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Blood, sweat and bike gears
How often have you thought to yourself ‘I am going to get fit’ or ‘I’m going to find a hobby’?
Eighteen months ago, a group of staff from CFA’s District 5 office started bike riding after work, in a bid to enhance their work/life balance and become fitter and happier in the process.
“Our goal was to improve ourselves – whether fitness or skills,” Barwon South West Community Safety Manager James Haley said.
“From the initial days of riding old, faded mountain bikes, feeling the bike seat outline every time we sat down, discovering how much difference gloves actually made and of course battling all variances of weather, the group decided to work to their ultimate dream – riding in the Murray to Moyne bike relay.”
This vision was achieved at the weekend when 13 riders and two support volunteers - the Flying Flynns’ - undertook the 540km ride from Mildura right through to Port Fairy.
“We were blessed with gorgeous weather for the duration of the event and every rider in the team achieved a personal best in either the distance travelled and/or average speed and rode at least 200kms over the two days,” Mr Haley said.
"As part of our support team, there was an experienced intensive care nurse who was monitoring all riders along the way."
At the conclusion of the event, Premier Hon. Dr. Denis Napthine presented medals to the team, which were proudly accepted.
Mr Haley said while it was a whole team effort, a special mention should be made to Nick Brown, District 5 Operations Manager.
“He rode the full 540km and was the only rider in the event who rode the whole distance from Mildura to Port Fairy. That’s a huge effort,” he said.
"It was great to see his achievement acknowledged by the ride organisers at the final ceremony. His ride was even more impressive, having just won the road race at the 2013 South Pacific and Victorian State Championships for his age group the week before."
The Flying Flynns’ also used the bike ride as an opportunity to raise money for the Royal Flying Doctors Service and the team’s name honoured its creator, John Flynn.
A generous uniform sponsorship by company DomTech, who specialises in household appliances, ensured the team were all professionally united in their dress, which clearly identified the Royal Flying Doctor Service, CFA, team members and sponsors.
After many entrepreneurial efforts, from cake sales, trivia nights, auctions and garage sales, the Flying Flynns’ have raised almost $5000 and counting for the RFDS - well beyond the team’s initial aim.
“What started as a simple bike ride after work with co-workers, grew, through the hard work and dedication of every member in the team, to an inspirational achievement. Everyone involved in the ride and fundraising should be really proud of themselves,” Mr Haley said.