Congratulations to the AAMIG TransAmerica Cycle Challenge team, including four UWA alumni, who have completed their 10 week cycle across the US from Oregon to Virginia "We can therefore we will" tour!
Trish, CEO of Australia-Africa Mining Industry Group (AAMIG), through her work contact with Wheelchairs for Kids, was inspired by what they were achieving and sought to raise $30,000 for the cause - which they did - while enjoying each other's company while cycling through some of the most beautiful parts of the USA - which they did.
Trish O'Reilly (UWA Arts and postgrad Social Work 1979) CEO of AAMIG, Malcolm Brown (UWA Engineering 1978, UWA MBA 1984), Mark Howard (Phys. Ed. and Dip. Ep 1977), Paul Worthington (Phys.Ed. 1977), Rodney and Andrea Hodge, Frank Mohen (UWA Engineering 1978), Stephen Hall, John Cook (UWA Engineering 1978, UWA MBA) and Iain Scott chose to cycle some 6,600km in 10 weeks across the epic TransAmerica Trail to celebrate Wheelchairs for Kids 30,000th wheelchair and raise funds for more. Ably supported by Shirley Koock (UWA BA 1980), who drove the support vehicle, they started in Florence, Oregon on 11 May 2015 and finished the challenge in Yorktown, Virginia on 19 July 2015.
Why not just hire a car? "Because we can," the team said. "While we might all be upward of 50 year old, we have our health, a commodity that is seriously undervalued until you lose it. When compared to the people we are trying to help via "Wheelchairs for Kids" or people afflicted by life threatening illnesses, we are blessed. So our motto is 'We can therefore we will.'" We think they may also have raised enough for wheelchairs for 211 children.
What is Wheelchairs for Kids? Retiree volunteers produce 300 wheelchairs per month for distribution free to disabled children in under resourced countries.These wheelchairs are built to WHO recommendations for use in rough terrain and are adjustable for all sizes of children and their growing needs. Just $150 gives one desperate child a wheelchair and a huge chance at a better life.
The team's donation page is now closed, but donations can always be made throught the Wheelchairs for Kids website www.wheelchairsforkids.org
The route follows the TransAmerica Trail published by the Adventure Cycling Association of America. It commences in Florence, Oregon on the Pacific West Coast and finishes some 6,600km and 10 weeks later in Yorktown, Virginia on the Atlantic east coast. In between it passes through Oregon, Idaho, Montana (including through the world famous Yellowstone national Park), Wyoming, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky and finally Virginia. The ride passes through many historical centres of America from the early gold rush days in Montana and Wyoming and through many of the civil war sites of the eastern states. Unfortunately it is not flat, having to pass over the Rocky Mountains on the west side and through the Appalachians on the east.
For the statistically minded: they rode a total of 6,675km over 56 ride days spending 267 hours in the saddle (not counting rest stops). The average ride day was 119km at an overall average speed of 25kph. They climbed 49,400m vertically which is about five and a half Mt Everest's. "Fortunately we came down the same height which was the fun part."
Trish adds "As you can see the UWA and the contacts we made there are still very relevnt to our lives now."
Fiona Maley, Marketing and Research Coordinator 086488 1299
Rob Blandford, Alumni Relations Officer 86488 2651