Six Months Today

A spring day in Perth. There is a mixture of excitement, anticipation and concern. There may even be fear. Have I done enough? Will I make it?

Looking back there are hundreds, even thousands of hours in preparation. Looking ahead there are 33 days, over 4,200 kilometres, pain, exhilaration, good times and bad.

On that spring day I’ll begin the Ride for Compassion Coast to Coast, a huge cycling event that will make a major impact for children living in extreme poverty. Today marks six months from the first turn of the pedals on the journey.

The ride will start in Perth, Western Australia on Saturday the 18th of September. We will arrive at Compassion’s head office in Newcastle, New South Wales on Wednesday the 20th of October. There’ll be 28 riding days and 5 rest days. The average riding distance for those riding days will be just over 150 kilometres. Our longest days will be just under 200 kilometres. There’ll be around 35 cyclists and a support team of around 12.

Six Months Today

That spring day will come so very quickly. Planning for this ride began some years ago and yet here we are, six months out, working towards that first day on the bike, then the second, then the third and so on all the way to the other side of the country.

So much has already been done in planning and preparation but there’s so much still to be organised and completed.

More than 4,200 kilometres from west to east won’t happen unless there are thousands of kilometres in training beforehand. That training will require a change in my routines, my calendar, what I eat, how I think and so many other areas of life. There’s no doubt that this ride will require sacrifice.

I can’t afford to take the path of least resistance. It’s autumn now but winter is around the corner. I won’t have the luxury of leaving my bike in the garage on wet days. If I’m to make the distance I need to step up today and every other day until this ride is over.

It’s Too Important

The cause behind the ride is too important to treat lightly. Hundreds of children living in extreme poverty are depending on those of us making this journey and making it count. They don’t know we’ll be riding across the continent, they’ll probably never know, but it’s an important cause all the same.

There are children, through no fault of their own, who are living in the most unacceptable circumstances. We plan to make a difference for as many of them as we can by offering them a hope more powerful than poverty.

The World Bank is estimating that the current pandemic will force around 150 million people into extreme poverty this year. I can’t stand by and see that happen.

If you’d like to support my ride you can do so in two ways.

I am personally seeking to raise $25,000. I really need your help to make that a reality.

You can make a direct donation to my fundraising page. Your donation will touch the lives of some of the most vulnerable people in our world, children living in extreme poverty.

So far, I received donations from $10 to over $1,000 from some generous friends. All donations above $2 are tax-deductible in Australia. Your contribution, of any amount, will put me closer to my target of $15,000.

The other way you can help to boost my total is to sponsor a child living in poverty. By visiting my fundraising page and clicking the yellow SPONSOR A CHILD button, your sponsorship will count towards my fundraising goal while releasing a child from poverty in Jesus’ name. Every child sponsored through my fundraising page counts as $1,000 towards my fundraising goal.

Sponsorship gives kids safe places to play, the chance to see a doctor when they’re sick, education, and the opportunity to discover Jesus’ incredible love for them.

Sponsor a child. Give them a brighter future so they, and eventually their own children, can live free from poverty.

Whichever way you choose to support me and however much you choose to give, your contribution will not only help push me closer to reaching my target, you’ll also change the life of a child or children living with the devastating effects of extreme poverty.

The Long and Winding Road

So there is quite literally a long road ahead for me beginning six months from today but the journey starts now. I’ll be doing my best to fulfil my responsibilities in training, fundraising and then riding. Will you support me in this massive venture?

It’s unacceptable that millions of children are living in extreme poverty so I’m putting my body on the line to do whatever I can to make a difference for as many of those children as I can.

Will you help me give more children a chance to live, dream and hope?



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Want to do something amazing?

Have you got a few minutes for me to ask you a slightly odd question?

Have you ever stared evil in the face and thought, “this is unacceptable, this can’t go on”?

I have. I’ve been face to face with extreme poverty and its shocking human consequences in several countries, and while it’s been my job at Compassion Australia for over seven years to speak up for the people I’ve met and share what I’ve experienced, it’s not always easy.

I’ve seen horrors that will haunt me for the rest of my life; things I’ve never shared, even with those closest to me.

How can I stop those things becoming a burden too great to bear? I have resolved to be an agent of change and healing and you can too. If I can make even a small difference, I’ll know that I’ve spent my life well.

That’s why I’m taking part in Ride for Compassion Coast to Coast in September and October this year. I’ll be cycling 4,200 kilometres across Australia from Perth to Newcastle to provide desperately needed assistance for children and their families who live in extreme poverty.

Of course, I can train hard, and I’ll certainly have to do that, and I can ride all those kilometres, but it won’t bring worthwhile change without your help.

You are the key to my success.

It’s when you join me in saying no to the evil of poverty and stand with me to say that it’s unacceptable that together we can start transforming lives.

While we all face the very real effects of the current pandemic, the World Bank has estimated that COVID-19 will push 150 million people into extreme poverty this year. It’s the first rise in global extreme poverty in over 20 years. That’s unacceptable.

Your generous donation will touch the lives of some of the most vulnerable people in our world through Compassion’s work around the world, including those ravaged by the pandemic.

I am personally seeking to raise $25,000. I really need your help to make that a reality.

I don’t know if you can manage to give $50, $500 or $5,000 but I do know that your contribution, of any amount, will put me closer to my target of $25,000.

Please don’t delay. While the ride is still some months away, your donation today will go straight to work against the unacceptable.

To donate securely go to my fundraising page now.

Another way you can help me reach my target is by sponsoring a child through Compassion. Every child that is sponsored via my fundraising page will be counted as $1,000 towards my $25,000 target. There is a button on my fundraising page that will allow you to meet your new sponsored child today.

Sponsorship gives kids safe places to play, the chance to see a doctor when they’re sick, education, and the opportunity to be known, loved and protected.

If you want to know more about donating to Compassion, or about Compassion Child Sponsorship, please get in touch. You can leave me a message in the comments section of this post or head to my contact page.

Thank you for joining me in telling poverty that we won’t let it win.



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Defeating the Overwhelming

It’s too big. I can’t do it. I can’t cope.

If you haven’t said it out loud, you’ve probably heard your internal voice whisper those words or something similar a number of times over the years. I know I have.

Is there something overwhelming waiting for you in 2021? Does it all seem too much?

We talk about having mountains to climb and I have a couple of giant mountains ahead of me this year. My biggest problem with climbing mountains is that I have a fear of heights. As well as the herculean task of climbing, I have to deal with all the doubts and fears along the way.

How did we get here?

While 2020 seemed to last for years, we’ve finally left it in the past and arrived on the shores of 2021. That’s scary because I can no longer put off the urgency of what I’ll be doing ths year by saying, ‘next year’.

This is where reality bites. In just 37 weeks I hope to begin cycling right across Australia. I am currently in no shape to take on such a challenge.

Ride for Compassion Coast to Coast will start on Saturday the 18th of September. Together with around 30 other cyclists I’ll arrive at Compassion’s head office in Newcastle, NSW on Wednesday the 20th of October, having cycled over 4,200 km. There’ll be 28 riding days and 5 rest days. The average riding distance for those riding days will be just over 150 km. Our longest days will be just under 200 km.

I have quite some experience with the ride aspect of the trip having cycled across Australia six times previously but fond memories won’t get me there.

I’ve continued to age since my last crossing and I know that the distances will feel longer. The training will be harder. The aches will last longer.

This year’s ride is a huge mountain.

So, what’s getting me back on my bike if it’s really that hard?

That’s the other mountain.

For just over seven years I’ve been working for Compassion Australia, a Christian international holistic child development organisation.

I’ve visited Compassion’s work in 7 of the 25 developing countries we serve and I’ve met hundreds of children and their families who are being released from poverty in Jesus’ name.

The task of turning the tide on global poverty has been hard enough, but the current pandemic is estimated to push around 150 million more people into extreme poverty. There is an urgent need to raise and direct funds to those who have been most affected. A colossal mountain.

Time to start climbing.

It’s the start of 2021. We’re at base camp. Time to begin the climb … the arduous, at times seemingly impossible, climb.

I’ll begin by reminding myself that I’ve cycled those distances before and that despite my ageing body, for the sake of the most vulnerable, children living in poverty, I can do it again. It’ll take a lot of training and persistence but I can reach that peak.

Of course, all that work will be wasted if it doesn’t produce resources to help those in most need.

Hand me the harness.

I won’t ask you to join me on a bike but I do need your help to overcome these challenges.

Your encouragement as I train is vital. There’ll be days when it’ll be ‘too windy’, ‘too hot’, ‘too wet’ to train. On those days it’ll be easier to stay in bed so I’ll need your encouragement to keep me motivated.

I’ll also need you to donate whatever you can to help me reach my $25,000 target. I don’t know how I’ll get there without you.

You can sponsor a child living in poverty or make a straight donation.

Sponsorship gives kids safe places to play, the chance to see a doctor when they’re sick, education, and the opportunity to discover Jesus’ incredible love for them.

A donation will be put to immediate use in helping those affected by the pandemic.

Will you help me climb a couple of mountains this year by giving more children a chance to live, dream and hope? Sponsor a child today or donate now through my fundraising page.



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12 Unique Life Experiences

I posted a very similar post to this some years ago and thought it was worth sharing again with a slight update here and there.

Let’s get the conversation going. I want to know about some of the things you’ve experienced that most others haven’t. What are the unique moments of your life?

I thought I’d try to spark things by listing a few things I’ve done that you probably haven’t.

While you may find one or two things on the list that you’ve done I sincerely doubt that you’ve done all twelve. 🙂

I’m hoping that you’ll come up with a few of your own in the comments section of this post. If you’ve done any of the things on my list let me know.

I’ll just list the twelve things and leave it to you. If you have questions about any of the items in the list, feel free to ask.

12 Things You’ve ‘Probably’ Never Done

1. Spent six weeks in court.

gavel

It was some years ago and it was quite a high profile case. I had been called on for jury duty for a case that was set down for two to three weeks. Within the first week the judge suggested that things were going really well and we’d probably be all wrapped up in less than two weeks. Then things got complicated.

Six weeks later we finally returned our verdict and our lives could return to normal.

2. Cycled across Australia six times.

It’s been a couple of years since my last Nullarbor crossing in 2018 when I rode from Perth to Newcastle. It seems almost a lifetime away from my first of five crossings back in 1987.

I’ve cycled across Australia in my twenties, my thirties, my forties and in my fifties. I’m currently making plans for another crossing which will start in about 13 months from now. You can find out more about my next crossing (and maybe even join me) by going to the Ride for Compassion website.

1987 – Perth to Canberra
1988 – Perth to Canberra
1990 – Perth to Adelaide
2000 – Perth to Sydney
2003 – Perth to Hobart
2018 – Perth to Newcastle

3. Escaped a country when rioting and looting in the capital became widespread.

haitiriot

I was introduced to the work of Compassion when I was invited to travel to Haiti back in April 2008. We were meant to be there for a little over a week but it was the time of the global financial crisis and subsequently the global food crisis. Families couldn’t afford even the most basic food so after their cries for help to the government fell on deaf ears, they began to riot in the streets.

Roads were barricaded, shops were looted and there were fires across the capital city of Port-au-Prince. Several people died in the riots.

Our small team managed to get out of Haiti under some extremely trying circumstances. It was very difficult getting to the airport and at times we were in very real danger. We finally hooked up with some armed police who escorted us to the airport so that we could leave the country.

You can hear more about our close call in my podcast episode with fellow traveler, Az Hamilton. Just click play on the audio player below.

4. Hand fed an orangutan.

orangutan

I also got fairly close to a lion, patted a penguin, fed a rhinoceros, had a 1.5 metre snake draped across my shoulders and much more as part of a behind the scenes Zoo experience back in late 2008.

5. Shared a stage with Mikhail Gorbachev.

mikhail-gorbachev

When I say ‘shared a stage’ what I really mean is that we were both on the same stage at the same time. Gorbachev was speaking to an audience and I was carrying his cup of tea.

It was May 1999 and the World Masters of Business was at the Burswood Dome in Perth. Some friends were staging the event and so I not only recorded all the voice overs to introduce the guests, I got to be stage manager on the day.

One of the things Mr Gorbachev requested was that he would have a very hot cup of tea placed on a table off to the side of his lectern. To ensure it was as hot as possible I carried it on just after he had made his way onto the stage.

6. Had my travel documents confiscated in a foreign country.

passport

It was 1992 and I was traveling to Canada to cycle through The Rockies for a week or so. Our flights had been overbooked so instead of going a fairly direct route we had to visit a few extra airports.

It was back in the day that Australians required a visa to enter the US. When we flew into San Francisco and had to clear US Customs, my passport and other travel documents were confiscated. I didn’t have a visa.

I explained the situation and so it wasn’t really a big deal but I did get a big red ‘TWOV’ stamped in the passport. (Transit Without Visa).

All my documents were finally returned a couple of flights later when I stepped off the plane in Canada.

7. Cycled from Agra to Delhi in India.

agra-to-delhi

On my first of three trips to India I traveled by van to Agra, home of the Taj Mahal, before starting the ride back to Delhi.

Cycling in India is an amazing experience. I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone with a heart condition but if you’re interested in adventure, start pedaling.

8. Met General ‘Stormin’ Norman Schwarzkopf.

Stormin Norman was another of the speakers at World Masters of Business at the Burswood Dome in Perth. Unlike the other speakers, Norman was back stage well before time. He wanted to hang out with the crew and made sure he introduced himself to everyone. For someone who played such a significant part in the history of our world he was amazingly ‘normal’. He was extremely friendly and seemed to be a genuinely nice guy.

When it was finally time for him to speak, he focused a lot on leading alongside others and having real care for those you lead. From my interactions with him earlier in the day it was obvious that he practiced what he preached.

9. Interviewed 2011 Tour de France winner, Cadel Evans.

cadel

I had the honour of interviewing hundreds of people during my years working in radio. I spoke to the famous through to the not so famous and lots in between but some interviews will always be highlights for me. Like the day in 2009 when I had twenty minutes with a cycling hero.

Cadel had just published his biography, Cadel Evans: Close To Flying, and was traveling around Australia on a promotional tour. As soon as I heard he was coming I contacted his publisher and was thrilled when I was told he would be coming to the studio for an interview.

He was quietly spoken and it was obvious that media interviews weren’t his favourite part of the job, but he was gracious and interesting and I got to hang out with a hero.

10. Preached at Cathedral Church of the Redemption in New Delhi, India.

During my first trip to India I found that a number of engagements had been arranged for me. One of those engagements was preaching on the Sunday morning at the Cathedral. I was so glad that I’d packed my suit.

The cathedral is impressive, inside and out, and is known as among the most beautiful and magnificent churches in India. It’s a part of the Church of North India which is a province of the worldwide Anglican Communion.

11. Been mentioned in Australia’s Federal Parliament.

hansard

It was September 2007 when Stephen Smith delivered a speech regarding the Millennium Development Goals. I was part of a small group representing the Make Poverty History campaign which visited Mr Smith’s office some time beforehand to raise concerns with him.

Our group, gathered from several local churches in Mr Smith’s electorate, were all mentioned by name. Mr Smith finished his short speech to the parliament with this paragraph.

We had a very fruitful conversation, and it was so pleasing to see so many people in the local community in my electorate committed to wanting to see Australia act as a good international citizen, committed from a personal point of view to always trying to ensure that someone who is not as well off as you are gets a helping hand up, and as far as Australia being a good international citizen is concerned, ensuring that Australia is committed to overseas development aid, is committed to the Millennium Development Goals and committed in an international sense to making poverty history for so many developing nations around the globe at the moment.

12. Cycled up and down an aisle at K-Mart in Miami, Florida.

kmart

In 2008, on the way to visiting Compassion’s work in Haiti, we stopped in Miami for a night. On the way to the airport we stopped at the local K-Mart so that one of the group could buy some extra clothes.

As we wandered around I noticed the bikes at the very back of the store. I figured that I wouldn’t get another chance like this so I handed my camera to one of the team and then started riding around. I wanted to say that I have cycled in the US. I got the photographic proof and so it’s official.

So there you are. Now it’s over to you.



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My Bicycle Crash

I crashed. I’m not hurt, but I did crash.

It wasn’t a physical crash. I didn’t hit anything or fall off my bike. It was a different kind of crash.

Things were going great. I was building up the kilometres on my bicycle, feeling good, but then one day after a ride, I put my bike in its usual place in the garage and that’s where it stayed. I haven’t really been out on my bike for a long time.

All that’s about to change. I’m 15 months away from starting my seventh crossing of Australia by bicycle. I need to reacquaint myself with my bike and with long hours of training.

Ride for Compassion Coast to Coast 2021 will leave Perth on Saturday the 18th of September next year. Over 4,000 kilometres later, on Wednesday the 20th of October 2021, we’ll arrive in Newcastle. We’ll cycle an average of 150 kilometres a day, with some days up around 200 kilometres.

Why am I doing it all again?

While COVID-19 has had significant effects for all of us, I’ve been deeply saddened to hear the estimates of the impact on the poorest people in our world. I heard a friend say that the current pandemic will push back the cause of reducing extreme poverty in our world by 10 years. It’s been estimated that between 40 million and 60 million people will return to extreme poverty. Think about that … between 40 million and 60 million people who had escaped extreme poverty being pushed back into that darkness. I just can’t comprehend that kind of devastation.

I’m riding for those children who, through no fault of their own, find themselves in fairly desperate circumstances. I can’t not ride.

Will you help?

We’ve all faced difficulties in this time, but those in poverty don’t have a safe place to isolate. They don’t have any savings stashed away for the tough times. They barely had enough to survive before and now they have nothing.

You can make a very real difference. I’ll do the training. I’ll push my ageing body to do this one more time. Will you contribute to the cause?

I have set a personal target of $25,000. It’s a huge target and I have no idea how to get there, but I know how to ride my bike and I’m hoping and praying that you’ll help me raise funds for the most vulnerable in our world.

Whether you can afford $10 or $10,000, I’m pleading with you to consider donating today through my fundraising page. If you’re in Australia, your donation will be tax deductible. Wherever you are, your donation will save lives.

Please consider the difference you can make in these very difficult times.



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