16 February, 2016
One day into their epic adventure – riding a thousand kilometres in ten days on a tandem bicycle – Louise and Nat Ginn had doubts. “After day one I wasn’t sure if I’d actually make it,” Louise said. “The first couple of days were quite painful, but after day three I was fine.” The mother and son team had set out to ride from Sydney to Mount Kosciusko and back to Wollongong, to raise $100,000 for the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) and support the Blossom project educating and empowering young women and girls in Vanuatu to avoid unwanted teenage pregnancies.
“As a mum, I just couldn’t believe young women felt they had no other options than to abandon their children,” Louise said. “We had this idea of buying this property and setting up a refuge ourselves, but in reality I couldn’t take that on. It was a blessing that ADRA took it on. I realised my role was to raise money.” During their ten-day ride, the Ginns received invaluable support their crew, as well as from numerous churches along the way. Louise counts as a blessing that they only had one “really bad day”, when they encountered 35-degree heat and strong headwinds. “Even downhill we had to pedal,” she said. “We averaged about 12km/h on that day. We were pretty exhausted that night.” Part of the motivation for the ride was to grab people’s attention and highlight the cause. “We always wanted to do something a bit different and to help others,” she said. And with radio and newspaper interviews in most of the towns they stopped at, this was definitely achieved. “When we got into towns after an interview, people would say, ‘Oh, we heard about you on the radio!’” Louise was pleasantly surprised at how many people engaged with their ride. “We had people collecting on the street and we even went into the local pub shaking our tin. When we got home we had $1500 just from the pub. It was just an amazing feeling – people were so friendly,” she said. It made for an exhausting schedule though. “We’d ride all day, then go around fundraising in the evening. Often we didn’t eat until 9 or 10pm.” Louise said as a mother she felt “privileged” that her 16-year-old son wanted to take part with her. “Nat was such an inspiration. Every time I said, ‘My legs are sore,’ he’d say ‘Mum, the only thing you can do is pedal. The faster you pedal, the sooner we get there.’” Louise reflects on her early doubts: “It’s hard to believe we’ve actually done it now. If you knew how much was involved to begin with, you probably wouldn’t do it. But it’s amazing when you set your mind to something and complete it.”
Josh Dye is media and communications coordinator at ADRA Australia.