At the outset I must declare that I have healthy …

Comment on More hide and seek with de Castella’s marathon funding by Graham Tjilpi Buckley.

At the outset I must declare that I have healthy bias towards cycling.
The following may sound like that I am blowing my own bags but that is certainly not my intention.
Since 2003 I have been taking Indigenous youth down to Victoria each year in order to participate in the nine day Great Victorian Bike Ride.
On average it attracts around 4500 participants. On a couple of occasions I have done it in conjunction with bush schools but for the majority of those years I have raised enough money to fund the whole trip for the kids on a private basis; not an easy gig but I usually get enough.
It now costs around $1,500 for each rider and that is just for the airfare and ride fee. Other costs are also involved. Training and learning basic bike skills are part of the build up to the recreational event. The average ride each day at the event is about 80 kms.
My main aim for doing the project each year is that something may rub off on the kids and that it may encourage them to maintain an ongoing connection with education. However, I can’t claim any firm data that my intentions have been fulfilled.
What I do know though is that it is a worthwhile pursuit in that the kids do, in a sense, have to socialise with a whole lot of strangers. People love to engage with the kids. I firmly believe it is money well spent. I would dearly love to have just the tiniest fraction of money that Robert De Castella has access to.
In my biased view I do contend that there is a far better chance of more beneficial outcomes happening with this recreational pursuit than with the marathon project.

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