Meet the 2017 Buggy Teams

Meet the Warriors

Damian Gower
18 Years Old
Damian has loved the outdoors, animals, and adventure from a young age and will be turning 18 years old in November this year. He has an incredible attitude and zest for life, and is always up for trying something new. Damian is no stranger to the Cycle Tour, having participated in the past four. The first two, he was towed by mom, Deirdre, but for the last two, and the upcoming 2017 Cycle Tour, he has a fantastic partnership with super-human cyclist, Wolf Stinnes. The Cape Town Cycle Tour has been the highlight of each year for us, and Damian loves being a part of the spirit and camaraderie on the road. As always, we want to express our gratitude and immense respect for the organisers of the Cycle Tour for the lengths they have gone to in making it possible for the buggy teams to participate, and ensure safety for all.
Zeah Dammes
11 Years Old
Zeah is 11 years old. She loves going away on vacations out of town. She also loves watching her favourite TV shows and going to eat at restaurants. She enjoys going on the train to Simons Town and feeding the birds in parks around Cape Town. What her family say about her participation in the Cape Town Cycle Tour 2017: "We are very excited about Zeah participating in the cycle tour next year, I feel that this will be a great experience for her to enjoy something that only a few have a chance of being part of. Her entire family feels blessed by this rare opportunity for Zeah."
Ruan Belcher
19 Years Old
Ruan had a near drowning accident when he was 4½, he has just turned 19. Although Ruan is pretty much dependant on others for all his caretaking, he has come a miraculously long way since his original diagnosis. He is still very dependent on others, but has loads of character, a wonderful sense of humour and is extremely sociable! He also has a very good memory, and we believe it is this that has him so excited about doing the cycle tour. When he was still at “school”, even at crèche, they would usually make a big fuss of all large sporting events, and he hasn’t forgotten any!! When I told him he would be taking part in the “argus” as that is how he remembers it, he gave his extremely excited screech! ! Sorry, I forgot to mention that Ruan is non-verbal, but he does have great body language! Ruan recently obtained a specially adapted tricycle, which he cycles on every day if the weather permits, and when I told him about taking part in the cycle tour, the first thing he did was look outside to where his cycle stands during the day – it took some explaining to get across that he wouldn’t actually be cycling himself. He is, as are we, very excited for Ruan to do this – it is such a joy to be able to include him in “normal” activities and fill his life up with things other boys his age would be doing! He sees all this going on around him, and completely understands it all, so when he too can participate, it opens up a whole new world for him. We, his parents, are extremely grateful for this opportunity for Ruan and extend our most gracious thanks to Warriors on Wheels for considering him a good candidate!! Nothing on earth can replace these types of experiences for guys like Ruan!!
Andry Cloete
16 Years Old
16 Year old Andry has been living at a child and youth care centre since the age of 8 years old. Due to his challenges, he was placed at a school for learners with special needs in 2008. He then could not walk independently and had severe contractures in his leg muscles. He was referred to Tygerberg Orthopaedics and was operated on in 2009 and again in 2010. As part of his rehabilitation he was introduced to a tricycle. He took to cycling very quickly and in 2011 he started participating in inter-club competitions. From 2013 to 2016 he participated in the Western Province trials and was selected to represent Western Province at the SASAPD Nedbank National championships winning 14 silver medals and one bronze medal. He has travelled to Pretoria, Bloemfontein and Stellenbosch. The children’s home has always been more than willing within their fiscal constraints to provide for his participation. Anthony is a very cheerful and dedicated paracyclist who never complains. The cycling has given him purpose and made his family and extended family very proud.

Meet the Super Humans

Wolf Stinnes
Cycling with Damian
When I did my 16th Argus in 2013, I rode with my brother in the international rider group. Right in the group in front of us where a number of differently challenged children being towed in buggies. I turned to him and we spoke how our mentally challenged sister bound to a wheelchair would enjoy such a ride. Immediately after the race I made contact with the driving force behind this initiative and reached Deirdré Gower to sign up for the next year. Sadly I was away overseas for the 2014 race, so my first start was in the shortened race of 2015. And what a pleasure that was, seeing Damian enjoy the ride so much, and being very disappointed about the shortened course. Little did he or I know that in 2016 we would have the pleasure of a long 7 hour ride, and in 2017 we are all looking very much forward to an equally adventurous outing. Being on an avid “weekend warrior” mountain biker and only found on tar for the Cycle Tour, it is with immense joy and fulfilment that I have had the pleasure of making the annual “tar spin” such a meaningful one with Warriors on Wheels.
Fernando Perdigao
Cycling with Zeah
Fernando “NANNY” Perdagio, 42 years old, personal trainer and avid sportsman who is always on the lookout for a challenge. Completed and competed in many races, road as well as mountain – Cape Epic, J2S, Karoo 2 Coast, attakwas, DC, Cape Argus to name a few. This year I decided to ride for a charity, when my girlfriend Tammy went to an event with her daughter Payton who has Rubinstein-Taybi Syndrome, and came home and told me that Warrior On Wheels are entering a team and pulling differently-abled children in buggies, I knew this was something I wanted to be a part of, to help raise funds and awareness that no matter what your challenges are in life, we are all able.
Ettienne Wilsnagh
Cycling with Ruan
When my baby brother Nicholas-James was born 42 years ago with Spina-Befida our entire world as a family was transformed and life as we knew it would never be again. Each one of us were now introduced to the life of a families with disabilities. The years to follow were challenging but in some strange a blessing. It made each of us sensitive to the plight of the disabled and conscious of the challenges disabled people face each day. Later in Nicholas life he became a bit of an athlete after being donated a three wheeler. For most of his young adult life to all of our amazement he participated in long distance events that he always completed against the odds. Sadly however in his early 30’s the impact of his condition forced him to completely stop racing. Not just the loss of a kidney but also the worsening of the condition of his spine lead to what had become a very depressing period in his life. For many years I was looking for and opportunity to dedicate and event to him. As a relatively knew cyclist and with me completing my first full August tour in 2016 this moment presented this opportunity to me. While riding up Smiths Winkel in the 2016 tour I past one of the warriors and as I looked over in that moment I saw the joy on his young passengers face. This young girl was smiling from ear to ear and in that moment in knew how I could dedicate an event to Nicholas-James. As fate would have it I met Fernando who introduced me to you and here we are. I have the opportunity through my cycling to not only bless another disabled child but I also have that opportunity to dedicate this event to Nicholas-James and to recognise his struggle and courage…
Jamie Litt
Cycling with Andry
I moved to Cape Town from London 7 years ago and left behind my corporate life as a lawyer. I transformed my passion for bicycles into a business and now run a small bicycle workshop that customizes and creates vintage and retro bicycles called Ubuntu Bikes. I am kept busy outside of work with 2 small boys with endless energy and a very busy home life. Whenever time allows I split it between my road bike and my mountain bike. After becoming dissatisfied with racing bikes in recent years I decided to do something different for this Cycle Tour and give someone else the opportunity to experience the beauty of carless Cape roads on a bicycle. Warriors on Wheels have provided that perfect opportunity for me!

Meet the Support Riders

André Ferreira
Support Rider to Damian & Wolf
Working in IT (i.e. sitting stationary for most of the day!), requires one to be active when not at work. I've been cycling for about 20 years now, mostly on mountain, well, actually, I do own a road bike but it's welded to my indoor trainer. Ive done lots of races and use to race as a mixed pair with my wife. Well, she raced, I just tried my best to keep up. I've done a couple of Double Century's, the Sani, about 6 Attakwas races and, of course the Cycle Tour. I think I have done about 7 of them, culminating in the last one during which about a third of the field (wisely) did not pitch up to the start, and the rest of us fairly got blown off the road. I vowed never to ride it again. However, sneaking up on 50, I decided it was probably time to do the Tour again, but did not really find the idea of "just" riding for a time all that meaningful. It was around that time the Wolf, my colleague at work, introduced me to the Warriors on Wheels concept, finishing off with the fact that there were a few spots available for support riders. The concept immediately resonated with me and I signed up. We who are able, often take the blessing of being able to move around at will, and do pretty much what we want physically, for granted. I think it's very important and valuable to be reminded of that blessing, but also be shown that just because one might not be physically able, does not mean one is not able.The world is there for all of use to experience and I am privileged to be helping in some small way.
Tammy du Bois
Support Rider for Zeah & Fernando
I'm 33years old, mom of two gorgeous girls, Tayla 13 and Payton 7, I'm also a business owner of a waterless mobile car wash company. I'm passionate about health and fitness and have a love for adventure and the outdoors. Why I've gotten involved with Warrior On Wheels is because I have a daughter who is intellectually challenged and wanted to get more involved in a support group while adding adventure to her life by encouraging her that due to her disability there are no limits to what a child of her nature is capable of doing. It will also be my first Argus and why not do it for a great cause...knowing what I am doing it for, will get me to the finish line 😉
André de Stadler
Support Rider to Ruan & Ettienne
Story to be updated
Ingo Stinnes
Support Rider to Andry & Jamie
Story to be updated