How the Buggy Teams Came Into Being
A tiny seed that was planted years ago has been germinating over the last few years and is now blossoming into a bright and beautiful reality. In 2011, after Deirdré made a decision to do the Cape Town Cycle Tour in March 2012, and planning to do all of her training with Damian, close friends surprised them on Damian’s 13th birthday with a bike and buggy – with a whisper of an idea that the Cycle Tour could now be the next adventure they could enjoy together. Training began immediately, with Faith in Motion Productions documenting the progress in an effort to help the team’s vision of creating awareness of just how much is possible for differently-abled children.
Deirdré applied for permission from the Cycle Tour for Damian to participate in his buggy attached to her bike. Permission was denied, and Deirdré, along with Gary and Helena Willicott who had set the dream in motion with the new buggy, met with the organizers to discuss their concerns and reasons for rejecting her request. Deirdré had no other choice but to do the 2012 Cape Town Cycle Tour without Damian.
When entries opened for the 2013 Cape Town Cycle Tour, Deirdré was quick to approach the organisers again, and this time she was met not only with an approval, but with the full support of the Cycle Tour who proceeded to change the rules of the race and implement safety measures and procedures to ensure the best possible experience for the buggy teams. Deirdré and Damian got to realise the first part of their dream – to experience the spirit of the Cape Town Cycle Tour together. They were joined by 3 other buggy teams from another NPO, and have since cycled in support of the this charity buggy team another 3 cycle tours. Due to an increase in Damian’s size, the last two years Damian was towed by a volunteer rider, Wolf Stinnes, with Deirdré taking the role of support rider.
In December 2015, after many years of dreaming and previous attempts to form an organisation focused on sharing adventures with other children with disabilities, Warrior On Wheels Foundation was born through the efforts and support of Deirdré’s fiance, Rod Wannenburgh who has been the driving force in actualising the vision. At the launch, former Race Director of the Cape Town Cycle Tour, Renée Jordaan emphasised about the buggy teams that “they are not the warriors on wheelchairs in the Cycle Tour, they are the warriors on wheels, just like 35,000 other cyclists.” The 2017 Cape Town Cycle Tour will be the beginning of the goal of seeing more and more buggy teams participating in this iconic annual event as well as other cycling events and leisure rides in future.
To get involved, contact the WOW team on firstname.lastname@example.org or 078 567 6689 / 082 900 2208