News center | ​South Africa

Apr 05, 2019

Cycling towards a World Record, one heartbeat at a time

The rising incidence of cardiac diseases in South Africa calls for public awareness to increase the survival rate

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”.


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 kms 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 kms 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,

Kevin Benkenstein

Cape Town born endurance biker

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 donating 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 8,491 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

Jasper Westerink

CEO, Philips Africa

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

About the Philips Foundation

The Philips Foundation is a registered charity that was established in July 2014 as the central platform for Philips’ CSR activities. Reflecting our commitment to United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 3 (Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages) and 17 (Revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development), the mission of the Foundation is to reduce healthcare inequality by providing access to quality healthcare for disadvantaged communities. We do this by deploying Philips’ expertise, innovative products and solutions, by collaborating with key partners around the world and by providing financial support for collaborative activities.

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About the Heart and Stroke Foundation SA

The Heart and Stroke Foundation South Africa (HSFSA) plays a leading role in the fight against preventable heart disease and stroke, with the aim of seeing fewer people in South Africa suffer premature deaths and disabilities. The HSFSA, established in 1980 is a non-governmental, non-profit organization which relies on external funding to sustain the work it carries out. The HSFSA aims to reduce the cardiovascular disease (CVD) burden in South Africa and ultimately on the health care system of South Africa. Our mission is to empower people in South Africa to adopt healthy lifestyles, make healthy choices easier, seek appropriate care and encourage prevention. For more information visit You can also find us on and

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About Royal Philips

Royal Philips (NYSE: PHG, AEX: PHIA) is a leading health technology company focused on improving people's health and enabling better outcomes across the health continuum from healthy living and prevention, to diagnosis, treatment and home care. Philips leverages advanced technology and deep clinical and consumer insights to deliver integrated solutions. Headquartered in the Netherlands, the company is a leader in diagnostic imaging, image-guided therapy, patient monitoring and health informatics, as well as in consumer health and home care. Philips generated 2018 sales of EUR 18.1 billion and employs approximately 77,000 employees with sales and services in more than 100 countries. News about Philips can be found at

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Radhika Choksey

Radhika Choksey

Head of Marketing & Communications

Philips Middle East, Turkey & Africa

Cell : +31 62525 9000

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