Organisers of The Herald VW Cycle Tour have introduced a brand-new spectator hotspot for the feature race on February 2 and dubbed it the Dream Mile in recognition of beneficiary Reach for a Dream.
Road race director Julie Briggs said the aim of the demarcated stretch along Lakeside Road on the outskirts of Port Elizabeth was to create a Tour de France-style atmosphere, with crowds of people lining the route.
“We’d like to encourage the public to show their support and experience the great vibe of the event.”
Taking place for the 29th year, the 106-kilometre race is the second oldest on the national classic calendar.
The Dream Mile comes shortly after the first portion of the Lake Farm ascent – one of four major climbs on the route – and is the perfect spot to grab a slice of the action, according to Briggs.
“There are grass verges all along Lakeside Road, so bring your camping chairs and cooler boxes and enjoy a great day out in the country.”
She said Reach for a Dream would be selling breakfast rolls, muffins and coffee to help make the wishes of children with life-threatening illnesses come true.
“These kids face an uphill battle of a totally different kind, so we’ve named the spectator spot in their honour.”
Briggs said spectators would also be able to purchase Dream rubber bangles to support the cause.
The non-profit organisation is the official beneficiary of the children’s and family fun rides the previous day.
Manager of the PE branch of Reach for a Dream, Michelle van Huyssteen, said she was delighted with the additional opportunity to raise funds and awareness.
“We’re very proud of our long-standing association with the event and this is a lovely extension of our relationship.”
With rolling road closures in effect, Briggs said the area would be an easily accessible vantage point.
It can be reached via a gravel road, which will be signposted from Kragga Kamma Road. Parking will be available at the Lake Farm Centre on Lakeside Road.
Residents of the centre, which is home to adults with intellectual disabilities, will man the waterpoint for cyclists.
Spectators can also gather at the traditional hotspot on the Maitlands climb, where the king of the mountains will be crowned.
The feature race starts and finishes at the Hobie Beach race village, which will be another key public viewing point.
For details of road closures and spectator points, go to www.heraldcycletour.co.za. For updates, follow @heraldcycletour or find the race on Facebook.
CAPTION: Reach for a Dream PE branch manager Michelle van Huyssteen (right) gives young cyclist Mathew Allen a taste of The Herald VW Cycle Tour’s new Dream Mile. The spectator point on the Lake Farm climb provides the ideal vantage point from which to enjoy the 106km Classic on Sunday, February 2. Photo: Sam Majela