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Pedalling to Packsaddle

Saturday, 14th November, 2020

Team Broken Hill (from left) Nigel Lawrence, Mark Craven, Tim Ferguson and Nash Mitchell push off for Packsaddle this morning. PICTURE: Emily Ferguson Team Broken Hill (from left) Nigel Lawrence, Mark Craven, Tim Ferguson and Nash Mitchell push off for Packsaddle this morning. PICTURE: Emily Ferguson

By Emily Ferguson

Four local cyclists will embark on a bike ride to Packsaddle today as part of the 2020 Virtual Ride for Sick Kids. 

Team Broken Hill cyclists Mark Craven, Tim Ferguson, Nash Mitchell and Nigel Lawrence will take a 400 kilometre round trip from McDonalds to Packsaddle over the course of two days. 

It is part of their ongoing fundraising efforts for Ronald McDonald House Adelaide and the sick children who stay there when they’re away from home for treatment. 

The original plan for the Ride for Sick Kids was to cycle from Melbourne to Adelaide via the Great Ocean Road, but COVID hit and it was altered to a four-day ride around Kangaroo Island but then this was cancelled. 

“The reward versus the risk was too much,’ said Mark Craven. 

So now it has gone virtual, with anyone, anywhere urged to participate. 

“My friend Tim likes nothing but a challenge so we looked at going to Tibooburra which would have been over 500 kilometres in four days but then as the year went on, work commitments and different things, we thought 370 kilometres was a really good number,” said Mark. 

Tim said, “We’ll leave here on Saturday morning, ride to Packsaddle have a quiet beer and a feed that night and then we’ll turn around and head back home to Broken Hill.”

“Because we’ll leave from the McDonalds store and arrive at the McDonalds store, it’ll be close to 400km by the time we do the return trip.”

Mark said anyone was able to nominate for the virtual ride.

“You could set yourself up to do 50 or 100 kilometres. Trevor Walsh in town has set himself a goal of 200 kilometres this weekend too and he’s raised $1,000 on his own.”

Being a virtual ride you could also do it on a spin bike at the gym or machines at home with a bike on rollers.

“It’s going to be a tough event but it’s going to be fun. We choose to do this for the kids because they don’t choose to be sick,” said Tim. 

“We’d like to welcome Nash Mitchell and Nigel Lawrence into Team Broken Hill. We’ve got a lot of people to help create a lot of awareness for a great cause.”

Nash said he got involved to test himself while helping a beneficial cause. 

“I’m keen to participate in the ride to test myself on the long ride and raise money for a good cause that supports Broken Hill families. Especially since this year has been rough for so many I thought it would be nice to give back and help out.”

Nigel got involved after one of his work colleagues’ niece was diagnosed with a rare brain cancer at 15 and he saw how important Ronald McDonald House was to the family. “So many families from Broken Hill depend on Ronald McDonald House and if I was forced to pick only one charity to support this would be it, it’s so important.” 

“Tim, Nash, Mark and myself are paying a small price to help sick kids and their families, and the good hearted people of Broken Hill have got behind us with their generosity,” said Nigel. 

In the last twelve months, 43 Broken Hill families have used Ronald McDonald House Adelaide.

“I was there last week as a visitor and there was a Broken Hill family there,” Mark said.

“If people can help, we’ve all had a tough year and Ronald McDonald House has also done it tough. Of their three major fundraisers two of them were cancelled and although the virtual Ride for Sick Kids has done really well so far, numbers are well down on what the normal Ride for Sick Kids generates.

“The costs to Ronald McDonald House haven’t stopped during COVID... and COVID doesn’t stop all the bad things that people need Ronald McDonald House for,” he said. 

The ride to Packsaddle coincidentally falls on McHappy Day, an annual fundraiser for Ronald McDonald House Charities Australia. 

“So while we’re riding to Packsaddle, get down to Maccas and while we’re riding you’ll be eating,” said Tim.

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