Research ride for cyclists

700km: Part of the Pedal for Possibilities cycle group, at a coffee stop during a training session for the big ride. Picture: Supplied.
700km: Part of the Pedal for Possibilities cycle group, at a coffee stop during a training session for the big ride. Picture: Supplied.

Nine cyclists have taken on the arduous challenge of cycling 700km from Albany to Fremantle, to raise money for research on a string of common diseases.

The group began their ride in Albany on Monday and will stop in Busselton on Friday, March 18, before finishing the ride in Fremantle on Saturday.

Reon Botha was watching a television news feature nine months ago, when he came up with the idea for a charity bike ride.

The feature highlighted the critical genome research done by the Garvan Institute.

"It resonated with me in that they explained that all the discoveries and progress they were making was then fed 'downstream' to other organisations fighting various diseases such as Parkinsons, MND and cancer," he said.

Possibilties: Reon and other riders on the 700km bike ride through the South West are raising money for ground-breaking medical research. Picture: Supplied.

Possibilties: Reon and other riders on the 700km bike ride through the South West are raising money for ground-breaking medical research. Picture: Supplied.

After losing his own mum to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease a few years ago, Mr Botha said he wished there was a way to save her life.

"I contacted the institute the next day and put a proposal together to see whether they would endorse a fundraising bike ride from Albany to Walpole to Pemberton to Busselton to Mandurah and finish in Fremantle some 700km in total," he said.

"Fortunately they decided to endorse a ride and the 'Pedal for Possibilities' ride was launched."

Based in New South Wales, the Garvan Institute leads research in genomics, epigenetics, cancer, diseases of immunity, inflammation and ageing affecting bone, brain and metabolism. The institute is funded through a combination of government grants and philanthropic investment, meaning that it relies heavily on the fundraising done by people in the community.

Working in the financial services industry, Mr Botha approached some other financial advisers around Australia to see whether they would commit to do the ride.

"All too often they would be dealing with their own clients who would be struggling with various incurable diseases," he explained.

With nine people committed to the ride, the group began training three days a week in October, starting as early as 3.45am.

Alongside the riders, a support and logistics crew are ensuring the riders are fed, hydrated and protected on the roads as they work their way back up to Perth.

The ride team is aiming to raise as much money as possible for the Garvan Institute, with $46,000 already in the bucket.

The funds raised will allow the institute to buy essential equipment for laboratories and fund scientists to continue their work.

Anyone wanting to support the ride and the Garvan Institute can donate at fundraise.garvan.org.au/event/pedal-for-possibilites-ride