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City to Coast bike ride a wheelie big success

City to Coast Community ride
Neil Roberts and his wife Jodi Willis-Roberts with Neil's support worker Leah McLaren about to embark on the 2021 City to Coast Community Ride.

Hundreds of locals greased their chains, pumped up the tyres and put on their helmets to take part in this year’s City to Coast Community Bike Ride.

Seated on the back of a tandem bike, Neil Roberts said the 20-kilometre ride from the city of Bundaberg to the coast of Bargara was something he looked forward to each year as a social rider.

Neil and his wife Jodi Willis-Roberts are both legally blind but they don’t let anything get in their way to stop them from enjoying a leisurely ride, and they have both taken part in the annual community event for the past four events.

“I’m totally blind,” Neil said.

“This is a good social activity, a chance for kids to get out and ride with their parents.

“It’s really just a great community event.”

Riding with his support worker Leah McLaren, Neil said he travelled by bike about three times a week along the coast at Bargara.

Jodi said she joins Neil and Leah of a Wednesday, but lately she was having trouble keeping up with the tandem duo.

“I’m actually vision impaired as well, and unfortunately lately they are leaving me for dead as the zoom off!” Jodi said.

“But riding in this event is a good chance for us to ride somewhere different. We really enjoy it”

City to Coast Community ride
Dr Bike's Jack Oldfield tightens Thomas Gees' bike seat in preparation for this year's community ride.

Volunteers help make the ride possible

Offering his time to tag along and fix any cycling niggles along the way Jack Oldfield, also known as Dr Bike, is happy to give up his Sunday morning and help out riding enthusiasts in the City to Coast Community Bike Ride.

Jack said he had stepped aside from repairing bikes for the moment as he focused on helping at the family farm, but his passion kept him returning, especially for a good cause.

“This is my passion, fixing bikes and anything cycling related – I just love it,” Jack said.

“As much as I love all bikes, I really enjoy coming along to this with the Mad Cycologists team, they are all really lovely.”

City to Coast Community Bike Ride organiser and Bundaberg Mad Cycologists secretary Rhianna Steindl said this year’s event had exceeded expectations with registrations taking place right up until the start of the ride.

City to Coast Community ride
City to Coast Community Bike Ride organiser Rhianna Steindl (middle) with Rod James and Max Trainer gear up for the 2021 ride.

With more than 270 registrations an hour before the start, Rhianna said it was already 50 more than the previous event.

“Last time we had 220 so we have well exceeded that and we are really pleased,” she said.

“This year a lot more community groups have stepped up to help us out, including Lions Bundaberg, Coral Coast Rotary, Quota Bundaberg and LifeFlight.

“Plus, a big thank you to Bundaberg Police who helped us with traffic control, we couldn't have an event like this without the sponsors.”

Sport and Recreation portfolio spokesperson Cr Vince Habermann said since its inauguration in 2006 the City to Coast Community Bike Ride had given the community a chance to ride together.

“I’m proud to officially start the event today – it’s great to be back with such a high number of participants this year,” Cr Habermann said.

City to Coast Community ride
Sport and Recreation portfolio spokesperson Cr Vince Habermann and Geordie Lascelles at the City to Coast Community Ride.

“It’s a fantastic event for the community and fitting that it is held on the last day of the Olympics which finishes tonight.

“A big congratulations to the Bundaberg Mad Cycologists, it has been challenging with COVID to get this event together and they have done such a great job to get everyone participating on this beautiful day.”

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