Three Far South Coast cyclists have helped raise more than $100,000 for charity during a fundraising ride in Tasmania.
Darren Stevens, Kerrie Vogele, and Graeme Thompson spent a week in the island state, riding more than 750km from Devonport to Hobart as part of the Future2 Wheel Classic.
The event has been running for eight years now, with rides in every state or territory of Australia except the Northern Territory. In total, more than $800,000 has been raised over the eight years.
The Wheel Classic is a fundraising exercise for the Future2 Foundation, the philanthropic part of the Financial Planning Association. Each year the foundation offers up grants of $10,000 for not-for-profit organisations.
Mr Stevens, who sat on the organising committee for the ride, said the grants are extremely valuable to the recipients.
“It really does go a long way – $10,000 to these sorts of organisations is like them getting $100,000,” he said.
Most of the grant recipients are programs designed for at-risk youth. Some examples of 2017 grant recipients include Byron Youth Services, Kids Off the Curb, and STAY (Short Term Accommodation for Youth).
The grants have also gone to the Special Olympics, Riding for the Disabled of the ACT, and EBL Disability Services.
Mr Stevens said the effort from all riders involved was immense.
“We had 16 riders that did all seven days,” he said. “That includes people that don’t ride much through to people that ride quite regularly.
“It’s quite a challenge for most people. To ride as far as we did for seven days straight is something that most people don’t do.”
The ride was made even tougher by some unusual weather in Tasmania.
“Going to Tasmania, we were expecting cold weather and rain,” Mr Stevens said. “We rode in the hottest weather that Tasmania had experienced in more than 100 years.”
The rides themselves were challenging regardless of the conditions, with Mr Stevens choosing day six as the toughest leg.
“We rode 160km on the second last day,” Mr Stevens said.
“That included a 400 metre climb about 130km in. I had a number of people asking why we were going this way.”
The event also included a small amount of star power, as former Hawthorn Hawks captain Shane Crawford joined the riders on day one.