The FAW80 Cycle Challenge was started in 2016 by animal lovers and mountain-biking enthusiasts, long-time FAW volunteer Belinda and her husband Neil van Tonder. The goal was to challenge riders to do a non-stop trek for 480km to raise funds and awareness for FAW and animal sterilisations in the township. Each rider pays his or her own way and many sponsors have come on board to help with support vehicles, radio contact, media, and donating of funds. And it really has made a huge difference!
The first challenge saw 15 people riding from central Oudtshoorn to Meerendal, Durbanville non-stop in 30 hours. The aim: raise R20 000 for animal sterilisations. The result? R35 000 raised! They rode from 6AM on 21 May and arrived at 12 noon the following day, riding through the night.
The next year, they went big with 20 riders, 11 support stars…and a goal of R50 000 – and they did it! They even made the ride a little longer, ending in Melkbosstrand. Every cent raised went towards renovating a container and kitting it out as an on-site surgery for animal sterilisations and surgeries like stitching up wounds. Not long after, they began planning for the next one…
The 2018 FAW80 Cycle Challenge took place from 28 – 29 April 2018 and saw 19 riders and 4 support stars tackling a brand-new route from Calvinia to Cape Town N1 City. Each rider had to raise enough for at least 2 sterilisations to be able to join the team on this great adventure.
In 2019 it was time to head back to the Karoo and this time the chosen town for the FAW80 Challenge departure was Prince Albert. With the Karoo now a more permanent fixture on the Faw80 calendar, the organiser decided to go back to their roots and selected Oudtshoorn as the venue to start the 2020 Faw80 Challenge from. This event has been postponed to later in the year and was replaced by the FAW80 Lockdown Challenge due to Covid 19.