Graphic: Silver City Treadler rider June Files raising money for the Royal Flying Doctor Service South Eastern Section
The Silver City Treadlers, a cycle team founded by Broken Hill local June Files OAM, are preparing to saddle up for the 21st straight year. Last year their efforts raised $40,000 for the South Eastern Section of the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS SE) and over $600,000 during the past 20 years.
During the past two decades they have visited White Cliffs, Wilcannia, Menindee, Milparinka, Birdsville and the Riverina, venturing as far afield as Alice Springs and Darwin.
"As most of our riders are well over 50 it's nice to celebrate a 21st again," said the Silver City Treadlers' founder and tour leader June Files.
"Passing the $500,000 mark a few years back was memorable and this is another landmark – something I never imagined when we began all this two decades ago."
The Treadlers were born out of a dare made when June was training for a ride from Adelaide to Perth in 1996. A friend dared her to cycle beyond the range of an enormous eagle that was soaring across the Outback.
"I took it on, rode from Broken Hill to White Cliffs with three others and raised just over $1,400 for the RFDS," recalls June.
"The following year there were 47 riders and we formed the Silver City Bush Treadlers Inc. It's just kept growing from there."
"The money we raise supports the wonderful emergency and clinical work of the RFDS, which is such an important lifeline for those living in regional, rural and remote Australia."
The Treadlers' dares have become an annual event for distance cyclists. Riders of all ages travel from as far afield as Tasmania and Queensland to do the ride, the oldest being 81 years.
This year's "Billy Can Dare," which June describes as "….13 days to take a variety of day rides around the real Outback Australia" will involve 30 riders and 12 support staff. It will be based at the historic Mt Ive Station, some 250kms west of Port Augusta in South Australia.
The Treadlers will enjoy some exceptional views around the Gawler Ranges and will have private access to station tracks and natural wonders such as Peter's Pillars and Cath's Castles, exposed outcrops of red rhyolite rock.
They will also visit South Australia's "jewel in the crown," the stunning Lake Gairdner, the fourth largest salt lake in Australia which plays host to many land speed records.
"Although we won't be setting any records, this year's "dare" will involve some taxing 70 to 80kms rides," said June.
"For us it's a return trip. We rode through the area in 2006 and most wanted to stay longer as there is so much to see," explained June.
"Cycling is the best way to see what I like to call "Our Big Back Yard," but making new cycling friends and meeting the locals, who make us so welcome along the way, is the best part for me."
Greg Sam, Chief Executive Officer of the RFDS SE, was the first to express his thanks to June and her fellow Treadlers.
"The Silver City Treadlers are part of an elite group of fundraisers who have exceeded the half a million dollar mark," said Greg.
"We congratulate them on reaching another impressive landmark and thank them for the 21 years and the many thousands of kilometres they have dedicated to supporting the RFDS SE."