A host of Australian cycling and sporting stars will turn out for a charity ride to support the Amy Gillett Foundation. The ride begins on Saturday December 3 in Maitland, New South Wales and arrives ten days and almost 1000 kilometres later in Brisbane, Queensland on Monday December 12.
The ride is being organised by 2005 Australian road champion, Lorian Graham, who was injured in the tragic accident that claimed the life of her team-mate, Amy Gillett in Germany in July this year. Graham is still undergoing intensive physiotherapy to recover from a serious injury to her right knee in her bid to return to competitive cycling.
Sporting heroes who have committed to support the ride at stages along the route include two time Tour de France green jersey champion, Robbie McEwen and team mate Henk Vogels, who returned to the European professional circuit this year in the wake of a near-fatal crash in June 2003. Also lending support are Olympic swimming gold medallist Duncan Armstrong and triathlete Loretta Harrop.
"The ride aims to raise awareness among motorists and cyclists to promote road safety," said Graham. "We want to represent cyclists of all abilities whether they race, ride for fitness, ride for fun or commute to work on a bike.
"If you are behind the wheel of a vehicle and you see a cyclist imagine they are a member of your family and take the same care you would of your loved ones," said Graham. "If you are opening your car door after you park spare a second to look in case a cyclist is coming."
Graham says patience and respect are the keys to preventing needless injuries and deaths on our roads.
"It's not such a big ask for everyone to be more considerate," she said. "Cyclists should obey the rules and drivers should be aware of cyclists and exercise caution. What's more important - a couple minutes of your time or someone's life?"
Graham's partner Pete Forbes and his colleague Nick Gallo, both with mining company Runge Limited, are the driving force for the ride and are covering all costs associated with the ride to ensure the maximum amount possible goes to the Foundation.
Lions and Rotary Clubs along the route have also come on board to assist with organisation and fundraising in the local communities. A pool of prizes has been donated for daily raffles and everyone who buys a ticket goes into the draw for a Cannondale Six13 bike, and for some signed sporting memorabilia.
To avoid traffic disruption only a limited number of cyclists will participate at any one time. There are two community rides on offer for others to participate in raising awareness for the Foundation.
Amy Gillett Foundation charity ride route
Saturday, December 3: Singleton 10.30am to Wyndham Estate Winery 11.50am (40km)
Sunday, December 4: Maitland 6.30am to Forster 11.50am (160km)
Monday, December 5: Forster 7.30am to Port Macquarie 11.45am (123km)
Tuesday, December 6: Port Macquarie Community Ride 6.00am to 7.30am (40km)
Wednesday, December 7: Port Macquarie 7.30am to Nambucca Heads 11.20am (114km)
Thursday, December 8: Nambucca Heads 6.30am to Grafton 11.00am (134km)
Friday, December 9: Grafton 6.30am to Ballina 12noon (137km)
Saturday, December 10: Ballina 7.30am to Surfers Paradise 10.45am (126km)
Sunday, December 11: Surfers Paradise Criterium
Monday, December 12: Surfers Paradise 8.00am to Brisbane 10.35am (80km)
Lions/Rotary Club supporting functions
Sunday, December 4: Forster/Tuncurry Lions Club - John Wright Park Tuncurry 2.00pm
Tuesday, December 5: Port Macquarie Rotary Clubs - TBA 7.00am
Wednesday, December 7: Lions Club of Nambucca - Nambucca Heads RSL 1.30pm
Thursday, December 8: Lions Club of Grafton - Market Square 5.30pm
Friday, December 9: Ballina Lions Club - Reserve South of Missingham Bridge 5.30pm
For more information and to make a donation to the Amy Gillett foundation, see www.cycling.org.au