RIDE: Jess Rippingale and Ben Stapleton will ride 500km to raise funds for those affected by the Australian bush fires. Picture: Laura Pettigrew
RIDE: Jess Rippingale and Ben Stapleton will ride 500km to raise funds for those affected by the Australian bush fires. Picture: Laura Pettigrew

Cyclists on track to help bushfire victims

TWO men are hoping their 500km fundraiser will remind people of the ongoing heartache caused by the Australian bushfires.

Brisbane resident Ben Stapleton and Coolum local Jess Rippingale decided to ride a 500km round trip from Noosa Heads to Tweed Heads to raise funds for those impacted by the devastating bushfires.

The triathletes said the idea for the 500km journey came from a desire to remind people of the devastating trauma still affecting many Australians.

"A lot of people have donated to the big charities and forgotten about it and then everyone is still in damage control down there," the riders said.

"Something else happens, like stuff about the royal family and now no one remembers the fires. These people have had their lives affected for the next how ever many years, if not forever.

"It's not about us doing it, it's for the purpose of the money for the fires, but also to bring people together and realising the bigger picture."

Starting on April 17 the duo has allocated three days to complete the round trip but are hoping to finish in two.

Mr Stapleton said the pair, who regularly trained for triathlons, have never attempted such a large distance which they hoped would grab people's attention.

"If we just rode a short distance no one is going to care, so you've got to make it stand out a little bit … it's a three-hour drive in a car there, so it's going to be some work," Mr Stapleton said.

"Getting out of and back into the Sunshine Coast is going to be pretty hard because we can't go straight down the highway; we have to go out the back towards Palmwoods and there is 600m of elevation over the ride which is quite large."

The keen cyclists said they wanted to reassure donators that all the money raised would be going to those affected.

"We are keeping zero dollars and are paying for fuel and accommodation out of our own pocket to give the most benefit from the money raised," Mr Rippingale said.

"GoFundMe does take out a chunk for administration stuff, but whatever is taken out we will replace.

"Donating anything, a dollar helps, if 10,0000 people donated a dollar each it makes a big difference."

Ride to Recovery has a goal of $5000 which the men said they would personally take down and spend in fire-affected communities to purchase much-needed items for families who have lost everything.

To follow the 500km journey visit the Ride to Recovery Facebook event or donate at https://bit.ly/3cpjdW9.



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