Just over a week ago I turned 60.
Fortunately, I’m not asking you for donations towards a mobility scooter or a deposit on a room in aged care accommodation.
But being a bit of a planner, early last year I started thinking about what I might do to mark this significant life milestone.
Whatever I did, if anything, needed to have meaning and value beyond simply personal gratification. I have learned over the years that the most satisfying thing that I can do in my life is to help others.
Over two decades ago, back when we owned Bicycling Australia magazine, we founded a fundraising ride for what was then known as Teen Challenge – a drug and alcohol rehabilitation charity for young people. Ninety-six paying participants joined two Teen Challenge students for the first Bicycling Australia Challenge, as it was initially named, and they rode from Melbourne to Sydney via Thredbo.
I contracted a specialist cycle tour company to run the event and manage all the logistics – Phil and Susan McDonald of AllTrails Bicycle Tours. They developed the route specifically for this event – it was a first. The ride was a great success, raising over $80,000 of much needed funds for Teen Challenge, now called One80TC, and continues annually to this day, now with a different name and on a completely different route, having raised well over $1,000,000 in total.
All Trails continued to run the Bicycling Australia Challenge for several more years before we handed over ownership and management of the event to One80TC.
Fast forward two decades and I was wondering what I might do to mark my 60th. AllTrails is still going strong, under new ownership after Phil and Susan retired. It turned out that they would be running one ride in 2022 that retraces the original charity ride route we developed for the 2001 ride … and it would start just after my 60th birthday.
With the stars seeming to align, I asked the new owners, Richard and Jo Marshall, if it would be okay for me to use my participation as a charity fundraiser. They agreed. One less excuse for me not to do it…
Despite having spent years of my earlier life active in bike racing, I’ve never actually done a long-distance point-to-point ride. Forty years ago, I would have scoffed at doing a non-racing event like this, even if it was over 1,100 kilometres and included one of Australia’s highest mountain passes.
But these days, I clearly no longer have a 20-year-old racer’s body and I knew I’d need to do some serious training. I set out a 30-week training plan, in which the last two months would involve a minimum of 300 kilometres and 1,500 metres of climbing per week.
My wife was understandably concerned about all the training in terms of safety, but fortunately gave her blessing and my ‘60 or Bust!’ charity ride was on.
Of course, as anyone living on the east coast of NSW or Queensland would know from personal experience, since Christmas, right when my training program called for increased kilometres, we’ve seen the most prodigious rain and the worst flooding in memory.
There was a simple solution – getting used to being wet every day. I don’t like riding in the rain and through endless puddles and floodwater, but I wanted to do every kilometre on the road rather than on an indoor trainer.
Thanks to all of these donors!
Ready to Begin
As I write this, I’m leaving for Melbourne tomorrow, ready to start the ride. I feel much fitter than I did 30 weeks ago, having met or exceeded my training targets for all 30 weeks.
Now I’m enjoying the luxury of a four day ‘taper’ of no riding, so I should be jumping out of my skin on the start line.
As I mentioned previously, while I’m certainly not criticising anyone who does a ride like this just for the fun of it, or to spend special time with family and friends or whatever other reason, for me, all this effort had to have a deeper meaning.
That’s why I decided the ride would support two charities I’ve had a long and close involvement with: We Ride Australia and World Bicycle Relief.
I’m not going to share in detail what these charities do other than to say that they do vital work that’s beneficial for current and future generations; within Australia in the case of We Ride and globally in the case of World Bicycle Relief.
After liaising with the two charities, the first thing I did was reach out to some bike industry members to make donations and, as recognition, have their product logos appear on the kit I’ll be wearing during the ride.
As you can see from the above photos, thanks to their generous support, we quickly filled all the available spaces.
Specifically, I’d like to thank the following major donors:
Jason Pye of Trek and Trek Wollongong for help with the bike and servicing
Drew Johnson of Cuore for donating the custom kit and more
Darren Rutherford and Martin Clucas of Giant for Gold sponsorship
John Dunnachie of Bikecorp for Gold sponsorship and supplying Michelin Tyres
Shane and Jeannie Wolki of Pushys for Gold sponsorship
Mark Watkin of BikeExchange for Silver sponsorship
Simon Burke of GPI Apollo for Silver sponsorship
Guy Thompson and Mark Waldron of Groupe Sportif for Silver sponsorship and supplying Look pedals
Andrew McEwin of Bicycle Parts Wholesale for Silver sponsorship
Chris Langdon of Echelon Sports for Silver Sponsorship, Castelli training kit and Aussie Butt Cream.
Manfred Otto and Matthias Mueller of Velo Vita for Bronze sponsorship and Clif Bars
Matt Turner of 99 Bikes and Advance Traders for two Bronze sponsorships
Graeme Moffett of Pon.bike for Bronze sponsorship
Eamon Thompson of KWT for Bronze sponsorship
This fantastic support took us close to our initial target of $20,000* funds raised. I’m paying all event entry and related expenses, so 100% of the funds raised are going straight to the respective charities. In fact, the money is donated directly to the charities and donors can choose which one they give to, or both, and in what proportion and amount.
*Editors note: Fundraising update on 30 March 2022 – $19,435 in funds have been raised – just $565 is required to reach the target.
I know that we all get asked for donations from a wide range of worthy charities, but in this case, I’ll make an additional promise, I won’t be asking you again next year or the year after – this event is a one-off!
If you would like to add your donation and message of support, please go to this link: https://thelatzreport.com.au/60-or-bust-charity-ride/
We’ll be making some social media posts during the ride via LinkedIn if you want to stay up to date with the progress of the ride.
Thanks for your support!
Publisher – The Latz Report and Micromobility Report.