Standers are sorely miss­ing Burry

Saturday Star - - NEWS - DUN­CAN GUY

KWAZULU-NATAL cy­cling leg­end Burry Stander would have turned 30 to­day.

Since his death in 2013, af­ter he was hit by a taxi on the South Coast, the Burry Stander Bike Park has been opened on the small­hold­ing near Port Shep­stone where he grew up and trained on the trails.

His mother, Mandie, said the Stander fam­ily no longer rode on pub­lic roads at all: “We know it is not safe.”

Mandie also said she and her hus­band, Charles, were still lear ning to deal with Burry’s death.

“Some days are okay and oth­ers are re­ally bad. You will never cope. I have a very spe­cial bond with all my chil­dren. I re­ally miss Burry so, so much. Noth­ing will ever be the same. I think the whole fam­ily is still strug­gling.”

To­day, lo­cal singer Ian Smith will en­ter­tain his fans at a pic­nic in the park. All 150 tick­ets have been sold out, said Mandie.

“We all love moun­tain bik­ing and the idea be­hind the park is to give cy­clists safe trails where they can ride,” she said.

“It is work­ing well. We have made so many new friends and ev­ery­one loves these trails.”

To give back to cy­cling, the Burry Stander Foun­da­tion started cy­cling de­vel­op­ment pro­grammes in ru­ral ar­eas.

“It’s amaz­ing to see all the kids com­ing to the park and rid­ing bikes. We make sure all kids com­ing to the park feel wel­come. They ride their bikes, play and we give them a meal.

“The more tal­ented ones are in a team. They have to teach the other kids. We bought bet­ter bikes for the team and we take them to races.”

The aim is not only to pro­mote rid­ing, but also road safety.

“We hope that teach­ing them to ride bi­cy­cles at a young age, one day when they are driv­ers, they will know why they need to have re­spect for all road users and no­tice cy­clists more.”

Mandie lamented the fact that South African roads re­mained danger­ous.

“Daily, you hear of another cy­clist be­ing knocked off their bi­cy­cles. The new norm is also hit-and-run.”

Mandie added that the foun­da­tion had placed two older cy­clists on a me­chan­i­cal train­ing pro­gramme.

“One is now work­ing at a lo­cal bike shop and the other one has a con­tract with the KwaZulu-Natal Cy­cling De­vel­op­ment.”

The fam­ily also started the “#bikes4Burry” in which two schools are in­volved.

“We gave them bikes, hel­mets and equip­ment. They have a teacher ap­pointed to the pro­gramme and we in­ter­act with them on a reg­u­lar ba­sis.

“They cy­cle in school time but also have to learn how to main­tain the bi­cy­cles.”

She said it was work­ing well, but that fund­ing was a prob­lem.

“Un­for­tu­nately KZN Cy­cling De­vel­op­ment de­cided on a dif­fer­ent pro­gramme and the Burry Stander Foun­da­tion is no longer part of this.

“We also have a “#hel­met4Burry” pro­gramme. We stop peo­ple who are not wear­ing hel­mets and ex­plain to them how nec­es­sary it is and hand them out. We want to get more in­volved in road safety is­sues.”

Taxi drive r Njabulo Nya­wose was sen­tenced to six years’ jail, half of which were sus­pended, af­ter be­ing found guilty of cul­pa­ble homi­cide.

Cy­cling leg­end Burry Stander, who would have turned 30 to­day, is missed ‘so, so much’ by his mother, Mandie.

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