They say the older you get the quicker time goes. I’ve decided that is true - unless you’re sitting on a bike seat, in the heat of the day, in the middle of the last leg before lunch on our Thailand bike ride, then time goes so incredibly slow. I’ve taken to removing my bike computer off the handle bars because some times I look down to check the distance and I swear next time I look, thinking another five k’s have passed to see it’s more like five hundred metres.
All of that might be true, but I wouldn’t swap any of it. The bike rides are an incredible experience and I genuinely look forward to them every year.
2018 will be something special. It will be ten years of riding in Thailand. This magnificent journey started in 2008, when Brigid Gibson suggested to me she was going to ride from Bangkok to Khao Lak to raise money for Hands. I decided to join her. Then there was two of us.
I’ve ridden that ride in Thailand plenty of times and in total I have done twenty three rides in Thailand and whilst I haven’t enjoyed ever minute of every ride there is not one minute that I wished I was somewhere else, perhaps that’s not entirely true, perhaps I’ve wished the next water stop was a little closer.
As we approach ten years of riding I reflect on the wonderful experiences that I’ve had along the way. We have had over five hundred riders who have ridden to support Hands and we’ve ridden a combined distance of over 425,000kms and we've raised over $5.5million just from the January rides for the kids and communities of Thailand that we support which is just staggering.
I wouldn’t want to single out any rider because there are so many who have done so much. But there are a few that it would be wrong not to acknowledge. Tony Love Linay first started riding with us in 2009 and was the last to sign up for that ride. He raised his money in a matter of weeks and came back the following year, and the following, and the following and has never missed a year.
The highlight though without question has been the journey I have shared with my family. My Dad started in 2009 driving the support vehicle and in that year I also had Lachie, Kels and Jack, my three kids ride with me. Jack had just turned ten years old the first year and he might not have completed the entire journey that year, but riding 500kms as a ten year old was pretty special.
The kids have returned to ride plenty of times, Jack putting eight rides in and it has been a wonderful journey to share. The journey with my Dad has continued and he has now ridden the ride three times completing his latest 800km at the age of 77 in January of this year.
January of this year not only did I ride with my Dad, but my brother and my wife CT, who gets the pleasure of riding 1600km every year. Sharing the ride with those I love the most has been a privilege. We are all banking memories that no matter what happens we will never forget.
I didn’t intend this story to be about my rides and my family, but it has been such a special experience and that in part is what the ride is all about. The unique and unforgettable memories that have been created. It doesn’t matter how many times I ride, each ride is a new experience thanks to the many wonderfully inspiring and committed people I get to share it with.
What I intended this newsletter to be about was an invitation.
An invitation to those of you who might have thought about riding, those of you might have followed the journey and thought “one day I will do that ride”. If it is part of your “one day” plan, how about making that one day the next ride? Don’t wait until the time is right to ride, because that time might never come.
If the thought of riding 800kms or raising the money is intimidating, that’s ok, because it is for everyone, but as intimidating as it is, it’s also achievable and we support you along the way.
This is my personal invitation to you to come and join me on the 2018 Thailand ride, it’s an opportunity to ride with us as we celebrate ten years of riding in a beautiful part of a remarkable country.
Come ride with me, you can register here, or contact me by just hitting reply to chat if you’re considering it.
This video was from our great friends at Business Blueprint who recently completed the ride, photos and video from the very talented Jay Beaumont