Ridewest on a journey from Brisbane to Longreach

Date published

23 Apr 2018

On Saturday, the Ridewest team set off on their 1237-km journey from Brisbane to Longreach in the name of raising funds for the Royal Flying Doctor Service. A research paper released by the RFDS in early 2017 revealed that remote Australians die on average from suicide at twice the rate as those living cities and that remote Australians are only able to access mental health services at a fifth of the rate of those living in cities. The paper also revealed that men and farmers are among the most at risk of suicide. In 2010 to raise funds for the RFDS to help with their primary care program for men in the Outback, Les and Damian Hancock along with Brenden Wright and Mark Dillman created Ridewest a biennial charity bike ride from Brisbane to Longreach.

On Friday Michael Urquhart, Pilot, Bundaberg RFDS visited the Brisbane Base to wish Bill Maddock and the whole Ridewest team the best of luck. Michael was planning to join the ride but is unable to after being transferred to Bundaberg. The riders all come from different backgrounds but share the love of riding, giving back, team camaraderie and the love of challenging themselves. To be eligible to participate, riders have raised a minimum of $5000, undertaken fitness/ health checks and trained for hundreds of kilometres to ensure they make it to the finish line. Bill Maddock is excited to be one of the riders this year as “Ride West is genuine about helping in the right way through the Flying Doctor and our Rural mental health teams and clinics”. RFDS is proud to have such an amazing group of people ride such a long journey to raise funds to support the RFDS Mental Health Unit.

Denise Smith and Emma Wex, two RFDS nurses will accompany the team on their journey providing medical and first aid support to ensure they are in top condition as they make their way across Queensland. The team is supported by a team of doctors, masseurs, bike mechanics and event support staff to ensure the ride goes as smoothly as possible for the riders.

The team of riders are already 3 days in to their 7-day journey and have been stopping in at some of the rural towns on their way. Many of the towns on their path are providing an array of delicious Australian food to the riders and support team and helping cheer on the courageous riders. Over its 5 bike rides, the Ridewest team have managed to raise over $700 000 for the RFDS and now with the help of a growing number of sponsors and partners, they hope to break the $1 000 000 mark in 2018. Already they have raised $248 099 of the $300 000 needed with only 4 days left to go. 100% of the profits raised from the bike ride will be used to help fund the RFDS Mental Health and suicide prevention unit.