With tenacity, tailwinds and a passion for cycling Ed Birt, Chief Operating Officer of The Disability Trust, has successfully completed the Indian Pacific Wheel Ride, a solo unsupported, 5,500km ride ocean-to-ocean across Australia.
Ed, a keen cyclist who recently celebrated his 50th birthday decided to undertake the personal challenge whilst on annual leave and use the experience to raise money to purchase bicycles, tricycles, recumbent bikes and frames to support The Disability Trust’s new CycleAbility program and other existing programs such as Vacation Care and Getaway Saturday.
The course does not follow the most direct route from coast to coast making it a truly memorable adventure through deserts, wine districts, rolling hills, winding coastal roads and tough alpine regions riding through the heart of Australia’s major cities. Starting at Freemantle Lighthouse at 6.22am on Saturday 20 March 2021, nine riders dipped their wheel in the Indian Ocean with the goal of being able to do the same in the Pacific Ocean once reaching Sydney.
After 23 days on the road Ed arrived at the steps of the Sydney Opera House on the 11th of April, cheered on by family, friends and supporters. He was the second rider to complete the challenge with only four completing the race with other participants retiring due to injury or bike issues.
"It's just empowering to get from A to B under your own steam," Mr Birt said. "It's a big country and lots can happen, but I was pretty well-prepared. The bike performed really well," Mr Birt said.
The highlight for Ed, as well as enjoying the beautiful countryside he travelled through, was the support and generosity of the people he met along the way. Avid “dot watchers”, people tracking the riders online, will often join the cyclists on their own bikes as they head through their towns, providing riders with refreshments or a place to rest.
"There were people who put me up in their homes, or truck drivers who stopped and made me a peanut butter and banana sandwich in the middle of the desert," Mr Birt said.
As of today the fundraising has surpassed his goal of $10,000 and is over $11,000 with The Figtree Lions Club and Resin Brewing also set to bolster the fundraising with charity events.
The CycleAbility program will be supporting independence, fitness and social inclusion through the use of bicycles as active transport. The program will provide skills, knowledge and safety in using bicycles and Wollongong’s cycling infrastructure.
The empowering CycleAbility program will be facilitated through The Disability Trust's Sport and Recreation team and will run on the last Saturday of every month commencing 29 May 2021. The program will be run from The Disability Trust's head office car park in Wollongong (5 Edney Lane Spring Hill) with a focus on
The Trust would like to congratulate Ed on his wonderful achievement.
If you would like more information about The Disability Trust and this program please call 1300 347 224.
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