Young hands ride

In the last edition of IE for 2017, Kaleidoscope featured Peter Baines and his extraordinary work with the organisation he founded, Hands Across the Water. Baines talks again with journalist Bronwyn Ridgway.

Readers may be interested to know that Baines and the team are offering school leavers an alternative to schoolies – the opportunity to be part of The Young Hands Ride in support of at risk children and communities in Thailand. Aimed at changing the lives of those in Thailand, The Young Hands Ride is a dry ride – no alcohol nor drugs – a lot different to a typical schoolies trip.

During a six day experience cycling through the east of Thailand, young school leavers are guided by the Tour de Asia team of experienced Thailand bike tour guides. There are three mentors, aged between 17 and 25 years from Hands Across the Water, who accompany a group of 12 school leavers.

But it doesn’t end with the ride. Riders are paired up with their mentors, who assist them throughout the year with their goals of training and fundraising.

Rhiannon Tuntevski is a Ride Mentor and, at 25 years old, has been a part of the Young Hands team since its inception in 2014. She completed her schooling at Belmont Christian College, then her Bachelor of Communications at the University of Newcastle.

The kind of young people who signed up were a special kind of young person – one who was genuinely out to change the world.

Quite a ride

Tuntevski describes how they set up the ride.

“Together with the Hands Across the Water team, we set up the Young Hands Ride to give young people a chance to change the world, while having an experience we knew would fundamentally change their world.

“By removing the ominous presence of having a parent or a teacher on a trip and adding an element of physical challenge, we created an experience that was designed by young people, for young people. So our adventure became a five day 500 kilometre bike ride through the stretch of coast just to the east of Bangkok, where participants committed to raising $2,017 for Hands Across the Water.

“It sounded a little crazy, why would young people give up their chance at that coveted schoolies trip to celebrate such a milestone? But I quickly realised that those who signed up were a special kind of young person – one who was genuinely out to change the world, and our participants in 2017 were no different.

“Under the guidance of Tour de Asia, our tour provider, we set out early on the Monday morning. The morning routine of the alarm going off before 6am, rolling out of bed and into our matching Lycra cycling kits, meeting each other over breakfast with an excited but nervous anticipation – it all becomes part of the tapestry that the week is! There are days that are tough, and days not so tough, and hills that are steep, and some that roll on for a while, but really none of those things are the things that are remembered.

“It’s that moment of riding into PAMA House, one of six homes across Thailand supported by Hands Across the Water. That moment of receiving a hug and a heartfelt thank you from one of the children, who all know that what you’ve just done has helped them get through school, have a roof over their head and put good food in their belly.”

Impressive and inspiring

Peter Baines sees Young Hands as a significant development within Hands Across the Water.

“The Young Hands crew have just picked up the idea and run with it, and I’m continually impressed with what they achieve,” Baines said.

“They’re a pretty inspiring bunch. Every young person has an innate desire to change and become involved with their world. We want to help them realise their potential and in doing that positively contribute to the world around them.”

The Young Hands Ride is on again in 2018, 3 - 8 December. It’s open to anyone aged 17 to 25. Details and registrations at