No they’re not the final riders of the Tour Down Under running extremely late, the Wild Hogs in Lycra made their way through the Barossa on Thursday.
The group of five riders, averaging 58 years of age, and two drivers, were midway through their 5,500-kilometre ride from Perth, Western Australia to Cobram/Barooga, Victoria.
The five-week west coast to east coast ride originally started a “bucket list thing” according to one of the riders, Wayde Foster, but has evolved into something much more personal.
“After thinking about the ride we thought that if we are going to do this we should at least try and raise some money for a worthwhile cause,” he said.
“There are so many worthwhile causes that would benefit from donations, but we chose one close to our heart, Dementia/Alzheimer's research.”
Wayde’s father is suffering from Alzheimer’s, while fellow rider Bernie Gillespie lost his mother to the horrible disease.
“I have seen the effects on him (Dad) and how it affect not only the patient but the whole family,” Wayde said.
“It wasn't until I did some research into Dementia/Alzheimer’s that I realised it was the second biggest killers of Australians.”
Local connection Bernie Gillespie, step-father of Greenock’s Blaise Crafter, said the challenge has been “a lot harder” than expected, especially given he and Wayde had not ridden further than 100 kilometres before and were now averaging around 200 kilometres each day.
However, he said riding with friends and completing this challenge has been more than worthwhile.
“It’s a good feeling to be riding for a cause,” Bernie said.
“Knowing that we’re doing it for this cause has given us this bond.
“But we’ll be glad to get home.”
Meanwhile, Team Barossa’s Wayne Goodwin, a local pharmacist also made a guest appearance on Friday morning, hitching a ride with the group until Palmer before turning back.
Halfway through the grueling journey, Wayde and his team have already smashed the original target of $10,000, with almost $11,500, including about $1000 from people they meet along the way – so now they’re aiming for a whopping $20,000.
“I hope everyone gets behind us and donates to this great cause while we do the leg work,” he said.
“All donations will go directly to Dementia/Alzheimer’s research.”