Ride across Africa for breast cancer
Plimmerton cycle fanatic Vince Langford is planning a 12,000 kilometre ride of a lifetime in Africa, in memory of his wife and biggest cheerleader Fran, who died of breast cancer last August.
Vince, 57, an engineer on the Aratere Cook Strait ferry, had planned to ride the Tour d’afrique, a mammoth four-month cycle from Cairo to Cape Town, in 2011 with his mate Lindsay Goult.
Fran had intended to drive the route to support him. However, just days after the men floated their African odyssey, she developed back pain, which was diagnosed as breast cancer. She died 14 months later, aged 55.
Now the worst of his grieving is over, Vince has decided to do the ride in 2013, to raise funds for the Cancer Society, who helped him through the tough times during Fran’s chemotherapy.
‘‘Those guys are amazing. It’s such a good cause,’’ he says.
Vince and Fran met at a disco in their native England when they were just 15 years old. Four years later they were married, and emigrated to New Zealand in 1987.
Fran was well- known in Plimmerton as the long- time office administrator for Plimmerton School.
The couple led an adventurefilled life with children Rebecca, 24, and Michael, 22 – fishing, cycling, sailing, even paragliding.
‘‘We had a great life together. Some people never get that,’’ Vince says.
Fran’s diagnosis was a great shock as she had regular cancer checks after having several family members die of the disease. ‘‘It just goes to show how cancer can arrive, and bang,’’ Vince says.
At 11,718 km, the Tour d’afrique is the world’s longest endurance cycle event. Vince will join about 50 other riders for the gruelling ride, sleeping in tents by night and having to carry most of his gear, including repair kit, on his bike. The ride will cost him US$14,000, plus flights.
Vince is super fit – he rides hundreds of kilometres every week, is a keen marathon runner and once did the Coast to Coast race in just one day. He’s not sure what to expect in Africa next year, however.
‘‘I’m just going to fumble my way through,’’ he says.
‘‘I’d prefer to have it all as one big surprise.’’
Vince’s friend Lindsay Goult, who did ride the Tour d’afrique in 2011, has set up a website which will track Mr Langford’s odyssey and collect donations for the Cancer Society.
To donate to Vince Langford’s Cancer Society fund, visit vinceridesforcancer.com
Rough ride: Plimmerton man Vince Langford will ride 12,000 kilometres across Africa next year in memory of wife Fran, who died of breast cancer last August, and to raise money for the Cancer Society.