January 3 is a date which will live on in the lives of those who love cycling and those who loved Burry Stander.
It was on this date five years ago that he died in a collision with a taxi in Shelly Beach, while on his way home after a training ride.
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The news of the death of the vastly popular cyclist, who represented South Africa at the 2012 Olympics, reverberated around the cycling world.
Each year local cyclists now gather together for the Burry Stander Memorial Ride (and now walk) at the Burry Stander Bike Park in Umtentweni, which was established by his parents Charles and Mandie.
They are sometimes joined by cyclists from further afield.
It’s a day tinged with sadness, but also with joy as the community remembers one of its sporting heroes.
Mandie said that the event was pleasant and painful at the same time.
“Those that gathered to take part have brought our family much joy. Burry left a legacy which is entirely his own, the things he has done and the way he lived his life. For that reason we will always commemorate his life,” she said.
Charles led the procession of cyclists on the 10km route, which involved a ride up Mushroom Hill, one of Burry’s favourite places to really push himself in training.
“It’s a very long, steep hill. I see why Burry liked it for training,” said Jan Abbott of Port Edward.
Once here, each rider got to write a message on a white stone in memory of Burry.
An obligatory chocolate milk drink (Burry’s favourite when training), was offered by Mandie at the halfway mark.
Policewoman Marina Thorne said January 3 was a day she would remember as the day the South Coast lost a legend in the making.
“This day is not only to remember Burry, but on this day we also get to teach children how to cycle. People get to exercise and as parents we get to see whether our children have talent when it comes to this sport,” she added.
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