'Out on a limb’: Long ride for motivation

2012-03-13 00:00

TWO city motorcyclists, who have lost two lower legs and a kidney between them, plan to ride across Europe and Africa to raise money for disabled people and other charities.

On their 28 000 km ride in 100 days, dubbed “Out on a Limb”, Bushy McKelvey and Hylton Smith will produce a documentary series with the international production company In The Dark productions.

They’ll also visit and help numerous humanitarian and environmental non-governmental organisations along the way.

“The Out on a Limb campaign has been a dream that I have been working on for the last two years,” McKelvey told The Witness. It sets out to encourage and motivate people and to help them use their talents, passions and strengths to help uplift others.

McKelvey, who has prosthetic legs, lost both lower legs in two accidents. Smith, a former provincial champion, lost a kidney after a serious crash into a tree at an off-road race in Swaziland.

They hope to raise funds for the Association for the Physically Challenged in New England Road and to assist the White Cross Children’s Home for orphans and children with diseases and disabilities in Ashburton.

McKelvey first sat on a motorcycle for the first time at the age of four. He said he has ridden all the tracks in South Africa and was involved in short circuit racing until the first accident in 1999, in Newcastle, which claimed his left leg.

“Initially it was difficult but, by the third day in hospital, I decided that there is nothing that I can do about this and that I was going to live my life and continue doing what I love, riding my bike.”

Soon afterwards he bought himself a superbike and was doing track days in Kyalami, outside Johannesburg. Then, while riding his bike in Hayfields in 2008, a car hit McKelvey and he lost part of his other leg.

“I told myself that I had to get on with my life and I wasn’t going to let this change who I was. The second time around it was a lot easier and I decided that I wanted to help disabled people and that I was going to do it riding my bike.”

They’ll be setting off from the Isle of Man, between England and Ireland, May 25 and are scheduled to arrive Durban on September 1. “It has been a massive thing to plan and there’s still many challenges ahead,” said McKelvey.

“We still need sponsors and I’ve never been an off-road rider so I’m training to learn and adapt with Hylton.” Smith, who participated in the United Arab Emirates Desert Challenge in Dubai since his accident, has spent the past year giving Mc-Kelvey training on off-road riding.

Follow them on www.outonalimb.co.za or the Out On A Limb Facebook group.

• Out On A Limb is holding a fundraising dinner at the Victoria Country Club, Pietermaritzburg, tomorrow. Please RSVP to McKelvey on 083 419 5414.

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