Just over two weeks 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. The first Bicycling Australia Challenge, as it was initially named, saw 96 paying participants join two Teen Challenge students to ride 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 All Trails 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. All Trails are 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 & Jo Marshall, if it would be ok 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. 40 years ago I would have scoffed at doing a non-racing event like this, even if it was over 1,100 kilometres including 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, where the last two months would see me do 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 Qld would know from personal experience, since Christmas, right when my training program called for increased kilometres, we’ve seen the most prodigious rain and 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!
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 that 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 of this effort had to have a deeper meaning.
That’s why I decided that the ride would support two charities that 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 so some bike industry members to make donations and have their product logos appear on the kit I’ll be wearing during the ride, as recognition.
As you can see from the attached 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.
John Dunnachie of Bikecorp for Gold sponsorship and supplying Michelin Tyres.
Shane and Jeannie Wolki of Pushys for Gold sponsorship.
Darren Rutherford and Martin Clucas of Giant 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.
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 this ride.
Thanks for your support!
Publisher – The Latz Report and Micromobility Report.