Cyclists ride with hearts on their sleeves

Sydney cyclists joined together in November to show their support for communities in NSW Central West that have been struck by the worst drought in over a decade.

‘Drought Ride’ organiser Shane Mattiske, grew up in Forbes and knows from family and friends the hardships rural communities are facing. Now a Sydney based sports consultant and media strategist, Shane teamed up with Joanne Palazzetti, Director of Turbo Studio, to put out the call to city cyclists about the plight in the bush, the event and fundraiser. They urged cycling mates to sign up sponsors, join in and use their pedal power to ride 380 kms in the Central West for two hot November days.

Planning began early this year, when Shane and Joanne consulted with local communities for advice on accommodation, food supplies and locations for ride breaks. The local CWA networks organised food and drinks as well as advice where best to stop, shop and stay throughout two big days of riding.

Fifty cyclists and their support crew travelled through severely drought affected country - Molong, Cudal, Eugowra, Forbes, Gooloogong, Warrenderry, Canowindra and Grenfell, staying in local hotels and motels, eating at cafes and spending as they passed through. The aim was to bring some financial assistance and demonstrate the Australian spirit of bringing together different communities in time of need.

Each rider committed to raising $1000, then they rolled in their sponsorships. The Drought Ride has raised over $85,000 to date and more is expected.

“It was a privilege to be part of The Drought Ride, driving as one of the support crew,” said Bronwyn Ridgway, IEU Communications and Media Officer.

“I know from teachers and support staff who live and work in locations affected by extreme weather conditions, that day to day life is very hard for everyone. Teachers see students and their families struggling financially and mentally through this shocking drought.

“Travelling through the Central West, paddocks were devoid of feed and stock; so much stock even blood stock has been sold off as drought conditions roll on week after week, month after month, year after year. The money raised by each cyclist on The Drought Ride aims to help people in the communities we travelled through; ‘Beat the Breakdown’ is working to ensure that all money is well distributed.”

See how you can help and