cape town - 130215 -  71 year old amputee, Ren Brand from Fishhoek, is preparing for the upcoming Pick n Pay Argus Cycle Tour. He is seen here wearing a prosthetic limb custom-made for cycling. Reporter: Kieran Legg. pic: Jason Boud
cape town - 130215 - 71 year old amputee, Ren Brand from Fishhoek, is preparing for the upcoming Pick n Pay Argus Cycle Tour. He is seen here wearing a prosthetic limb custom-made for cycling. Reporter: Kieran Legg. pic: Jason Boud

You can't keep a determined cyclist down

By Time of article published Feb 18, 2013

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He was left for dead, bleeding out after a car ploughed into his bike.
But three years later, 71-year-old Ren Brand is alive and well and ready to get back in the saddle.
 
On March 10, Brand will be setting off on the Cape Argus Pick n Pay Cycle Tour and finally realising the moment a negligent motorist denied him three years ago.
 
In 2010, Brand was, as part of training for the Cycle Tour, and was riding up Ou Kaapse Weg with a friend, when a car smashed into him from behind. The driver didn't stop for the injured sports veteran and instead sped off into the distance.
 
"I was losing so much blood. Fortunately I had someone with me or else I would've died," he said. "They stuck me in the ambulance and shot me down to Groote Schuur."
Brand's injuries were severe, and his right leg was eventually amputated from the knee. He spent three painful months in hospital. Lying crippled in his hospital bed, the security consultant vowed that losing his leg wouldn't be a death sentence.
 
"I told myself that as soon as I could I would get back on my bike," he said.
 
Over the past three years, with the help of his friends, family, the Recyclers Cycling Club and a custom prosthetic leg, Brand has been straddling the saddle every day and slowly regaining his strength.
 
He said it hasn't been easy. It has been difficult adjusting to a life where even the simplest tasks require incredible effort. But he said being on his bike kept him sane when everything became too much.
 
"It's the one time where I feel like everything is normal," he said. "I feel I have no limitations."
 
On March 10, Brand will be setting off with everybody else on the cycle tour and finally realising the moment a negligent motorist denied him three years ago.
 
"I was thinking of this moment when I was lying in hospital," he said.
 
He said the removal of Boyes Drive from the event's 110km route has made it easier for amputees such as himself. "Many people had to walk their bikes up the hill," he added.
 
While Brand tries not to dwell on the accident, he is still angry that the driver who smashed into him was never convicted.
 
Police were able to track down the suspect because his number plate fell off during the collision. But the driver was later acquitted.
 
"It was a real knock for me when that guy walked out of court," he said. "I lose a leg, other people lose their lives - there just doesn't seem to be justice anymore."
 
Brand will not only be riding for his club, the Recyclers, on race day but will also be cycling to promote the "Safe at 1.5m" initiative. 
 

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