Melbourne mates Grant, 53, and Rick, 60, are not embarking on just any mid-life challenge however.
They’re getting ready to pedal from Alice Springs to Darwin in April 24-May 12 – and luckily for the Foundation, are aiming to raise a staggering $100,000 to help us go forward with another milestone year.
The money will help us expand our Be Wise education program into all states of Australia. And what’s more, everyone can be part of the action (without having to endure billowing red dirt, searing heat or sandflies).
The good news is that we’ve set up a special fundraising page at www.ride2bewise.com.au so that you can join them on this epic journey from the comfort of your garage, bike shed or lounge room on a “virtual ride”.
Grant and Rick have already enlisted the support of several generous sponsors – Flavorite (Australia’s largest glasshouse fresh fruit and vegetable producer, along with Fresh State (an organisation representing wholesalers and service industries at the Melbourne Wholesale Fruit and Vegetable Market).
But they’ll also need help from as many supporters as possible to reach their target.
We’ll be following them in as they make their way across the Top End, with regular video updates about their adventures as well as posts tracking the funding tally.
Want to learn more? Then check out our video above.
Popular Aussie cycling commentator Matthew Keenan (who is also a Foundation ambassador) sat down with the pair for an entertaining interview at Melbourne’s Monty Studio.
Why Grant and Rick are riding across the Outback
Fifteen long days in the saddle. Each day at least 100km long. Road trains, assorted wildlife and temperatures in the blazing mid-30s to contend with.
As far as challenges go, what more could you ask for?
A little over two years ago, he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease – a disorder that affects movement and often includes tremors and loss of balance.
A former world-class skydiver, he’s still keen on pushing the boundaries of his abilities – Parkinson’s or not!
“You don’t want to sit back and think that you failed to make the most of every opportunity.”
Grant, a Diamond Valley resident, was well aware of Pat’s story in 2016 and even attended the 2022 Be Wise Ball in support of the Foundation.
“Having seen what the Cronin family went through at the time inspired us to make this journey and raise money for the important work of the Foundation.”
Shortly after the ball they started to plan the ride, and began training for it in August.
While Grant isn’t an experienced cyclist, Rick (also a keen skydiver) has undertaken a range of previous long-distance rides including Melbourne to Alice Springs.
While they’ll have the luxury of a support crew (Chris and Tania – more skydiving friends) checking in on them from a van, they’re under no illusions that this is going to be an easy venture.
“The main challenge will be the cumulative fatigue,” says Rick. “With the daily temperatures generally around 34-35 degrees, it’ll also be hot.”
Laden with water and spare parts, their bikes will also be extra heavy. Made of steel to cope with the conditions, the bikes will tip the scales at around 40kg – more than four times the weight of a modern road bike getting around the city streets.
They’ll be aiming to average around 17-21km an hour throughout the journey, starting with a 135km ride on day one.
“While road trains will make up most of the traffic we’ll encounter, I’ve always found the drivers to be very respectful,” says Rick.
“Nonetheless, we’ll be getting over to the side of the road and getting off our bikes as they come towards us. The force of the wind can be like getting hit with a baseball bat.”
At a glance – a numbers game
- The fundraising target is $100,000
- The 1500km ride leaves Alice Springs on April 24 and finishes in Darwin on May 12
- Grant and Rick aim to average 17-21km an hour for approximately 100km each day
- Daytime temperatures is expected to be around 34-35 degrees Celsius
- Their fully laden bikes will tip the scales at about 40kg each (around four times the weight of a modern carbon road bike)
Help Grant and Rick reach $100,000 to assist the Foundation
All donations are welcome – you don’t need to be a cyclist! To recap, anyone who wants to join in the spirit of the event however can register for free for a “virtual ride” at www.ride2bewise.com.au. Get your family and friends to sponsor your efforts as you clock your kilometres through a Strava account.