Cyclists on a mission

Graham Iddles is ready to ride again for Youth Focus. Picture: Marcus Whisson www.communitypix.com.au d416412
Graham Iddles is ready to ride again for Youth Focus. Picture: Marcus Whisson www.communitypix.com.au d416412

More than 100 riders will set off from Albany on Tuesday, April 1, for the Hawaiian Ride for Youth, travelling through Collie, Pemberton and Mandurah on their way to Perth, averaging more than 100 kilometres a day.

Mr Iddles, who has participated in the event since the inaugural ride in 2003, said the group hoped to raise more than $1 million again this year after raising over $1.6 million last year.

‘The only thing they can do with money is put more counsellors on the ground. I mean, they see as many kids in a year as they turn away; the only thing restricting them to see more is having the facility to provide counselling to the kids,’ Mr Iddles said.

Mr Iddles said the ride began with 24 people but had grown considerably in recent years, with close to 90 per cent of money raised going directly to the youth suicide prevention charity.

‘It’s one of those things; it’s actually a travesty that we have to have a youth focus for kids who are suffering from self harm and depression, but the cold hard fact is that we do,’ he said.

Mr Iddles said since the ride began with a group of fathers from Floreat Primary School, the money raised had helped Youth Focus branch into Albany, Collie and Geraldton.

‘They were all pretty active guys who had just got into bike riding and a few of them decided we should do it for a cause,’ he said.

The group will split up after Albany into two pelotons, each stopping to talk to schools in the town they ride through.

Youth Focus CEO Jenny Allen said the event attracted a deep level of engagement from participants.

‘The riders have the responsibility of fundraising for around six months in the lead up to the event, alongside their rigorous training schedule, where they each cycle as many as 8000km in preparation,’ Ms Allen said.

The ride has raised more than $8 million since it began and engaged with more than 15,000 high school students.