Pointer continues Tour de la Vache for CHOC

Following an idea generated nearly ten years ago, Jeremy Pointer continues to raise awareness for the CHOC Childhood Cancer Foundation of South Africa through his annual Tour de la Vache.

As an avid follower of the Tour de France and a keen cyclist himself, Pointer decided to try and emulate the riders of the Tour and use that as a way to raise awareness for the Cows.

“I’ve never set any particular distance or climbing to achieve, but just simply to spend some time on a bike every day (and because the professionals go out on “rest” days, I would too). I usually try to mix up the rides, some indoor, some MTB, some road, some commutes,” Pointer said.

“Early on I added the Cow onesie to the challenge. I’ve occasionally asked the social media audience if I should change this, but overwhelmingly the response has always been to keep it, so every year as TDF comes around I now do my own little Le Tour de la Vache (The tour of the cow).

“Every day I don the onesie and whether it be indoors or outdoors, off I go!”

Getting on a bicycle wasn’t something that Pointer took to as a young person, but it was something that he discovered later in life and helped turn his life around.

“Apart from childhood cycling and a brief stint of solo riding as an adult in the 1990s, I was never a cyclist. In 2008, when applying for an insurance policy while weighing close to 130kg, and not able to get a good blood pressure reading, I realised that I was heading for serious medical issues if I didn’t change my lifestyle.

“So in 2009 I bought myself an entry-level MTB and an indoor trainer (basic resistance) and started pedalling, slowly at first, then adventuring outside for short rides which became gradually longer. My current goal is to get in about 200km a week – I am actually exceeding that most of the time – and the occasional often solo long ride.”

Pointer’s commitment to the cause was tested this year due to a few devastating circumstances, however Pointer continued in his efforts which shows his dedication to helping CHOC.

“This year was memorable for a number of challenging reasons: On the seventh day of the Tour my stepfather passed away, and then on the seventh last day my father had heart surgery with complications and he has not woken up.

“Despite these difficulties, I kept up the challenge. This has never been about me or what I could achieve, but rather about raising awareness around the work of CHOC and for the children and families that benefit from the work they do.

“Difficulties just encourage me more, as I am reminded that what the children and their families go through is far more difficult than sweating a little, or the little bit of physical suffering I endure,” he added.

It was a good effort from Pointer as he broke down the numbers of his 2023 Tour de la Vache.

“In total this year I managed to squeeze in 695km with 7401m of ascent in just over 26 hours of riding. This might not be a lot for many people out there, but fitting in work, hospital visits, other responsibilities, and working around the load shedding this year, meant that I barely stopped being busy in one way or the other, so I will take that,” he mentioned proudly.