Hawaiian Ride for Youth: Ellenbrook’s Sonya Proctor in gruelling preparation schedule


Sonya Proctor trains three times a week to prepare for the Hawaiian Ride for Youth.       Picture: David Baylis
       www.communitypix.com.au   d451003
Sonya Proctor trains three times a week to prepare for the Hawaiian Ride for Youth.       Picture: David Baylis        www.communitypix.com.au d451003

The Ellenbrook resident is in the final stages of preparations for the Hawaiian Ride for Youth, an annual bike ride from Albany to Perth that raises money for Youth Focus.

Ms Proctor and 148 others from around WA will take part in the gruelling 700km ride from April 5 to 9.

“This will be my fourth year involved,” Sonya said.

“I did 2013 and 2014, and then did support crew last year, and now I’m riding again this year.

“It’s such a good laugh, all the people you do it with, there’s a really good spirit.”

Youth Focus is a not-for-profit organisation that works to prevent suicide by providing free services for 12-to-25-year-olds.

The Ride for Youth – which does not just involve riding – is the group’s biggest fundraiser for the year.

“We call into high schools along the way and do a bit of a presentation,” she said.

This year, the riders will stop at 19 schools across the southern region of the state.

“Some of the riders have had a good response, a lot of the time the kids come up to them and talk to them,” Sonya said.

“Maybe they feel they can because they don’t know them. I don’t know but it’s good.”

Sonya said she first got involved in the event after reading about it.

“I got a work email asking people to sign up,” she said.

“We had just moved over from New Zealand and I thought it would be a good way to meet people and do something new.

“I didn’t know anything about it but as I got into it with the training, I realised what Youth Focus does and how much of an effect they have.”

Sonya trains three times a week, with some sessions up to seven hours long.

“We did a 150km ride a few weeks ago,” she said.

“That was a long morning. But it was good preparation for the ride.

“I’ll get through it, I just don’t know what sort of state I’ll be in after.”

Last year, the ride raised more than $2.4 million for Youth Focus.

Sonya said each rider had to fundraise a minimum of $5000 to be able to ride.

“Each rider is put into a team, where we do fundraising together.

“We can do our own but it’s more fun to do in a team.“We do things like shaking the bucket, as well as putting on events such as dinners and bingo.”

The registration fee of $1500 also goes to Youth Focus.

Sonya said although it was not cheap, it was worth every cent.

“There’s been a lot of publicity about suicide lately that just makes you want to keep doing it (riding and fundraising) even more,” she said.

“It’s not something that’s spoken about all the time.“The fitness and everything is great, but the best bit is you’re helping out.”

The riders will take a bus to Albany and then begin the following day, staying in motels along the way.

“I’m taking the coastal route this year,” Sonya said.

“In the past I’ve done the other routes (via Wheatbelt or Frankland River). The first stop is Walpole, then Pemberton, Busselton and Mandurah.

“We arrive at Kings Park on Saturday (April 9) at 11am.”

The Ride for Youth started in 2002 and is now in its 15th year.

It has grown from just a handful of participants to more than 10 times the number of riders in its inaugural year.

“It started with just a few guys,” Sonya said.

“And some of those same guys are still doing it now.

“When I signed up I’d never ridden on a road bike in a group. My message to anyone considering next year’s ride is just do it, there’s nothing holding you back.”