Cycling is more than just you and a bike, it’s a culture and community that can inspire, create and energise. I was reminded of this recently when a group of 35 cyclists crossed the finish line of their 1000 kilometre ride in South Australia.
The group Ride For Sick Kids took a week to complete the route from Port Lincoln to Adelaide at the end of November. The money raised goes to Ronald McDonald House who provide units close to children’s hospitals with fun and safe space for families who have a sibling in the care ward.
This year the group managed to raise a staggering $250,000. It’s a massive impact. At the same time they are also advocating for cyclist who are having a pretty tough time getting a fair share of the road these days, with many motorists pushing back aggressively against the one-meter rule.
They looked great too in their team like kit and lead jersey. If you want to be part of their ride next year they are now taking candidates: http://rmhcrideforsickkidssa.com.au/
If you have never been on a charity ride or community ride I strongly suggest you do so. Riding is a great solo adventure. You can be in your own space and go at your own pace, but sometimes it’s good to get out of the groove and expand your horizons.
Get out and have fun with other cyclists.
Community and charity rides see riders from all walks of life and all cycling ability gather in one place. You will be sure to meet riders who ride at your pace. Be open to chatting to people before the ride to find the right group to set out with or start up a conversation on the road.
You never know, you might meet a life long riding partner, so don’t be shy.
Tackle a distance or set a pace you have never done before. It can be easier when you have a group willing to take turns at the helm, or just someone to talk to as you ride can take your mind off the burn in your legs.
A road less travelled
Community and charity rides typically take in routes that are scenic and a mix of quiet roads as well as highways. You’ll get to see parts of Australia that will surprise you, and routes you would never think to take alone. The circuits are usually very scenic and take in local landmarks and sweeping vistas.
Use your cycling to give back to the community
At the moment you ride just for yourself and find it rewarding. Imagine how much more feel good you’ll get knowing your ride gives back to others. With so many organised annual rides out there, you are bound to find a cause that rings true for you.
With the recent end to the Ride For Sick Kids event Trent Adams, who participated on the ride commented that this charity means the world to him, having used the McDonald house services while his daughter was undergoing chemotherapy. While the seven day, 1000 kilometre ride was tough, knowing that the money was going to be used to help other distressed families with sick kids made the going worthwhile.
Prep for your first event
If you have never ridden in a group before but want to start riding events and races, community and charity rides are a great way to get a feel for riding with and around other cyclists and to improve your bike handling skills. If this is your main objective for riding a charity, make sure you befriend some annual attendees and let them know your plans. It won’t take long for someone to take you under their wing and show you the ropes.
Body Torque also have a great 6 week Beginners Cycling Training Program that you can join up to for free, click here to sign up today.
Get out with friends
If you have been wanting to get out and cycle with friends a pre-planned charity event or community ride is a sure way to set a date on your calendar and get over the gonnaonedays. If you have friends who tend to sleep in or duck out at the last minute (or if this is you) plan a sleep over so you all get up and go to the event together.
If you want to make a statement then a community or charity ride is a great place to get a cycling team or group noticed. Wearing the same kit and cycling together really stands out and gets you noticed. If you don’t have a custom kit already then talk to the team at Body Torque about their high quality custom made kits and see about getting your business, brand or word out on the road and pedalling.
Look out for our next article that covers what to expect on a charity ride, to help get you prepped if this is your inaugural event.