t is overcast but pleasant for the start of the final day of Pollie Pedal for 2017. The overnight rain has passed, promising reasonable weather for our 100 kilometre journey through Sydney to our final destination at North Head. Joining us for the final day is Andrew Wallace, the Member for Fisher.
As usual we break into groups of different speeds. For the past few days, the ‘A’ pack has been blessed to have the former elite National Road Series cyclist, Dugald Mitchell, to maintain the pace.
Colonel Kelvin Alley, the head of the Salvation Army in PNG, and a regular Pollie Pedal participant, has returned for the event to head the ‘B’ pack.
And the former European professional rider, Yvette Fuser, once again maintained the pace and discipline in the ‘C’ pack.
Amongst the riders this year are Michael and Tani from Streetworks. The organisation provides support for young people on Sydney’s north shore. Tani won the 1990 Commonwealth Games silver medal in the marathon before turning to cycling.
The ride takes the peloton from Camden to Holsworthy and then on to Watson’s Bay and a short ferry ride across the harbour to Manly before the final climb to North Head where the new Soldier On facilities will be located.
At Holsworthy, the riders are met by members of the Royal Australian Engineering Corps. After a chat and a tour of the Sapper’s museum, it is back in the bikes for the ride into Sydney.
As the ride finishes today, thanks to the sponsors of Pollie Pedal 2017: Australia Post, Blackmores, Hillbrick Custom Cycle & Sportswear, the nab, AHA NSW, Chantelle Sydney, Servcorp, the Pratt Foundation, the Pharmacy Guild, Australian Capital Equity, the Manildra Group, Westfund Health Insurance, the Rapid Relief Team, the LDS, and Macquarie.
Thanks also to the ride director, Graham Northey, and all the volunteers who have organised everything from signs on the roads, vehicle escorts to our laundry each night. The regular volunteer group from South Australia left the ride this morning to return home.
Thanks to our mechanic, Braydon from De Grandi Bikes in Geelong, for keeping our bicycles running, and Sarah Heathcote for keeping our bodies moving.
Thanks to Carley and the team from Soldier On for all their support along the journey.
Our efforts have raised more than $400,000 for the organisation. Over the years, Pollie Pedal has raised over $5 million for various causes.
Along the way, we have chatted with thousands of Australians about their hopes and dreams, their issues and concerns.
After eight days and 1,000 kilometres of cycling, including more than 8,000 metres of climbing, the 20th running of the event is over Until next year’s Pollie Pedal:
May the road fall before you,
And the wind be at your back;
May the sun shine upon you,
And the rain fall on other roads;
May your journeys be in safety,
And your cycling days be blessed.