Ride2Rescue - Three months on
It’s not every day that someone decides to cycle over 26,000 km from London to Melbourne, a journey that will take up to 12 months, carrying everything they need on their backs. But this is the goal for Ride2Rescue, a group of five Australians who are currently cycling across the globe to raise awareness about the crime of child trafficking.
The ride is giving a voice to children who are subjected to child slavery and, along with World Vision Australia's Child Rescue, the riders hope to educate people on this issue.
Driven by a passion for adventure and athleticism, the riders said goodbye to Australia on 30 April 2011 and set out on their epic challenge which will see them riding though 26 countries.
The team have been away for three months so far and have recently completed the European leg of the ride. I caught up with one of the riders, Tim Holman, who gave me an update on the ride so far, talking about everything from breathtaking scenery, lost passports, wild dog attacks and very sore legs.
Hi Tim, so you’re three months into the ride now, how has it been so far? What countries have you traveled through?
It’s been absolutely incredible! It’s hard to put into words really. I've learnt a lot about myself through the times where we have been truly tested and I like to think it’s helped me grow a lot. I guess so far it’s been the honeymoon period to a degree as we have easy access to water and the towns have been fairly close to each other.
We left England on the 30th of April and from there we have been to France, Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Austria, Slovakia, Serbia, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria. At the moment we are in Turkey, about to cross onto the Asian side.
How has the ride impacted upon you and the other riders both physically and emotionally?
Physically, I struggled with the demands of cycling over 100kms a day every day for the first few weeks. I was also sick and pulling up sore most days. This, mixed with some bad news from home, affected me a lot both emotionally and physically. I continued to work hard and eventually each day became easier than the next. I now look back at how tough that was and I feel a sense of pride knowing that I pushed on. However, recently I have been feeling extremely positive and am genuinely excited to start each day.
Do you think the ride is achieving what it set out to? Raising awareness of the reality of child trafficking?
The ride has definitely raised a lot of awareness about this issue as people hear about the ride, are intrigued by our adventure and then they find out what we are doing it for. Education on the issue, however, has not come as yet and therefore exposing the real truth behind what happens is still yet to come. From Pakistan onwards we begin visiting projects related to the cause and as our education expands on the issue it will be the same for our audience as we document these experiences.
Has the ride been different to what you expected? If so, how?
To a certain extent it has. It's extremely hard to picture a trip like this before you leave as these are places we have never been. I have preconceptions about every place I go in regards to things like culture and terrain but it's never how I expect. I've learned to just ride the wave and enjoy the journey.
That's the best part about it: I don't know where I am going to sleep and who I am going to meet. A few days ago for instance I slept next to a gas station in rural Turkey, and the next day I was offered a room at a spa resort. You just never know.
You still have heaps of interesting countries to visit before making your way back to Australia, so where are you off to next?
We are off to Iran next, which I am extremely excited about, mainly because I am meeting my Dad, who is going to follow me for a few weeks on a motorbike. The itinerary for now is very up in the air due to the recent trouble in Western Pakistan. We may be heading North via Kazakhstan or potentially via the UAE to Northern Pakistan so right now, we’re not looking too far ahead.
How can young people, the readers, get involved with what you’re doing and contribute to your cause?
They can follow our journey on Facebook (new window). It's not just about donating money, it’s about learning what the problem is and how an individual’s actions at home can have a positive or negative effect overseas.
If they would like to donate we are supporting a World Vision initiative called Child Rescue which works in many countries to rehabilitate and protect children vulnerable to trafficking. They can also visit the World Vision website (new window) for more details.
For more about Ride2Rescue, check out roving reporter Elizabeth's earlier interview with the riders before they took off. For more articles about Community and activism, check out our Articles archive.
Articles Written by Jessica
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