I have committed to a charity bike ride for Hands Across The Water where in March/April 2020 I will be riding 500kms over 5 days in soaring temperatures and even worse humidity in Thailand. I am not a cyclist by any stretch of the imagination, in fact, even though I have done this ride for the last two years running, I still struggle to take one hand off the handlebars just to grab my water bottle!

During "training" for my last ride in April 2019 (I use the term "training" lightly) I was bitten on the head by a wasp and looked like I started growing a twin sister on my forehead for a few days, was narrowly missed by turning cars twice and fell off the bike (I blame the cars for this one), fell off the bike at traffic lights because I was too uncoordinated to pull my foot out of the pedal straps, crashed into my front gate, been chased by cows and so many more idiotic things. My list of incidents and injuries go on and on and I have some great bruises to show for it...and plenty of laughs in hindsight!

I am getting a little better with bearing the Thailand heat and humidity. The first year I rode I was up vomiting all night after the first day, but the human body is amazing and I bounced back and successfully completed the ride. I prepared a bit better for my second ride by "training" more and knew I was physically capable as I'd already done it the year before, but what I wasn't ready for was the hotter temperatures and gravel/rocky roads. Temperatures soured over 45 degrees, humidity reached 90% and there were long stretches akin to mountain bike trails. I am petrified of riding on uneven and rocky surfaces and my body and bike were being thrown around like a rag doll. How I came away unscathed without falling off is still a mystery. Despite all the hurdles and me telling myself I wouldn't put myself through it again, I knew from the moment I rode into that orphanage that I was definitely signing up to do it all again in 2020. And how could I not! Seeing how happy those kids were to see us was something I will never forget for the rest of my life. Even writing this gives me goose bumps and a lump in my throat.

As part of committing to the ride, all riders must raise a minimum of $5000 and this is where I am seeking your help for a small donation. Unlike a lot of charities where a significant proportion of donations are absorbed by "admin" fees, 100% of the funds donated are spent on housing and educating the kids. Hands Across The Water is a registered charity in Australia so any amount you choose to donate is 100% tax deductible. The kids I am riding for have been rescued from drugs, sex slavery, abandonment, trafficking and other atrocities I don't want to think about. If you would like to help, it would be greatly appreciated. Rhiannon Peterson