A “spoketacular” event has passed through Eden, with the inaugural Variety Cycle stopping overnight at the Blue Marlin Resort and Motor Inn.
The team of 20 cyclists, boasting a broad range of age and experience on two wheels, arrived in Eden at around 5.20pm on Wednesday, having braved heavy rain and winding roads to cover the 135km from Jindabyne.
They then set off early on Thursday morning, bound for Marlo and Lakes Entrance, and will have covered more kilometres than the Tour de France by the time they reach Uluru on April 16.
Christopher Mapp, the race founder and Variety Cycle volunteer, said the event had already raised over $520,000 for sick, disadvantaged and special needs children.
The group is visiting several special needs and disadvantaged schools along the way, delivering grants including Liberty Swings, new wheelchairs and Sunshine Coaches on behalf of Variety Australia.
He said despite the rough conditions, it is easy to find motivation when riding for such a good cause.
“One of the things that keep motivating us is images of the kids we’ve been helping,” he said.
“For example, we give out Liberty Swings, which are those things that allow wheelchairs to be put into the structure and pushed like a swing.
“You see the kids’ faces, for the very first time experiencing free motion, and that motivates me hugely.”
Another source of inspiration for Christopher rides right alongside him every day.
Turia Pitt suffered full thickness burns to 64 per cent of her body after she and five other ultramarathon competitors were trapped in a remote gorge in the Kimberley in 2007.
Eighteen major operations, more than 100 minor surgeries and a dozen skin grants later, she has strapped on the helmet along with her partner Michael to raise money for children in need.
“Looking across at her on her bike is enough again to get you going,” Christopher said.
“So we’ve got enough motivation to keep us going for the next three weeks with no problem at all, but whether the legs will hold out is another thing.
“This isn’t a race and if people have to take a short break they can, but so far everyone is doing an amazing job.
“There’s not a single professional cyclist here, so to consider doing 165km per day, and 4000km over the 26 days is pretty crazy, but we’ve just got so much motivation.”
To donate, visit varietycycle.com.au