A crisp early morning in August saw an unlikely group of motorcyclists gearing up for a long cold ride through mountain trails, flooded creeks, scenic lookouts, and walk beautiful waterfalls on the way to Hill End for this year’s Adventure component of the Frozen Butt Ride.
Later that morning another group of riders willing to brave the cold would gather and leave on a road trip to Hill End to meet up with the adventure riders and together the two groups would be raising funds for Cystic Fibrosis NSW.
At the riders briefing, before each group left we were addressed by Simon who had lost his son to cystic fibrosis 18 months earlier. He told us of his sons journey with this affliction and just how it affects the families. Simon put a really positive spin on what we were trying to achieve by raising funds for CFNSW.
The road riders enjoyed a full day of blue skies and to terrific country roads on our journey to Hill End but not so for the adventure riders theirs was a wet rainy day with muddy trials and deep water crossings. On one such crossing a rider slipped and his bike was swallowed up by the raging waters but the other riders, not wanting to see his bike drowned, raced in and physically dragged that bike out of the water then proceeded to dry it out in an unconventional manner. They picked the motorbike up, upended it and shook it to get the water out. They disassembled the carburettor, reassembled it right there in the bush and got that bike going again.
It was late that evening when they got into Hill End, cold, wet and over the moon from such an adventurous day. A warm shower and a Hot meal soon had them planning tomorrow’s adventure.
Saturday and it’s on again, two groups riding through central NSW to meet at Orange for lunch in an accommodating families backyard, 40 odd motorcycles and hungry riders crashing in for a hot lunch! I suggested that as lunch was free we should all donate our lunch money to the course, I think most of those riders must’ve been planning a big lunch because they gave $20 or $30 each for their ‘free’ lunch. I had arranged to pay for the lunch ingredients but when I asked the cost I was met with more generosity when the family insisted there was no bill to pay, they wanted to contribute toward the fund raising.
Over the weekend we ran raffles and competitions with some great prizes, one of which was a case of Organic wine valued around $300. The raffle was drawn and surprisingly the same lady that won it last year had won it again and just like last year she donated it straight back to be auctioned. We were able to raise a further $320 for that case of wine.
Our last day’s ride took us from Hillend back to Newcastle, along the way we were privileged to meet up with a young family in Bylong who have a beautiful little boy named Charlie. He was diagnosed with CF when he was first born and have had tremendous support from CFNSW. They wanted to meet the types people who would support such a charity, yet the privilege was all ours. There was tears in those burly bikers eyes as they met the type of family that will benefit from our weekend of Frozen Butt Riding and know that our fundraising efforts have not been in vain.
I had set my fund raising goal at a level I thought an ordinary broke with no skills and out of my depth would never achieve yet through the unbelievable generosity of strangers we raised more than triple my wildest expectations!
I learned two important lessons that weekend, one is that it takes lots of small contributions to make a big effect and another is that the media would have us believe that the world is a sad and horrible place with nasty people all around but my weekend proved that the average Aussie is a kind hearted and generous person.
The Frozen Butt Ride will roll again and CFNSW will be on our hearts next year!