Dear Reader,

On the 30th of May 2020, a group of 10 middle aged to elderly cyclists, gathered from all over the world, will ride out of Harare and pedal off on mountain bikes in the general direction of Namibia’s Skeleton Coast in the third and toughest so far edition of the Old Legs Tour. In the first edition 2018, four riders rode from Harare to Cape Town via Hotazel and the Kalahari. In the 2019 edition, 10 riders pedalled from Harare to the top of Mt Kilimanjaro via Mukumbura, Cahorra Bassa and Lake Malawi.

Old Legs is an apt name for the Tour. On this year’s Tour, our oldest rider will be 74, with the others in the riding group in their late 50’s and 60’s, plus one young upstart in his mid-40’s. And also in keeping with the general theme of things old and ancient, The Old Legs Tour rides to raise money and awareness for Zimbabwe’s beleaguered pensioners. The generation that built a country have lost their wealth and had their pensions reduced to zero by thirty years of economic stupidity and two bouts of hyperinflation. Doctors, lawyers, farmers, plumbers and engineers, after a lifetime of hard toil and saving have been left with zero. And worse than that, many of Zimbabwe’s pensioners have also lost their families and safety nets, scattered to far corners of the world to try and start their lives over, often from scratch, leaving them in the invidious position of not being able to be there for their parents.  

On the Old Legs Tour, we look to do three things. As already mentioned, we look to do good by helping others; we also look to have fun, loads of it; and most importantly, we look to do epic. Epic is a truly excellent four-letter word and allows you to build memories that will last a lifetime. Epic often involves pain. Here’s how it works. 

You could pedal to Swakopmund from Harare via highways and main roads and get there inside of 2200 kilometres. But riding in amongst trucks and traffic wouldn’t really be epic. A truly epic route would take you out of Zimbabwe via the drama of the seldom seen escarpments of Gokwe, along the upper reaches of Lake Kariba past Msuna and Deka Drum, into Vic Falls and across the iconic Vic Falls Bridge into Zambia, and then along the Zambezi River to Kazungula and then back across the river on the new bridge into Botswana. And then into Namibia at Kutima Mulilo and through the Caprivi Strip on into the harsh Bushmanland and Rundu, Grootfontein and the back of beyond Otiwarongo. And then across to the Skeleton Coast, some of the toughest coastline in the world, littered with the carcasses of dead ships, but hopefully not dead old cyclists. By the time we get to our end point destination of Sossusvlei, we’ll have ridden +/- 3000 kilometres in just 24 ride days, across some of the harshest and most desolate landscapes in Africa. That is properly epic. 

Epic adventures for epic causes require epic sponsorship. Hence this letter. Mostly we’ll be camping, in schools, clinics or often in the middle of nowhere. On average, riders will ride 125 km daily, often on dirt and sand, burning upwards of 4800 calories daily and will require feeding up to 5 times per day. Which equals lots of boiled eggs. We’re looking for sponsors to cover the $15000 required to get 10 riders and a support team of 4 to the Skeleton Coast. Sponsorship is two-way traffic.  Fist p, the Old Legs Tour will be able to offer sponsors hugely good value for money feel good. For example, on the 2019 Tour, we were able to turn every dollar of sponsorship money received into six dollars of donations paid straight to our chosen charities. The $100,000 we raised did a power of good and actually saved lives. Monies raised were spent on medications and operations, on food and shelter for old folk who would otherwise go without. None of the money was spent on staff salaries or administration. 

In addition to the feel good, we are also able to offer sponsors valuable brand exposure, via our social media platforms and webpage and our regular blogs. Towards the end of the Kilimanjaro Tour, our blog was receiving up to as many as 20,000 hits daily. Plus, sponsors will get further brand exposure via our branded vehicles and ride jerseys. And it is important to note that we ride slower than paint dries, which translates into maximum brand exposure on our way through towns like Khorixas, Springbokwasser and Anixab, towns where traditional brand advertising might not normally reach. 

In closing, please support our hugely worthwhile cause. And please follow our 21st Century adventure across some of Africa’s harshest landscapes on Facebook and on www.oldlegstour.co.zw

Thanks and best regards

Eric de Jong and the Old Legs Tour Team.

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