I remember preparing for my first ride in the winter of 2013 wondering how I was going to ride 500km over 5 days in an environment totally different to what I was rugging up for. Well, the 2014 ride was followed by another one in 2015 and another in 2019 and I am now preparing for my fourth ride with my wife, Belinda, who will be on her first.

What is it that makes these rides so compelling that you would put yourself through five days of gruelling cycling, in conditions that could best be described as hot and humid? Well for one, I found a love for cycling and now do it regularly in Melbourne. Together with my wife, are planning to do a cycling holiday in Europe in the not too distant future.

Another is the great camaraderie that develops amongst riders over a week of close riding; helping each other to overcome perceived barriers and self-imposed constraints and the amazing sense of personal achievement as we end the ride, wishing for another day of riding.

But most of all is the realisation that we don’t really have to do that much to affect profound positive changes to the lives of others. That our daily whinges and life woes are nothing compared to that of the abandoned, neglected and in some instances, ostracised, children.
Imagine a life in which the better option is to take your kids out of school to beg in the street or be a prostitute, a better option! Imagine finding an abandoned baby with acquired HIV at your doorstep knowing full well that the child will be shunned by society for the rest of his/her life as the hugely misunderstood stigma of AIDs is not only a medical condition but a social disease in Thailand.

Before Hands took over the care of the kids with HIV, the sole carer of an AIDs shelter had to make a daily decision as to whether the little money left should be used to buy food to keep the weak alive or retroviral medication to prevent the stronger kids from succumbing to the virus.

The story of Hands is an amazing story on its own, founded by a forensic policeman with no prior experience in fund raising nor care of children but with a good heart and a determined drive, it is now 14 years old and has the care of 7 homes looking after 350+ children. Many of the children of the 2004 Tsunami are now gainfully employed in industry with 47 of them at University. With the possibility of new beginnings, these children will no doubt be the first of many to break their generational cycle of poverty and able to positively influence the lives of many others along the way.

These rides have given me a good sense of perspective to my life and has helped me prioritise and value that which is truly important in my life. I am also immensely proud and so should you, that through our relatively small endeavours, we have been able to affect real and in some instances, profound changes in so many lives.

100% of your donation will go straight to the kids and their communities in Thailand with not one cent spent on administration or marketing. Patrick Ng