Raising funds for the Steven Walter Children's Cancer Foundation
Hi, my name is Glenn Martin and in October 2010 I’ll be taking part in the Steven Walter Foundation “Ride Around Australia”. All participants are being asked to raise at least $2,500 to donate to the Steven Walter Foundation that goes to research into childhood cancer. I’m currently in my 30s, an IT professional living in Canberra Australia for the past 15 years or so. I’ve ridden motorbikes for 20 years and for the last 10 years my ride has been a ‘99 Yamaha Road Star, a big Japanese 1600cc V-Twin cruiser.
Short update today. I’m off for a run with the boys from Melbourne during the long weekend starting tomorrow. I’ll be riding from Canberra to Kevington, a small dot on the map just north of Melbourne. During this ride of three days I am going to try out some things with my iPhone as a practice run for October.
First I am going to try the MotionX iPhone application which I will use to automatically log location updates to my Twitter and Facebook account every 15 minutes. Unfortunately I have been advised that most GPS apps for the iPhone absolutely chew through the battery life, so I will only use this feature for the first hour and a half – Canberra to Gundagai. After Gundagai I plan to manually push updates from any townships I stop at. If you happen to be available to see the auto updates in action, I plan to leave shortly after 8am East Australia Standard Time.
Now MotionX is not a GPS navigator, well not for my purpose anyway. For navigating I am looking at Navigon or maybe TomTom, but due to concerns of battery life and the fact I haven’t hooked up any form of charging system on the Road Star I will give it a miss for this particular trip.
So what else? Well, I also plan to try and keep a small diary log and photos pushing up to WordPress and Twitter when appropriate. Might be pretty light-on Saturday, but hopefully with a full charge on Sunday and some nice roads coming our way I’ll see how I go. Hopefully it will mean people can follow updates either via this blog, my Twitter feed, or my FaceBook account – whatever flavour takes your fancy really.
The Everyday Hero Team for the Around Australia Ride fundraising efforts have now reached $20,000! The Everyday Hero site provides a fast and secure method for riders participating in the event to fundraise the minimum $2,500 per bike being asked for to participate in the ride. In speaking with the Steven Walter Foundation recently I am told the money that has been raised offline will make this total significantly higher!
My personal tally is at $1,080 and with the end of financial year fast approaching there isn’t a better time to make a tax deductible donation to the “Answers for Kids Cancer” cause.
Yesterday there was an impromptu Canberra get together organised by Ken and his wife Melinda. I was surprised by the amount of people from Canberra going on the ride – although being so close to the Snowy Mountains and the annual Snowy Ride I guess I shouldn’t have been. We had a good chat about where we are all up to in regards to organisation with some people like Ken well over the required $2,500 fundraising, compared to people like myself with still a ways to go. There are some of us taking the Steven Walter Foundation’s accommodation bookings all the way round, and others like Gordon who will have naught but his swag and an open patch of ground to look for.
I found it really good to meet other people who are going on the ride and it was a great opportunity to share some ideas and talk about the trip in general. Thanks to Ken and Melinda for their hospitality for the afternoon and we plan to have another meet up in the not too distant future.
To put some faces to names the attached pictured (taken by Melinda) left to right features: Bob, myself, Gordon, Donna and Rick, and finally Ken. Rick will actually be driving one of the support vehicles for the journey with Donna spending the time on her bike.
Last week I received an update about the Snowy Ride in Thredbo which is where we will end our Around Australia journey. Honda have stepped up the plate yet again and two bikes will be raffled off – a Honda VFR1200F and a HRC replica Fireblade. I know I’ll be buying a ticket (or ten) in those raffles! Honda is also providing some support for the around Australia ride as well with some support vehicles, how good is that?!
The Snowy Ride is on the 6th of November 2010 and you can find more information out about that event at the Snowy Ride website.
Just waiting to donate blood to the Red Cross so I thought I would give an update.
Firstly the Steven Walter Foundation is now asking for accommodation deposits to be paid. All stops are locked in and yesterday I sent my deposit through, seeing that money transfer across just ups the excitement level for me with four and a half months to go. I’ve chosen to go with the accommodation that the Foundation has lined up for us mainly because it is one less thing for me to worry about and they have done so much hard work organising it for us.
I’m also about to order some parts from the US as part of my bike preparation. Nothing overly exciting, just a number of gaskets, bolts, brake stuff and the parts I need to mount my cast wheels.
So that’s it for today, but as I lie here with half a litre of blood draining out of me can I encourage any readers to contact their local Red Cross and give some serious thought to donating blood. It doesn’t take long and it is something that can genuinely save a person’s life.
As you can see by the attached image my Yamaha cast wheels have arrived! As mentioned in my original post on the topic I have got these cast wheels so I can run tubeless tyres for the ride around Australia. It also knocks off another issue which is I basically get replaced bearings as part of the deal. I just need to get a couple extra parts for the wheels and will hopefully get them mounted in the next month or two.
But that’s not the intent of this post. This post is for my fellow and fellowette Australians looking to get big bulky items from the US without getting creamed by shipping charges.
The box these wheels came in was too big for USPS.com and via FedEx.com it was going to cost me in excess of $500 for shipping alone as it weighed 20kg/45lbs. That’s when by sheer coincidence I learnt about freight forwarder Shipito.com The short version is these guys will setup a virtual post box for you that you can give to people and vendors in the US. They send the box to Shipito who in turn forward it on to the customer. They don’t do it for the love, of course, but even with Shipito’s fees the cost to get the wheels from them left me with change out of $240US and I still got the wheels in five days via FedEx (the more volume you ship with FedEx the higher the price breaks).
So there you go, Australians. Before you give up your dream on that large bulky item from the US, or maybe you are dealing with a store that “doesn’t ship outside the continental US”, check out Shipito’s service. I have to say I am now a happy customer. Oh and a huge thanks to Greg F of Wyoming for the wheels and Bob S of St Charles for the cush drive. Couldn’t have done it without the generosity of these two guys, especially Greg.
I was having a ponder about the upcoming ride around Australia and I got to wondering about what sort of climates and temperatures we will likely encounter on our 14,000 kilometres. I know Canberra in October is still quite chilly as we get one last reminder of what winter was like before Spring gets fully underway. But what about the top end, is it still hot at that time of year and what is the average rainfall like? So I went along to the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) website and compiled the following information for my own interest, and of course for anyone else who might care to look at it.
The data is for every other town, based on monthly averages for October in maximum oC/oF and minimum oC/oF temperature averages and average days of rainfall in the month including a % chance of rain. In a nutshell, it will start cool, then get warm, then get bloody hot, back to warm and cool again. Across the top half we shouldn’t see too much rain, but across the bottom we need to be prepared. This means that packing clothing, quite literally for all seasons, will be a bit of a challenge:
Another update from the Steven Walter Foundation in the mail – accommodation is locked in! We previously received accommodation info from Tenterfield around to Scarborough in Perth. Now we have the second half from Margaret River across to Lakes Entrance which is the last stop before Thredbo. Only a couple of minor changes to the itinerary and it is possible the group may be split up across some of the smaller towns as finding accommodation for what will probably be in excess of 60 people was probably a challenge.
So with a shade over five months to go things are getting interesting. We now need to pay our accommodation deposits, start organising travel insurance and ambulance cover, decide where we want to service bikes and get new tyres and of course raise that minimum $2,500. I also need to stitch up my own accommodation in Tenterfield (start) and Thredbo (finish). Tenterfield should be fine but Thredbo may be problematic (for Thredbo booking agencies) as it is tough to book so far in advance for the Snowy Ride weekend as the place gets flooded with bikes. I do have a booking in at Thredbo, but they won’t confirm it for a few months yet… Hope I’m not forced to look at Jindabyne instead.
It’s been a couple of weeks since my last post so I thought I would put this up to let you know the Ride Around Australia is still progressing well.
So well in fact I have some very good news in regards to bike preparation. My ’99 Yamaha Road Star runs spoked wheels, which in turn require the use of inner tubes. This has been weighing on my mind somewhat, as a puncture with inner tubes will leave me stranded on the side of the road waiting for a support vehicle. Not too much of a drama you might think? Well across some of the more remote parts of Australia this could mean waiting for any number of hours without shade or shelter in temperatures over 40c/105f. Not my idea of fun.
So the good news? I’ve been able to source a set of Yamaha cast wheels from the US which will mean that I can run tubeless tyres. Tubeless tyres means that providing I only get a puncture – as opposed to a tear – I will be able to use a small repair kit which will allow me to plug the hole in the tyre, and then reinflate the tyre through the use of small CO2 bulbs. These kits take up very little room and will fit nicely next to the emergency cable repair kit I have previously posted about.
The wheels are probably a few weeks away yet and there will be a little bit of work swapping the wheels out, including new bearings and spacers. Thankfully the current tyres I have are a straight transfer so all I have to do there is get the wheels down to a local bike shop to change the tyres over. More updates once the wheels are in my grubby little hands.
Two fantastic things happened overnight in regards to fundraising for the Steven Walter Foundation.
The first is thanks to Renny and Karyn of Canberra – and all others who have donated – I have cracked the $1,000 mark on Everyday Hero. This means I’m over a third of the way to the minimum goal of $2,500 with six months still to go.
And the second is that the same donation – plus all the other wonderful people who have donated – has taken the Ride Around Australia Everyday Hero “Team“ over the $10,000 mark to a total of $10,230!
There’s no doubt more has been raised externally to Everyday Hero, but it is wonderful to see that number up there for the world to see.