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Industry Powerhouse : Ali Mclean - ICE ID

Ali Mclean identified the need for a product in South Africa that could be used in any emergency and help not only cyclists but all sportspeople to be safer when out training. Ali shares her beginnings and how she got involved in ICE ID SA.

What is ICE ID?

Being a cyclist comes with many challenges and safety issues. Firstly, we have to share the road with other road users. This can pose many dangers. As mountain bikers we have some added dangers. Trails are not smooth tarred surfaces but rather a minefield of obstacles and dangers which we must navigate safely. For the most part cyclists are fairly good at making sure they are safe and invest in some good gear to ensure their safety when riding. We invest in this aspect of our sport because we ultimately want to stay safe while enjoying doing what we love. There is one very valuable piece of gear that actually keeps you just as safe as your trusted helmet or your bike lights on those early morning rides. Accidents can happen in the blink of an eye and it’s important to have some form of ID on you as this could truly save your life.

In fact any form of identification can change the course of your life if you are ever involved in an emergency while cycling. . Did you know that each year over 450,000 of us are taken to hospitals unconscious and without ID? Year after year, over 122,000 runners,walkers, and cyclists are hit by cars.Thousands more suffer blackouts,concussions, heart attacks, heatstrokes and other serious accidents. The National Safe Kids Campaign estimates that “every day, 39,000children are injured seriously enough to require medical attention.

T H E S E N U M B E R S A R E S C A R Y - I T C O U L D H A P P E N T O A N Y O F U S

"In December 2000 Andrew and I launched the Supercycling club with sponsors Pick n Pay, Liberty Life and Supersport, under the roof of Cycle Lab in Paulshof. Andrew brought the sponsors, I managed the rest. We were were a good team.(we still are). I remember the day we celebrated the 100 members mark. It eventually grew to 7 clubs nationally and a total of 7 000 members. We had some amazing role players along the way who helped us manage the Cycling Academy (Chris Froome and Louis Meintjies to mention just two, were riders in our Academy set up) and the Pro ladies team (Robyn de Groot, Ashleigh Moolman, Lynette Burger and more). These were the days that Road Riding was the prominent cycling discipline. Funny how much has changed towards the MTB side these days. Our club and business grew, which saw us move to Cycle Lab Design Quarter and then to its current building in Mannikin Place Fourways. This happened when we sold to the MoreCorp group.

I battled for years whilst running the club, with Emergency Services (ambulance services) who provided us with club member Emergency ID bands. They had member numbers (given to us by the supplier) on each band. The system worked that if there was an accident or a medical emergency while out riding, the person/care taker would call the Emergency service providers (Ambulance services), quote the member number and they would look up the info of that person's emergency contact numbers, their medical aid details, allergies, next of kin etc etc. BUT time and time again the call centres would have staff changes, new staff who were not trained correctly to know what database to open, or databases that weren’t kept up to date. Many a time I ended up around their boardroom table having a boxing match on the Monday due to an accident on the weekend, where a members details were not accessed in good time and ambulances were not being dispatched in good time. The system failed time and time again.We changed the members' bands to include a slot in the middle of the band that carried the members' details on a hand written card. This ended up getting wet and illegible.

And so the story went….After 15 years of managing the club, I was looking for a new challenge.Although I cared dearly for the members and had built up more than 15 years of relationships with them, I knew I wanted to stay involved with them in one way or another but my time of managing the club was nearing its sell by date.I thought about the one thing that gave me sleepless nights and that was the safety of the members whilst on club rides, especially with the numbers at our club rides nationally. We had great support with vehicles from Toyota, we had brilliant club motorbike marshals and we had first aid trained drivers and members.

The one thing letting us down was an identifying system on each member with Medical Emergency details on it. Something quick to get hold of, when minutes matter! I contacted a friend, Gila who had wonderfully and successfully founded and run ICE ID in SA. She had since moved to the UK. I saw massive potential in the company in SA and knew that it would be the perfect solution for our club members, and a whole lot more.

Race participants in every sporting code, training athletes, allergy patients, diabetics patients , people suffering with dementia and alzheimers, autistic children etc etc, I knew it was exactly what we needed at the club and exactly what SA needed. A country where letting a person know you are on a private medical aid, is so important. A country where having your emergency contact details on hand when it is needed would make a massive difference to you! I approached Gila to buy ICE ID from her. The deal was done within a week. With great excitement, I can honestly say that the business has increased almost 10 fold. I am very lucky.With even greater excitement I can say that there are thousands and thousands of South Africans who wear ICE ID.

I know it has saved many many lives, and assisted in getting a patient to a private hospital and letting their family know about it quickly and prevented medical errors when it mattered (i.e. person who may be allergic to pethidine). There are also thousands of Warfarin patients who wear ICE ID, If they are involved in an accident/trauma, they could bleed to death, a paramedic needs this information as a matter of urgency to be able to administer immediate efforts to reverse the drug's affects in the case of an accident/trauma. It feels amazing to know that in the case of an emergency, ICE ID has come to the party and assisted. It is a simple solution that works!

To mention some of our customers that we produce ICE ID’s for;

Comrades Marathon, Pink Drive, Qhubeka, ABSA Cape Epic, Cape Argus CycleTour, Telkom 947 Cycle Challenge, Sani2C, 702 Walk the Talk,

Amashova and many many more events.

Barker Insurance Brokers

Galileo Risk Insurance

Massive Adventure Tours

Many of SA's top cycling clubs , running clubs & schools.

We also supply ORRU (Off Road Rescue Unit) practitioners. They wear Dog Tags around their neck on every Emergency Call out that they attend to.

ICE ID was fortunate enough to be selected as the Runner Up in the 702 Small Business awards last year. I feel extremely proud to have built up an amazing brand and a product that is so very important for our sport and the people who love it."


ICE – An internationally known acronym for IN CASE OF EMERGENCY


ICE ID supplies MEDICAL and EMERGENCY IDENTIFICATION wearable products.The full range of products is available at our online shop

We have over 30 different product types/colours that our customers choose from,each clearly displaying a persons Medical Emergency Information.After a product is chosen, up to 6 lines of personalised engraving is added to the tag on the product. These 6 lines include emergency details such as Name,Medical Aid and Number, Emergency Contact Person and Number, Allergies,Medical Conditon, any additional details such as being an Organ Donor etc. In the case of an emergency, paramedics/first respondents will immediately know that the patient is a diabetic, or has heart disease, an epileptic, allergic to penicillin, or that they have a private medical aid, as well as contact details for a partner and his/her number.

There is a once off fee for the product. No monthly fees and no dependency on a third party (call centers) to get hold of your emergency contact information. Optional logo de-bossing is available to corporates, which is added into the silicone bands of the ICE ID PRO.

Ideal for everybody; from school going children to active adults to aging parents…every person should be easily and immediately identifiable, irrespective of cell reception or any other communication means which could possibly fail in times when minutes matter.

For more information and to order your own ICE ID visit:

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