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Pre-dawn rides to remember cyclists’ friend

DURBAN’S close-knit cycling community on one of the memorial rides to pay tribute to legendary Durban cyclist Gray Braatvedt. Cyclists met at Bike and Bean at 5am and they rode two easy circuits in 2-up formation. Another is planned for tomorrow. Picture: Shelley Kjonstad/African News Agency(ANA)

DURBAN’S close-knit cycling community on one of the memorial rides to pay tribute to legendary Durban cyclist Gray Braatvedt. Cyclists met at Bike and Bean at 5am and they rode two easy circuits in 2-up formation. Another is planned for tomorrow. Picture: Shelley Kjonstad/African News Agency(ANA)

Published May 22, 2021

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Durban - More than 200 cyclists from various clubs Gray Braatvedt belonged to, this week remembered their friend who died a month after falling victim to a hit-and-run driver while cycling in a pre-dawn ride.

At a second ride tomorrow, expected to gather even more riders, the Lion Match statue is scheduled to give three roars in Braatvedt’s honour.

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He died on Sunday after being in a coma for a month after a hit-and-run crash in Berea. He had been cycling at the time.

“Gray belonged to all the clubs,” said Daryl Harris, chairman of East Coast Cycling Club.

“He would stick around with one and move along to join another.”

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Harris said that some months before the accident, he had suggested to Braatvedt, 58, that he return to East Coast.

“He replied that he wanted to be able to ride with everyone whenever he wished. He said he wanted to spend time with all the clubs.”

They were all represented among those who gathered at 5am on a cold Wednesday, Harris said.

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He said Braatvedt had come 25th in the then-Argus (now Cape Town Cycle Tour) in 1985 and 22 years later come 95th in the Tour d’Urban. He had completed these races as well as the Amashova in under three hours, which is considered “the holy grail” in local cycling.

He also once completed the 94.7 event, in Joburg, on a Unicycle to raise funds for autism awareness, crossing the finishing line 26 seconds before the cut-off time eight hours after the start.

Harris said an even bigger turnout was expected for another memorial ride on Sunday, starting at the Pirates Club car park at 6.15am. Riders will proceed to the Lion Match statue at the Point Waterfront that gives out a roar on the hour. Braatvedt’s son, Rivers, will lead the ride.

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The 7am roar will happen three times in honour of Braatvedt. There will also be words from Harris and Rivers and a dedication from Braatvedt’s church.

The Independent on Saturday

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