Charity Trust Bike Ride 2008
This ride again raised $25,000 for Down Syndrome Tasmania – money that helps the organisation provide valuable support to families affected by Down Syndrome. Down Syndrome utilised the monies raised from the Annual Bike Ride to organise a camp in February 2009, to offer information and respite to families.
The ride in 2008 was a successful venture which generated many stories and anecdotes that will circulate and haunt for years to come. In recap . . . they rode, they conquered and they raised $25,000.
42 riders and 7 support crew lined up on Friday 28 November 2008 at the Kings Meadows police garage all looking forward to the upcoming adventure. Acting Deputy Commissioner Scott Tilyard and the Minister for Police and Emergency Management, The Hon Jim Cox MP, farewelled the riders as they pedalled out onto the road.
The first target was Longford, 62 kilometres away, via country roads and the Meander Valley Highway. Spirits were high, the weather was good and Inspector Mark Beech-Jones had already changed his second puncture for the day.
The first drinks stop at Carrick saw a buzz of excitement ripple through the group about what was being achieved and about how good everybody was feeling.
Lunch at Longford was provided by the Longford Primary School Parents and Friends Committee as a fundraiser for the school. All participants in the ride pay their own way, in relation to food and accommodation. This year, the group decided to spend the money in the towns they rode through, supporting the local community where they could.
After a sunny lunch break, riders headed south towards Campbell Town, a further 63 kilometres, but the clouds were looming. After passing through Cressy the wind howled and the rain fell. Lightning was spotted to the east over Poatina and some riders felt very exposed, but it could explain the tendency of some to ride with somebody taller than themselves.
After a hard slog into a head wind that blew up to 50 knots and rain that saturated everybody, Campbell Town had never looked so good. Dinner was held at the Campbell Town Bowls Club and was provided by the Campbell Town Swimming Pool Committee who served up much-needed pasta and pizza to very appreciative riders. The funds to pay for this event supported the Pool Committee who are trying to keep the local swimming pool open, and with this money seem to be succeeding.
Inspector Beech-Jones had three punctures for the day, yet still he stopped in the pouring rain to help a fellow rider fix their puncture. Spirits were still high in the group. Saturday saw more rain, so after a hearty breakfast at the Foxhunters Retreat, and the summit of the high point on Lake Leake Highway, only 38 kilometres away and with over 16 kilometres of climbing, riders again mounted their bikes.
The rain got heavier as riders arrived at the high point, where Sergeant Danny Russell and Senior Constable Ashley Arnold waited with drinks, fruit, lollies and words of encouragement.
Riders didn’t stay long as there were still 30 kilometres to ride to Swansea for lunch. Cold would be an understatement; picture an ice cream headache all over your face, neck, chest, fingers, legs and you might get the idea. Some riders thought they had flat tyres, but realised the vibrations were caused by shivering. It was cold!!
Riders descended fast to the Tasman Highway and arrived at the Bark Mill Bakery and Tavern to a roaring open fire. Whilst eating lunch, another group arrived to share the dining room only to discover wet, slightly smelly, funny looking people in lycra huddled around the fireplace. They donated $100 to the cause, which was doubled by the proprietors of the Tavern. Again riders were humbled by the generosity of the people they were meeting.
A leisurely ride into Triabunna, only 50 kilometres, with only a slight head wind and showers easing to drizzle, saw riders commenting to each other how good the weather was. This bunch is easily pleased.
Dinner at Triabunna was devoured with gusto and saw members of Tasmania Police mixing with riders from Down Syndrome Tasmania in a friendly relaxed environment where the stories of the day’s hardships were told and maybe, just maybe, a little bit exaggerated.
Ninety kilometres to go and a couple of big hills just to make things hard. At least the weather had improved. Riders took off excited about getting to the end but dreading hills called Break-Me-Neck and Bust-Me-Gall. They lived up to their name.
After a couple of drinks stops, the last one being in Richmond under the leadership of Constable Michael Dalton and his own personal support team, riders pushed through Cambridge and bunched up at Lauderdale. Constable Robert Gunn on the police motorcycle guided them safely to the Police Academy parade ground to a rousing welcome, which was appreciated by all involved in the Charity Ride.
The Tasmania Police Charity Trust Bike Ride will happen again in 2009, and the plan is to travel from Hobart through all four geographical Districts, finishing in the Western District. Also plans are afoot to identify other Tasmanian organisations that could benefit from the fundraiser.
The Tasmania Police Charity Trust Bike Ride is a fine example of the willingness of members to support the community, and participants are to be congratulated for their hard work and wonderful efforts at fundraising.
(28-30 November 2008)