All aboard for wor­thy cause

Geraldton Guardian - - News - Tamra Carr

Cy­cling more than 200km over the course of two days is no mean feat but 65-year-old Ian An­der­son and his team of bike rid­ers at the QEII Se­niors and Com­mu­nity Cen­tre have em­braced the chal­lenge.

Mr An­der­son is a mem­ber of the five-strong QEII All Stars men’s team, who will take part in to­mor­row’s Wild West Bike Tour through the Chap­man Val­ley.

The team re­lay cir­cuit will fin­ish the fol­low­ing day, af­ter rid­ers cy­cle through El­len­dale Pool and Walk­a­way on their way back to Ger­ald­ton. The re­tired teacher said he is no stranger to long-dis­tance bike runs.

“I did a marathon from Northamp­ton to Kal­barri about five years ago but I had to pull out. I hope to do bet­ter this time,” he said. “For me, it’s more about help­ing the char­i­ties and hop­ing the wind isn’t too strong. The rain doesn’t bother you too much when you’re from Eng­land but the wind could make things dif­fi­cult.”

Funds raised from the ride will be split be­tween WA Po­lice Legacy and the Ro­tary Club of Batavia Coast char­i­ties.

Mr An­der­son said ex­pe­ri­ences in his pre­vi­ous marathon helped mo­ti­vate him to take part in to­mor­row’s ride.

“When do­ing the Kal­barri ride I spent most of the time in the bus that fol­lows the cy­clists,” he said.

“There were po­lice of­fi­cers in there, we had great con­ver­sa­tions, they’re fan­tas­tic peo­ple.”

“I also worked in vol­un­tary emer­gency ser­vices in Carnar­von for six years and I de­vel­oped a close re­la­tion­ship with the po­lice while I was there. I re­ally ap­pre­ci­ate what they do.”

The se­nior men’s team is ri­valled by the QEII Ev­er­last­ings women’s team, who will also ride in the event.

“Some of the women cy­clists are the best,” Mr An­der­son said. “They will prob­a­bly end up beat­ing us.”

The two teams, with ages rang­ing from 51 to 73, have been meet­ing ev­ery Thurs­day for train­ing, tak­ing sim­ple rides and build­ing up stamina.

City of Greater Ger­ald­ton deputy mayor Neil McIl­waine said the se­nior teams were es­tab­lished to help ex­pand the se­nior age bracket at the QEII Cen­tre.

“The two teams were cre­ated as a way of at­tract­ing younger se­niors to the QEII Cen­tre and get­ting them in­volved in some­thing that they are in­ter­ested in,” he said.

“We’re ex­tremely proud of our se­niors who are about to par­take in this big event.”

The event is be­ing co-or­di­nated by the Ro­tary Club of Batavia Coast, which will use part of the pro­ceeds to sup­port lo­cal school pro­grams and or­gan­i­sa­tions such as In­ter­act and the Fight­ing Back Parkin­son’s Box­ing Group.

The other half of the funds raised will be do­nated to WA Po­lice Legacy to as­sist with the wel­fare of de­ceased po­lice of­fi­cers’ fam­i­lies.

City of Greater Ger­ald­ton coun­cil­lor Bob Hall urged driv­ers and cy­clists to ex­er­cise cau­tion and be ex­tra vig­i­lant when us­ing the roads this week­end.

Pic­ture: Dragonfly Me­dia

The QE11 se­nior bike rid­ing teams get ready to hop on their bikes for the Wild West Bike Tour.

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