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Day 2 Maitland to Forster - 163km

Lorian Graham (centre)

Lorian Graham (centre) (Image credit: Pete Forbes)

After a good night sleep and a reasonably chilly start for our northern acclimatised riders, we set off running 10 minutes late after some extraordinary 'jigsaw' packing of the Safe Drive Training support vehicle. Our destination today was 160km towards the Queensland border, Forster/Tuncurry. Seemingly, Amy had joined us on our ride once again with a glorious day provided and a healthy tail wind. Members of the Hunter Valley Cycling clubs joined us for the journey to Hexham as they departed for their regular Sunday morning races. Heading north from Hexham, we enjoyed some smooth roads with large shoulders.

For many of our riders it was the first time riding with a support vehicle. Being supported by Lorian in a follow vehicle, cyclists enjoyed vehicles passing at lower speeds at wider berths. However, with a certain driver of a blue Falcon under-passing another motorist whilst passing our cyclists, we realised our true vulnerability on some good roads. On the other hand our vulnerability was exposed once more on departing from the shoulders of Pacific Highway to the narrow, pot-hole infested roads of the Great Lakes area. It was a day that really demonstrated how the Amy Gillett Foundation may help improve the safety of cyclists on our roads - driver training and roads that cater for cyclists.

As the cyclists tired, some solid driving from yours truly and a riding guest - Bill Clinch, President Manning Valley Cycling Club - our cyclists arrived in Forster 20 minutes behind schedule.

Our arrival coincided with a motorcycle charity event, and Dave Thomson took the opportunity to sell some raffle tickets to the motor cycle enthusiasts. It was commented by the motor cyclists how they too are vulnerable road users. Unfortunately few people turned up to the planned Forster function, consequently our daily raffle prizes were donated to Bill Clinch and will be raffled at Manning Valley Cycling Club's next race with funds raised going towards the foundation.

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Organised by 2005 Australian road champion Lorian Graham, the 10-day Amy Gillett Foundation Charity Ride is aimed at raising awareness among motorists and cyclists to promote road safety. Kicking off in Maitland on Saturday, December 3 and finishing almost 1000 kilometres later in Brisbane on December 12, the group wishes to demonstrate that prevention of needless injuries and deaths on the roads, such as the one that killed Amy Gillett and seriously injured five of her team-mates in Germany this year, can be done with patience and respect. "It's not such a big ask for everyone to be more considerate," said Lorian. "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?" Funds raised by the ride will go towards the Amy Gillett Foundation.