The body in the grass

lonely.jpgWe had an interesting time on our regular Saturday morning bike ride. Thankfully we managed to avoid the wild weather which flooded some areas and ripped roofs off several houses. The breeze was starting to strengthen but we managed to stay dry despite seeing flashes of lightning around us.

The interesting part was about five kilometres into the ride heading along Reid Highway. We were just starting to warm up the muscles when I spotted something several metres off to the side of the roadway. It looked like a body.

I mentioned what I’d seen to the guy I was riding next to and he said he’d seen what he thought was a garbage bag. I was still sure that there was something more to it so I told the other guys and all of us turned around and headed back to see someone lying there completely still. The top of his head and his bare feet were the only things not covered up. His jacket had been pulled up over his face and it was easy to see how he could have been mistaken for a garbage bag.

One of the other cyclists moved towards him and was about to bend down to see if he was OK when we heard a voice say, “I’m alright. I’m alright. Thanks.” While he was polite about it, it was obvious that he just wanted to be left alone. We got back on our bikes and headed off.

I was so pleased to know that he was alive and OK but I was still saddened to think that his life had got to the place where he was sleeping rough on the side of a highway, especially as we head into winter.

I wonder what kind of story led up to that moment. What had happened to bring him to that point? Who are the people left behind? Is there a home he can go back to or is this all he has now? I really hope that he comes to realise that no matter what has happened in the past, this doesn’t have to be all there is for the future.

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Crazy Cyclist

bike.JPGI’m a cyclist.

I’ve cycled across Australia five times. I’ve cycled in Canada. I’ve cycled in India. I cycle to and from work each day and cycle with friends on the weekend.

On my recent trip to Haiti and Dominican Republic with Compassion Australia I was determined to cycle somewhere if at all possible.

We arrived in Miami late on Sunday and the next day we had a very short driving tour of Miami on the way to the airport. During that trip we stopped at K-Mart for jsut a few minutes.

While the other members of the team were picking up last minute supplies for our trip to Haiti, I spotted the bike section at the back of the store.

I found a cheap bike that was way too small for me and grabbed my chance. I handed my camera to one of the other guys and started riding. It was only a few metres backwards and forwards down the aisle at K-Mart but at least I can now say that I’ve cycled in the US.

Unfortunately with our plans thrown into disarray by the riots in Haiti I wasn’t able to fulfil my dream of cycling there and there wasn’t any opportunity in Dominican Republic. Oh well. Maybe next time.

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Battling Youth Suicide

RideForYouth.jpgYouth suicide, depression and self harm are very real problems in our society but often we don’t hear the shocking statistics. Thankfully, Youth Focus is committed to helping young people and their families

Youth Focus is a Western Australian, non profit organisation with expertise in providing practical and effective support for young people, 12-18 years of age who are showing early signs associated with suicide, depression and deliberate self harm as well as providing support for their families.

Youth Focus has been established for 12 years and operates within both metropolitan and regional areas, servicing more than 600 young people each year and supporting some 160 families. In the last two years there has been a significant increase in demand for these services. As a consequence Youth Focus has been unable to offer assistance to an additional 240 young people each year who seek their help. It is believed that this number will continue to grow.

On the 1st of April, 40 men and women will set out on a five day bike ride from Albany to Perth to raise funds for Youth Focus in the prevention of youth suicide, depression and deliberate self harm. One of those cyclists, James Sutherland, joined me in the studio on Monday to talk about what the ride will achieve.

You can see James and me in the photo above. James is holding a tin to collect donations and I’m holding an award that was given to me on Wednesday night of last week by the Governor of Western Australia, Dr Ken Michael, AC. The award recognises the part that 98.5 Sonshine FM has played in promoting the Ride for Youth and Youth Focus over several years.

You can hear what James had to say about Youth Focus and the Ride for Youth by clicking the play button on the Audio Player at the bottom of this post.

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Five Years Ago

What were you doing five years ago? I was cycling in India.

I’ve posted this before but thought it was worth another look.

This is a video from my first trip to India in February 2003. I’d head back there tomorrow if I had the opportunity.

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More photos from Perth Criterium Series

Perth Criteriums 2008

A couple of days back I pointed you towards some excellent cycling photos shot by Mic Cullen. They were taken last weekend when Mic was photographing the Perth Criterium Series 2008 which was held in Joondalup, Perth, Victoria Park and Leederville.

I linked to his Vic Park shots and said that his Leederville pics would be up soon. They’re now ready to roll.

You can see his Victoria Park photos by clicking here and his photos from Leederville are here.

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