Ottmar keeps wheels turning

The Kiwanibike fundraising ride will celebrate its 30th year when it takes to the roads on Sunday, 10 December. If all goes well, one of the cyclists lining up at the start at Blow Holes will be Ottmar Weber, who will be taking part in his 28th Kiwanibike event.

Ottmar started cycling shortly after winning a racing bike at a Rotary Club auction.

“What happened I was betting with another fellow and I won the bike. It was a Bianchi racing bike. I had never raced so it was my first bike,” he recalled.

According to Ottmar he had always wanted to be a cyclist, but as his father had never bought him a bicycle, it had taken him quite a while to realise his dream.

The first event on the calendar after Ottmar acquired his bike was the Kiwanis Bikeathon.

“The opportunity came up with the Bikeathon, so I thought let me do it because I have a nice bike.”

However, as Ottmar was to find out, it’s not about the bike. The event proved much more challenging than he had anticipated and with no training and no experience it took him “forever” – an hour and 45 minutes to his recollection – to make the trek from Blow Holes to Smith Cove. However, rather than becoming disheartened and giving up, Ottmar rose to the challenge and started training.

The next year, instead of taking the bus out to Blow Holes, he rode his bike all the way out there from his home in Snug Harbour, and then rode back with the rest of the cyclists. He has been doing so ever since.

“I became so good at it that I won lots of medals,” recalls Ottmar. “I kept on racing and continued with the Bikeathon every year. I was always eager to get the most sponsorship and win the prizes. The good camaraderie and the crowd meant it is always a great event.”

Ottmar took his fundraising riding well beyond the Kiwanis event, doing two big solo endurance rides as well to help raise funds for various organisations. The first, attempted on his 60th birthday in 2002, was a six hour endurance ride during which Ottmar covered 117 miles while raising money for the Friend of the Deaf Association. Then in 2005 he did a five hour endurance ride to raise money for the National Recovery Fund and the Cayman Islands Natural Bodybuilding Association.

“I always like to help wherever I can, especially if it is through sports, because I love sports,” says Ottmar.

Cycling has certainly kept him in good shape, as according to Ottmar he still enjoys riding 60 to 70 miles over the weekend.

As for allowing anyone else to come close to his record number of Kiwanibike participations, Ottmar says he is not quite ready to allow anyone else to take his crown.

“As long as I am healthy I will keep on cycling in it.”

Cyclists and their bicycles will be picked up from Smith Cove at 6am and taken to the start at the Blow Holes in East End from where they will set out at 7am to make their way back to Smith Cove.

Cyclists who raise a minimum of $30 in pledges will receive an event T-shirt, refreshments and be entered into a prize draw. Those who raise $150 or more will be entered into a special draw to win a bicycle.

For more information on the event, visit kiwanis.ky.

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