Handcyclist Oliver Sinclair, who has Multiple Sclerosis, will tick off an item on his bucket list when he starts his first aQuellé Tour Durban with his 9-year-old son Tyler at the Moses Mabhida Stadium on Sunday, April 28.
“This will be my first Tour Durban and it will be my first event with my son. I have been waiting nine years for this opportunity,” says Sinclair, a Winston Park resident who was diagnosed with MS 15 years ago.
Bridge Fund Managers, presenting sponsor of the aQuellé Tour Durban, covers the entry fee for all handcyclists and also offers prizes for the leading handcyclists in the 45km race. “I am not a contender,” says Sinclair. “I am just grateful for the opportunity to be out there on the road with my family and friends, and to feel the sun on my face and the wind in my hair.”
Handcycling has provided Sinclair with the opportunity to be involved in sports and not just watch from the sidelines.
Living with MS it is important to be active so that I slow down the deterioration as much as possible. Handcycling gives me that opportunity,” he says.
Sinclair’s road to handcycling began when he started training with a biokineticist. “My condition had deteriorated to such an extent that I could only walk 100m,” he says. “At the same time my wife began running. When she ran her first half-marathon I was at the finish-line and promised I would do a half marathon with her. That was in 2013 and last year we travelled to Victoria Falls and I handcycled my first half marathon with Michelle.”
Sporting a black and white “cow hide” he will be easy to spot on race day. Sinclair is a supporter of The Cows, whose mission is to make a difference to children with cancer and their families by raising money for CHOC Childhood Cancer Foundation SA.
“Just over three years ago I underwent a Stem Cell Transplant, involving one week of high-dose chemotherapy. What got me through those long weeks was the thought that children go through this treatment, some just a few years old. So when I heard of CHOC and what they do it was just a matter of joining the dots.
“No child should go through that and if I can make a small difference to make their lives a little more comfortable then I will try,” he says.
Ari Seirlis, CEO of the QuadPara Association of South Africa, welcomed the news that Bridge Fund Managers will cover the entry fee for handcyclists.
“Handcycling is a very popular sport among quadriplegics and paraplegics and fits in appropriately with a mainstream cycling event such as Tour Durban,” says Seirlis. “QASA commends the sponsor for this investment which will ensure that those handcyclists who cannot afford to compete, get the opportunity to cycle.”
The aQuellé Tour Durban takes place on Sunday, April 28. More information can be found at www.tourdurban.co.za
Main pic, top: Hand cyclist Oliver Sinclair, who will take part in the 45km race at the aQuellé Tour Durban on April 28, seen riding with his wife Michelle. Picture: Supplied/Gameplan Media