Adventure

HANDS ACROSS THE WA­TER “THE BIG RIDE”

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WORDS GREG SAN­DREY AND PHOTO PETER BAINES

When you tell some­one you are bik­ing 800km across Thai­land it and adu­la­tion for tak­ing on such a chal­lenge. The other be­ing of sur­prise at your stu­pid­ity and id­iocy for want­ing to sit on a bike seat for that dis­tance.

Af­ter at­tend­ing a con­fer­ence and hear­ing Peter Baines talk about the Hands Across the Wa­ter Char­ity and the fundraiser “The Big Ride” it was easy to say yes to the 800km chal­lenge. The ride cov­ers the 800km in 8 Khao Lak in the south of Thai­land.

When com­mit­ting to a chal­lenge like a char­ity bike ride there are three key com­po­nents you must con­sider, each with their in­di­vid­ual chal­lenges; the fundrais­ing, the train­ing and the ride it­self.

To take part in “The Big Ride”, each rider must pledge to raise $10,000AUD as a do­na­tion to the char­ity. I was ex­tremely lucky that I had a friend who had also com­mit­ted to the ride and we were able to com­bine our ef­forts both for fundrais­ing and train­ing.

Our main fundrais­ing event was a Char­ity Auc­tion Din­ner at a bou­tique Thai Restau­rant in Auck­land; The Grasshop­per. The fundrais­ing it­self is chal­leng­ing and it’s amaz­ing what as­sis­tance you do get. Some peo­ple you ex­pect to sup­port you don’t and oth­ers who you don’t ex­pect sup­port from re­ally sur­prise you. We were lucky to have an event where a good por­tion of what we needed to raise came from one night which was sup­ple­mented by per­sonal do­na­tions, sausage siz­zles and do­nated items to auc­tion.

The train­ing chal­lenge started about three months out from the up to 100km be­fore we left. Be­ing un­ex­pe­ri­enced rid­ers the train­ing was man­age­able as each out­ing we in­creased speed and dis­tance over vary­ing ter­rain. Of­ten be­cause of other com­mit­ments we could only ride two or three times a week, which was enough to build up a good aer­o­bic base. It wasn’t un­til a few weeks be­fore leav­ing that we tried some longer dis­tances which given the train­ing we had done were sur­pris­ingly space of time.

rid­ers in the same sit­u­a­tion pro­vides an at­mos­phere of anx­i­ety and cul­tures, coun­tries and so­ci­eties with con­trast­ing back­grounds can meet one day and then eight days later be­come as close as a fam­ily. This ride cre­ated an in­cred­i­ble en­vi­ron­ment which in­spired some in­ti­mate and long-term friend­ships. Our ride started on the 18th of Jan­uary 2011. Dur­ing a wa­ter stop late morn­ing we are wel­comed by the lo­cal school chil­dren who greet us into their sea­side town. It starts to hit home the

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