in our beautiful country. Being given the opportunity to be a small part of this visionary team is both humbling and inspirational.
Bike: Scott Contessa (The Pink Stallion)
Interests: Cycling, yoga, adult education, learning and development
When I heard about the ride I thought it was an amazing opportunity to see more of beautiful SA while supporting an incredible vision to help transform education and job creation as part of the 4th Industrial Digital Revolution.
This project makes technology available to help a lot of South Africans move into the digital space empowered with future fit tech skills so nobody is left behind and we can clean up our planet in the process.
I'm really proud and grateful to be part of the recce group.
Bike: Bianchi Infinito
Interests: Cycling, Reading, Spirituality, Sports and Nutrition
To be part of something that is great. I love my riding, I find it very spiritual to be out there on my bike enjoying nature and fresh air.
Cycling has given me so much and I love to be able to give it back to people by way of the sport. This seemed like the perfect opportunity to support James and his vision.
When we draw out last breathe, the one thing we would like more of is time. Time with our loved ones, time to let go of our fear and learn to forgive and love and move forward. This project is about community and healing and that is why I'm supporting this initiative.
Retired grandfather of two and cycle tour guide extraordinaire
James got to drive with Brian behind the team in the support van and saw first hand the conditions they cycled in as well as the important work Brian had to do to ensure the safety of the team. Now retired, Brian enjoys his grandchildren and helping Mark with tours at Cycle The Cape.
Mpho and James met one another through the Ecommerce Forum Africa in Cape Town. Since then, she has helped James connect the dots with other people like Buhle who runs her amazing National Cycling Academy.
Mpho runs her own Ecommerce store called SintuOnline, selling African Heritage Inspired Clothing and Accessories and heads up the Women In Digital Economy at the Ecommerce Forum Africa.
Mpho and James have other projects lined up for women who run their own businesses and this will come out over time.
Since we hadn't done the journey before and didn't have all our own all-inclusive photos of the riders we want to see on this ride every year, Mpho put James in contact with Buhle who gave us the permission to use her photos for our promo video.
Of the NCAF, Buhle says, "We're cyclists and bicycle lovers who want only the best-quality and sustainable development cycling programs for our academies. We're not charity, just riders who want to showcase our talent! Let's Level Up and that's why we formed the National Cycling Academy Forum (NCAF): an organisation for Rural and Township cycling enthusiasts aiming to transform the face of cycling. The very best riding talent under one roof, with future Olympic champions"
The NCAF mandate is to:
- Introduce schools + as many previous disadvantaged individuals to Cycling
- Transformation and development of Cycling
- Identify and Develop champions
- Deliver High exposure in Previously Disadvantaged Areas (PDA)
- Social cohesion and integration
- Creation of Cycling business industries
- Develop, Support and nurture cycling in PDA (train mechanics, coaches, administrators and event organizers)
- Deliver high exposure in PDA through Criterium Races
We have asked Buhle and Sarah of Bicycle Adventure Club to help identify a young female Social Entrepreneur whose story we can tell on this journey to inspire other young women to rise and inspire those around her.
Long distance cycling in South Africa is not common so we watched a bunch of YouTube videos to see if there was footage of someone cycling in SA to capture the landscape. We found Alex cycling alone and started looking for him online and eventually found the company he is working at. After a call to Alex and a few emails back and forth, he gave us permission to use his footage for the promo video until we have our own footage.
Alex runs the first LGBTIQ+ cycling website called Velocity Club and we cannot wait to have them join the Long Ride To Freedom too.
Rozelle and James met one another when we at Vane Digital pitched for the website work at Kromco, a large packing facility for farmers of apples and pears in the Western Cape.
With a lot of logisitics and ecommerce experience, and now running her own Virtual Assistant business at Q' Life Xtreme, James asked Rozelle to help us connect the dots between the farmers so that we can bring them together on the Long Ride To Freedom and educate the farmers about using ecommerce to bypass expensive supermarkets.
Incredibly organised, Rozelle jumped in and started planning. She has since moved to Ireland and will help us raise the funds from foundations overseas for the projects we have planned at the Decentralised Innovation Villages we plan to build following the Long Ride To Freedom fibre optic route.
Global Cycling Tours - Marketing
Every day, after a long day's ride, the Recce Riders would send us all their photos in a WhatsApp group and would give their feedback on the day's ride. With this feedback, Caity would create videos with the background music of the theme songs Shanel chose for the team on the day when they needed encouragement into the winds and up the hills.
A massive thank you Caity for your time and efforts with these videos that we could use to quickly send onto more people.
Sarah met James 18 years ago cycling down the West Coast of the United States. Sarah very recently left her job to start Bicycle Adventure Club in the United Kingdom and has been instrumental at helping the team at Leaderless with ideas to get the Long Ride To Freedom exposed to other parts of the world.
In the name of collaboration in the face of digital disruption and potential job losses, we're going to ask Sarah and Buhle to identify a young female entrepreneur with serious grit to help her and one other cycle around the world, to expose them to new ideas and to bring those ideas back to the Decentralised Innovation Villages we plan to build and to execute those ideas to help clean up our planet.
Fellows Of Fire
Like-minded in every way, this phenomenal group of people who come together twice a year to pool their professional networks together are fully backing the Leaderless Long Ride To Freedom. Without their support and connections to their networks things would happen a lot slower.
A special thanks to Satish, Buyani, Anne-Marie, Adheesh, Sechaba and Adri for your faith in us!.
Ecommerce Forum Africa
It just so happened that James' business coach, Albert van Niekerk, told him that he needs to find his blue waters and some people were starting to ask for Ecommerce websites in 2015, the same year that the Ecommerce Forum Africa started to encourage the uptake of Ecommerce into Africa.
A special thanks to Alastair, Simon, Adheesh, Mpho, Dylan, Luisa, Paris, Rieka, Shahrain, Tebogo and Brent for your immense commitment to continue the growth of Ecommerce and to create new jobs in Africa.
Workshop17 and Ginja restaurant
The Long Ride To Freedom will annually end at Nobel Square at the V&A waterfront to honour those leaders who came before us and helped carve out the journey that is the story of South Africa.
A special thank you to Workshop17 who will allow us to use their premises to do our talks at when we end the ride but also a special thank you to the Ginja restaurant for sponsoring a dinner for the weary Recce Rider cyclists rode hard for 14 days. It was a truly spectacular dinner.
Over the years, we have chosen to work with clients who we knew will be able to help us in our vision for the future. If it were not for your continued support, your profits would not make this possible.
Thank you Paul and Letitia of Equalizer. Kelly from Greenleaf Olive Company. Philip, Luckhoff and Kayla from Kromco. Sarah from Learning Tools. Sandy from Zenues. Amanda, Oom Piet and Ilze-Mare from Karsten. Brett and Anke from Vintage View. Jeanne and Celestine from Helderberg Hospice. Louise from Clients Matter, Antoine from Le-Coquin. Lisa from Lisa Reid Photography. All our clients at Stellenbosch University, Denis at QuoinRock, Marile at Wineland's Radiology, Edgar at Topsteel. Hannetjie at SolarJuice.
Our incredible staff:
Without the team at Vane Digital who believe in the vision, none of this would have come to life. For your incredible patience, thank you Paula, Raj, Klaudio and the rest of the team for believing and putting in the time.
There is just no way that we as a country can move forward without the unwritten laws that make up our core principles and values which Madiba clearly embodied as a human being to follow. Without these deeply embedded principles, one would lead any country into chaos and disarray.
Especially in these times right now, when there are significant changes happening in our world and to our environment, where there will be further job losses to technology, there is no other way than to truly help our next door neighbour come out of the poverty they are in.
The ongoing annual Mandela Day where we give just 67 minutes of our time is a start. Our goal at the Leaderless Long Ride To Freedom is to extend these 67 minutes and build Decentralized Innovation Villages for Social Entrepreneurs who use their profits for purpose so that we can really live out the vision Mandela had for our country and the world at large.
From an inside out approach; from sitting 27 years in jail to truly contemplate life and to come out the other side and say that you would do it all over again in the same way, that is what we're grateful for - the service and sacrifice that continues to inspire a nation to get up and do more.
Thank you Mandela.