Sport & Health Cycling towards a World Record, one heartbeat at a time

Cycling towards a World Record, one heartbeat at a time

South Africans are tackling the rising incidents of cardiac diseases one pedal at a time.


Ordinary citizens making an extraordinary difference, one pedal at a time.

Cape Town, South Africa – Three semi-professional cyclists, 2,200 kilometers and five stops along the way; that’s what it’s going to take to create the world’s largest GPS drawing of a digital ECG (Electrocardiogram) heartbeat on a bicycle and set a Guinness World Record in the process.

This world record attempt is part of the Back to Rhythm campaign, a collaboration between the Philips Foundation, Philips South Africa Commercial (Pty) Limited and the Heart and Stroke Foundation South Africa, (HSFSA) which aims to bring about public awareness and shine a spotlight on heart health.

The Back to Rhythm campaign has been successfully running in Johannesburg and Cape Town since 2nd March 2019 and is now entering the final week where a team of cyclists have embarked on an ambitious segment of the campaign called “Ride to Johannesburg”. 

Riders taking off on their brave journey.

Kevin Benkenstein, Dion Guy and Pieter Seyffertt accompanied by some Philips staff have left Cape Town’s Klein Constantia Estate on Sunday, 31 March 2019 to undertake the challenge of biking 2,200 km across the country in under 5-days. The ambition is to arrive in Johannesburg on Friday, 05 April 2019 – with a Guinness World Record in tow – as a fitting finale of the Back to Rhythm campaign.

Their journey will see them attempt to visually bring South Africa’s heartbeat back to rhythm – creating a digital heartbeat over a 2,200-kilometer distance – to raise awareness and shine a spotlight on heart health.

Their route will see them replicate the pattern of an ECG heartbeat across the varied terrain they are biking through on their 2,200 km journey; whether they qualify for a Guinness World Record will be revealed at the finale at the Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit in Johannesburg on Friday, 5th April.

“I feel very privileged to participate in the Back to Rhythm campaign which has presented me with an opportunity to play a part in creating awareness about cardiac health in the country. Knowing that I am contributing to Philips’ ambition of improving public access defibrillation that can potentially save lives, makes this biking challenge even more meaningful,” says Cape Town-born endurance biker, Kevin Benkenstein.

Benkenstein adds, “To also be attempting to break the Guinness World Record along the way is an extra honour and one that I have worked very hard to be able to achieve. I hope that through our effort we will be able to spread awareness about good heart health and leave an imprint on fellow South Africans. I am thankful for the opportunity to be a part of this challenge and to give back simply by doing what I love, riding a bike across this beautiful country.’’

Community members showing how much heart they have by supporting this great initiative.

Back to Rhythm – Phase 1

Phase 1 of the campaign has been running since early March in communities across Cape Town and Johannesburg. Residents of both cities were encouraged to get active by participating in stationary biking challenges; learning CPR (Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation), BLS (Basic Life Support) and AED resuscitation training as well as getting demonstrations on how to prepare healthier food to ensure better heart health and overall wellbeing.

In addition, for a minimum of 367 km cycled at every location, the Philips Foundation had pledged to donate one HeartStart automated external defibrillators (AED) to the HSFSA (up to a maximum of twenty-five (25) AEDs). So far, the reception to the stationary challenge has been overwhelming – a total of 7,775.5 kilometres have been biked, securing all the pledged AEDs for the HSFSA to place in public spaces around the country.

“I am absolutely delighted by the response our campaign has received and it will be my privilege to provide twenty-five (25) AEDs to the HSFSA to place in public spaces as per our commitment to this initiative. I am also very excited to have participated in the “Ride to Johannesburg” kick-off with my team; it is another milestone in our overall campaign to draw attention to heart health and drive bigger conversations to adopt healthier lifestyles and reduce the strain largely preventable conditions such as heart disease places on the nation’s health” says Jasper Westerink, CEO, Philips Africa.

Follow the Guinness World Record attempt on Facebook and Twitter with #BacktoRhythm, or visit the microsite for more information.