HANDS ACROSS THE WATER “THE BIG RIDE”
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