The ride departed on June 11 and was to take six days, traversing the majestically beautiful east coast of Thailand before cutting across Khao Sok National Park and then heading south to the finish line at Outrigger Laguna Phuket Beach Resort, the headline sponsors once again for the event.
Riders spent on average five hours a day in the saddle, enduring 35ºC+ searing heat and passing roadside elephants, monkeys and absolutely stunning scenery. With the alarm going off at 5am every morning to beat the sunrise, traffic and the heat later in the day, the days were long, but with the end game was always in OUR minds, the entire journey was incredible.
The levels of ability and experience of the riders was varied and some inspiring individual efforts were certainly highlights of the trip. One thing that remained a constant throughout the ride was the unshakable bond and wonderful team spirit that grew stronger with each day and hour that passed on the bikes. In many cases riders were complete strangers at the start but by the time they rolled into Phuket friendships and bonds that will last a lifetime had been formed.
The last day saw 40 riders from Phuket meet at the JW Marriott Khao Lak to join the Ride 4 Kids V 2.0 team to help bring them home in what can only be described as mother nature at her very worst. Heavy rain and strong head winds for the last 100km, proved challenging, but for 13-year-old Romeo of Headstart International School, and 78-year-old Phuket resident Kurt, they took it in their stride and crossed the line with smiles on their faces and memories in their hearts.
The 12 riders and four support crew were riding for three local charities that are all child orientated: Phuket Has Been Good to Us, The Good Shepherd and Outriggers own charity initiative, Share 4 Change.
The pre-ride target was B1 million and at the time of writing fundraising had passed B1.5 million, and money is still rolling in.
Needless to say whatever the final figure is, the organiser Donna Toon said she had been “totally blown away by the generosity and support of the Phuket community who’ve really taken this event to heart.
“We can’t wait to see the good that all their efforts will do locally for the children less fortunate than our own.”
The riders, crew and their friends and family celebrated the completion of the epic ride at their coming home party at Metzos at Outrigger Laguna Phuket Beach Resort, where more “fun raising “ was had including a live auction, where a position for a rider in next year’s edition was auctioned off. The winner was local Jo Barnes, who is now training to be ready to jump in the saddle too. Well done, Jo! It looks like the wheels will be turning again in 2019 for what promises to be an even bigger and better adventure.