Challenge on two wheels

Kevin Williams, with his son Finnbar, prepares for a 1000km ride to raise funds for Teen Challenge. Picture: Martin Kennealey d410118
Kevin Williams, with his son Finnbar, prepares for a 1000km ride to raise funds for Teen Challenge. Picture: Martin Kennealey d410118

Kari’s Tour de Freedom raised more than $400,000 last year and was the brainchild of bicycling enthusiast Kari Rummukainen, who sadly died during the 2011 event.

Thirty-four riders will take part in the journey from Esperance to Perth over six days, riding across hilly terrain and in all types of weather, before arriving back in Perth on November 3.

This is Mr Williams third Tour de Freedom and he said the difficult conditions reflected the tough times faced by teenagers in the Teen Challenge program, who live at Grace Academy in Esperance for at least a year.

‘The strongest thing they are allowed there is tea,’ he said. ‘No smoking is allowed and if they leave, they can’t come back.

Teenagers in the program live and work on an isolated farm, and Mr Williams said it has one of the highest success rates of drug rehabilitation programs in the world.

‘These kids are victims of circumstance and when we see them after they have been in the program for a year, the difference is unbelievable,’ he said.

‘I’ve seen first-hand how this program can help and as a dad, it’s nice for me to be able to give something back.’

Mr Williams cycles about 400km a week, including up and down hills, as part of his training and says the 6am starts can take their toll.

‘It’s the kind of sport where you have to invest a lot of time in training,’ he said.

A diesel fitter for Alcoa, Mr Williams is part of an Alcoa-Uvex-sponsored team.

People can donate to the riders’ totals at www.tdf1000.org.