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RideWest 2024 - Day 1

Day 1

Brisbane – Oakey



Up before dawn, amidst a blanket of fog, our riders and their entourage gathered at Amberley with nerves pumping through their veins and hope in their hearts for the challenge that lay ahead. Over 150 people, including families, friends, colleagues, sponsors, past riders, and the RFDS team, joined together to bid farewell to the 2024 RideWest crew.


Rayners Meat provided a beautiful BBQ breakfast, fueling our riders for the adventure ahead. Despite the nerves, a strong sense of camaraderie filled the atmosphere, and the well wishes of all the crew sent our riders off with a bang. 


Today we were very grateful for the presence of our police escorts, Duncan, Troy and Scott, who ensured that our riders were kept safe while we negotiated what some have declared to be the heaviest traffic we’ve faced on day 1 of RideWest. As the sun crept higher in the sky, the fog lifted and blue skies and sunshine shone down on us – lighting the way.


 With the first couple of legs under the belt, the team faced their first challenge of gravel road – guided safely through the rough spots by the support crew, everyone passed through with no punctures!  A feat in itself.


Our last stop before we embarked on the climb up the Great Dividing Range was at Murphy’s Creek, where we were fuelled by Lilly’s Little Lunchbox, a silver sponsor this year.  Their pre-packed nutritious and delicious lunchboxes filled the spot, before we headed up the ‘hill’.


We were also very excited to have Channel 7 News visit to capture the climb and interview some of our team. This media support helps us spread the message of RideWest and helps us to continue to raise funds and awareness for mental health and the invaluable work that the RFDS Wellbeing Out West program offers.

Then, the climb up the range—that was something else. Picture this: posters waving, cowbells ringing, and cheers echoing as our riders powered up. It was hot, it was long and it was steep,  but with every push, the riders felt the support of the crowd lifting them higher, willing them along.  Some made it one go,  some needed to walk a little, but then power on, get back on the bike – what is important – all made it in one piece successfully to the top of the range!

As the heart rates settled and zooper doopers helped to cool the body temperatures, the relief started to show on the faces of the riders as that nervous energy melted away and smiles started to replace the anxious expressions we had witnessed earlier in the day.


The final leg of the day into Oakey was smooth sailing, as the peloton started to work together more efficiently and settle into a rhythm.  The enthusiastic crowd with their cheer sticks welcomed the crew into St Augustine’s  Church Guild.  The afternoon tea spread was next level with sweets and savouries to everyone’s taste.  This beautiful community embraced us with open arms and was also so generous as to not only donate their time  and their baking skills, but also made a contribution to our fundraising.


As we reach our first overnight pit stop -  the first ice baths of the day –  always a laugh to witness everyone’s firsts! The squeals, the shivering, the threat of more ice!  A great opportunity for the team to unwind and relax and get to know each other better.  To continue building on the morale.  As we enjoy a quiet beer (or cheeky wine) as the sun sets, we are grateful for an amazing first day and for the priveledge to be a part of the 2024 RideWest experience.


Highlights from day 1:

  • Shelley – It is just so special to be back and a part of RideWest again.  It was great to see Thomas and Les riding together.

  • Cullum – There were no flats on the gravel!

  • Erika – Its just great to finally be out on the road.  It was really quite special to start the day in fog – it was pretty cool to see.

  • Nabby  -  I got to see all 10 of my grandchildren roadside today to come out and support me on this cause – that was pretty special.

  • Ella – Making up that hill and getting the zooper dooper into my hands!

  • Elyse – Surviving my first ice bath!  Getting out!


Congratulations to all of the riders who achieved their personal best today (longest distance travelled on bike in a single day):

  • Tony Scott

  • Ben James

  • Thomas Kielenniva

  • Elyse Ruhle


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