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Cycalive bike ride a life altering event



After a two-year hiatus, Cycalive is back on the roads. This bridge-building initiative departed from the Nelson Mandela Foundation on Sunday, 14 August, with cyclists making their way from Johannesburg to Durban, a 700 km journey.

Grade 11 students from Soweto schools Pace College and Moletsane High, and Africa Tikkun students from Orange Farm joined their counterparts from Torah Academy Boys High to take on the tough five-day challenge.

Joining them from Israel are students from Beit Shemesh, brought here through the Israel Centre and Partnership 2Gether.

Torah Academy Principal Rabbi Dovid Hazdan created the first ever Cycalive in 1998, a project initiated by his Grade 11 students. More than 20 years later, this remarkable event continues to have an impact on participants and their communities.

Cycalive brings students of all backgrounds and religions together to get to know and understand each other using the bicycle as a medium. “This experience is so much more than a bike ride,” says Rabbi Motti Hadar, the principal of Torah Academy Boys High. “Each day, students ride about 150km in relays, with groups of five riding 10km to 15km at a time. Teamwork is essential for the students to ride as a group and stay safe on the roads. The energy and camaraderie are incredible!”

It’s not an easy journey, and concentration is needed at all times to deal with huge potholes, speeding trucks, and slow-moving cows. The best evidence of togetherness occurs on the uphills, in which everyone shouts encouragement. As the hills seem to get steeper, they keep going, knowing that on the fifth day, they will cycle into Durban at sea level to the cheers of the Durban Jewish community and a well-earned dinner. That goal keeps their feet pedalling, and for some, it will be their first time they put their toes in the ocean.

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