Birdies swap wings for wheels in the name of charity

Published on Ms Dallas McMaugh (author)

Topic(s): HMAS Albatross, Charities, Fundraising & Community, Cycling

Albatross Mountain Bike Club riders on the journey from Sydney to Wollongong. From left to right: Petty Officer Lewis, Mr Button, Chief Petty Officer (CPO) Noble, Lieutenant Miles, CPO Whitehead and CPO Wratten. (photo: Unknown)
Albatross Mountain Bike Club riders on the journey from Sydney to Wollongong. From left to right: Petty Officer Lewis, Mr Button, Chief Petty Officer (CPO) Noble, Lieutenant Miles, CPO Whitehead and CPO Wratten.

Six riders from the Albatross Mountain Bike Club recently took part in one of the most respected and spectacular one day community cycling events in Australia – the annual Multiple Sclerosis Sydney to Gong.

Petty Officer Greg Lewis, Peter Button, Chief Petty Officer Tim Noble, Lieutenant Bill Miles, Chief Petty Officer Adrian Whitehead and Chief Petty Officer Michael Wratten joined thousands of cyclists on the scenic Sydney to Wollongong route. The event raised $4.5 million for people living with multiple sclerosis, a devastating neurological condition which affects more than 23,000 Australians.

CPO Whitehead said the Albatross Mountain Bike Club had been long term supporters of the ride.

“Various members have been involved throughout the race’s 32 year history. It’s a big commitment and requires a lot of endurance training which we do mostly on weekends.”

“We also try to get some training in during our lunch breaks and by commuting to work by bike during the week”.

“It’s a great opportunity to combine our passion for the sport with a chance to support a worthy cause. Each year, we all look forward to getting out there as a team, facing the challenges and doing something we enjoy, knowing our efforts will help provide essential support to people living with MS.”

There was no stopping the Albatross team who not only completed the 90km ride to Wollongong, but continued through to Kiama, travelling 135km each.

“Not a lot of personnel have attempted the last 30 odd kilometres to Kiama,” CPO Whitehead said.

“The ride to Wollongong is difficult enough - you’re riding with a large number of cyclists on undulating terrain and by the time you get to Wollongong there’s a big temptation to finish up - especially when the weather is good. The extra stretch to Kiama is a lot more open and exposed to the elements, but we saw it as one extra challenge for the day.”

The Albatross MTB team raised more than $500, which will assist MS Australia in providing a range of services to people living with multiple sclerosis.