Cycle 4 Sam

Cycle 4 Sam 2010

“Cycle 4 Sam 2010 – Bright to Adelaide” 

“Cycle 4 Sam 2010– Bright to Adelaide” finished on Monday October 4, 2010 at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital. Once again it was a wonderful event and was supported by a wide group of schools, organizations and individuals.

Michelle and I would sincerely like to thank the cyclists and support crew involved for their dedication and support in ensuring this event was a huge success.

“Cycle 4 Sam III – Bright to Adelaide” commenced on Monday September 29 from Bright in the Australian Alps with a vertical 1000m ascent of Mt Buffalo. There was snow at the top of Mt Buffalo and we had magnificent views of the valley below.

It was from the top of Mt Buffalo that we released balloons in memory of Sam and officially started our ride. The balloon release was an emotional experience for us all as we remembered Sam and the reasons we were undertaking such a mammoth undertaking.

A more perfect start to the ride could not have been imagined, and we all sensed the next 8 days were going to be very special indeed.

Leaving Mt Buffalo we cycled through towns and regions such as Benalla, Bendigo, the Grampians, Robe and the Coorong before finishing at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital 8 days later on Monday October 4. Eight cyclists completed the entire 1200km course which included 5700m of vertical climbing. A further twenty cyclists completed various stages of the ride.

One of the most special moments of the ride was when we arrived in Benalla, Victoria and were greeted by 2 families who had children with Niemann-Pick Disease Type C. The welcome we were given by these families, and the opportunity to meet and talk with their children, will never be forgotten. Matt and Timmy Lloyd from Benalla and Kirsten and Matthew Smith from Lakes Entrance are battling the same disease that Sam had, and we made a strong connection with these inspirational young people.

The opportunity to meet these families summed up what the spirit of Cycle 4 Sam is about. It is about supporting families who are dealing with children who have life limiting illnesses. We will never forget the hospitality we were shown in Benalla and we wish Matt, Timmy, Kirsten, Matthew, and their amazing supportive families our very best wishes.

Overall, the money raised for the Sam Roberts Family Fund this year surpassed $65,000 and our goal of continuing the employment of an Art Therapist in Paediatric Palliative Care for the next two years has been achieved. We are very proud of this achievement. Our total fundraising for Paediatric Palliative Care since 2006 has now surpassed $300,000.Thank you again to the cyclists and support crew of "Cycle 4 Sam III – Bright to Adelaide”. It was a massive team effort and a wonderful experience. Together we have again achieved so much for families caring for children with life limiting illnesses in South Australia.

Sam would be very proud of you all!

Cycle4Sam III – Bright to Adelaide statistics:

• 7 days riding 

• 8 riders completing full distance 

• 26.1(km/h) Average speed 

• 47 hours and 4 minutes Total time on the bike 

• 1,209 Km Total kilometers travelled 

• 5770m Total ascent (metres) 

• $65,000 raised for the WCH Paediatric Palliative Care Service


Day 1

Today we left Bright and headed immediately to the top of Mt Buffallo. The climb (1000m) to the top was superb. We did it together, although towards the summit the race was on to get King of the Mountain line honours! There was snow at the summit and everyone, especially the kids, had great delight in throwing snowballs at each other!

The release of balloons and the silence that followed at the lookout was an emotional experience for us all. We remembered Sam and the reasons we were about to undertake this massive ride.

Day 1                        
 Ride time                        
 Average speed                        
 Bright to Benalla     
 6 hours 37 minutes     

The descent down Mt Buffalo was sweet, and at the bottom we got back on to the main highway heading towards Wangaratta. The backdrop of the Great Dividing Range and Mt Buffalo was stunning. We turned off just after Myrtelford and headed to Milewa. Several hours later we arrived at the Milewa Cheese Factory and enjoyed a long lunch of baguettes and buns, kindly donated by Baker’s Delight, and some well deserved, long overdue lattes!

From Milewa we headed to the home of Ned Kelly, the town of Glen Rowan and then onwards to Benalla. On the outskirts of Benalla we were delighted to be greeted by Matt and Timmy Lloyd, and Kirsten and Matthew Smith and their wonderful families who had gathered in a truck stop area at the side of the road.

Matt, Timmy, Matthew and Kirsten sadly have Niemann-Pick Type C (NPCD). Timmy and Matt’s mum Mandy Jacobs set up the Australian Niemann-Pick Type C Foundation in 2009 and organized this warm welcome for us.

We stayed at the Benalla Caravan Park that night, and later attended a wonderful benefit evening at the Benalla Bowling Club organized by Mandy. We were all touched by the thoughtfulness and hospitality that these families showed us.

In particular, it was lovely to talk to Matt and Tim Lloyd, and Kirsten and Matthew Smith. Whilst they were in their adult years, they talked to us openly about their disease and its progression, and asked questions about our experience with Sam.

We showed our documentary about Sam called “Shining His Star” which was well received but understandably confronting. About $800 was raised for the Australian Niemann-Pick Foundation from this evening.

Day 2

We set off the next morning from the Benalla Caravan Park the next morning and released pink balloons in memory of 18 year old Cassie Stallard from Perth, WA, who had passed away a week prior from NPCD.

Mandy’s husband Paul had organized a personal escort out of town behind his massive double B semi trailer. We felt very safe behind this massive truck and got some interesting looks as we rode through the man street of Benalla!

Day 2                       
 Ride time                        
 Average speed                        
 Benalla to Bendigo    

 7 hours 4 minutes


Paul delivered us safely to the intersection of the Hume Highway. We thanked Mandy and Paul Jacobs for all their hospitality and thoughtfulness, and then headed along the Hume Highway for a short time before taking the exit towards Murchison.

We made pretty good time this morning and made it to our lunch stop at Murchison earlier than expected. We had lunch in a beautiful park alongside the Murchison River which was adorned by mosaic cows!

From Murchison we continued east towards Bendigo. The afternoon was windy and wet, and our pace slowed considerably. We arrived in Bendigo after 180km and 7 hours of cycling later. Two Bendigo newspapers were keen on our story and photo and we happily posed for them on the steps of the Bendigo Town Hall.

Day 3

We departed the Central City Caravan Park in Bendigo and headed for what was supposed to be our longest cycling day in Cycle 4 Sam history! The ride headed along the Pyrenees Highway. Our goal was to reach Halls Gap in the Grampians, some 210km away. The pace was fast and we made Avoca, our lunch stop, earlier than expected.

Our training had paid off. The kilometers flew by and everyone felt strong. As we rode alongside the scenic Pyrenees Hills gentle rain started to fall, but it did not deter us. The terrain became hillier and there were some nice climbs and some moderate descents. Perfect cycling, or so we thought!

40km from Ararat we approached a train line as we were descending a moderate hill. The call was made to slow down, which we did. Unfortunately, because it had been raining, the train line was wet and Richard Anderson’s front wheel slipped on the train line as he rode across it. His whole bike slipped from under him and he fell heavily on the rode hitting his head. Andreas Clark was unable to avoid a collision, and ran into Richard also falling heavily hitting his head too.

There was a pile up of bodies and bikes on the road and it didn’t look pretty. It was a relief for all however when Richard and Andreas sat up and announced they could move all their fingers and toes and nothing except there pride was broken!

Day 3                     
 Ride time                        
 Average speed                        
Bendigo to Halls Gap 

 6 hours 47 minutes


Our team support vehicle driver Kristie Gallio and ride captain Jaimie Holland did a magnificent job assessing their injuries and treating them. Whilst no bones were broken,

they were clearly concussed. On questioning by Kristie, Richard Anderson responded that Colin Thiele was the author of the book “The girl with the dragon tattoo”! This response earned him a ticket to the nearest hospital.

Contact was made with other members of our support crew, and Richard and Andreas were then taken to Ararat Hospital for observation.

No less than 4km later we came across the same scenario. Downhill with trainline at the bottom, road traveling around a bend. We had decided previously that if we come across another trainline we would approach the line with great caution, and give each other plenty of space.

All of us made it safely across this trainline........except our team captain Jaimie! As he crossed the track his back wheel slid out and he fell backwards, hitting the back of his head hard. Jaimie bounced back up reasonably quickly and was assessed by Kristie. He had no signs of concussion or broken bones and was declared fit to continue riding.

Both accidents had slowed our progress to Halls Gap and we had lost close to 2 hours of cycling.

We rode through Ararat and were informed that Andreas and Richard were ok, only mild concussion, and that they could continue riding in 24 hours time.

From Ararat we rode to the Grampians. It was stunning scenery, and magnificent cycling. Unfortunately it was getting late and the sun was setting. We decided to stop at Mostyn, 30km from Halls Gap, and jump in the support vehicles. Common sense prevailed. It was dark not long after and would have been dangerous cycling conditions on this hilly, narrow road.

We stayed at the magnificent Halls Gap Caravan Park, and that night rested up after an eventful, exhausting ride.

Day 4

Fortunately today was a rest day. Andreas and Richard needed a day to recover from their fall. Jaimie also could not move his neck when he woke up and was taken to the Stawell Medical Clinic for a check up.

Meanwhile, Michelle Roberts, Heidi Turbill and Sara Flemming used the day off as an opportunity to complete yesterday’s ride. They rode to Mostyn, with support vehicle driver John Alsbury.

The kids, support crew, and cyclists relished this opportunity to have a break, especially after the drama of the previous day.

Eric Chaney, father of Sara Flemming, organized a bike ride for the kids along the picturesque tracks around Halls Gap. Joining him in support was Peter Roberts (senior), who did so on one of Eric’s “alternative” bikes as seen below. The kids had an absolute ball!

The girls completed the 60km loop to Mostyn. They were cheered back into the caravan park by our large group of kids, support crew, and cyclists.

In the afternoon the kids were taken on a walk along Stony Creek to view the ancient Venus Baths, along the way they observed mobs of kangaroos going about their daily business.

This was our first rest day in Cycle 4 Sam history and everyone appreciated it.

Later in the afternoon Paul Hine and Warren Jones who had driven up from Adelaide joined us. Paul was riding the remaining 500km to Adelaide and Warren had offered his services in the support crew.

That evening we were joined by a number of other family and friends who had come to join us, and about 60 of us shared a superb BBQ organized by our amazing catering team coordinated by Margaret and Peter Roberts.

Day 5

We departed Halls Gap excited about the beautiful cycle ahead through the Southern Grampians. We were also acutely aware three of our riders had injuries due to their falls on day 3 and the need to maintain safety on the bike.

The ride from Halls Gap to Dunkeld was sensational; the superb mountain peaks of the Grampians National Park surrounded us. The further we rode the greater the confidence we gained in each other again, and some silly banter returned to the peloton again!

Arriving in Dunkeld, some 60km later, spirits were high. We had morning tea at the Royal Mail Hotel amidst the beautiful backdrop of Mt Sturgeon and enjoyed some lattes in the warm sunshine.

Day 5                   
 Ride time                        
 Average speed                        
Halls Gap to Casterton  

 5 hours 56 minutes


The next 50km to our lunch stop in Hamilton went quickly and we posed for photos for the local paper before we pushed onto Casterton.

The ride to Casterton from Hamilton was stunning. We rode past some of the best pastureland in Australia. There were even some decent hills where the competitive nature of some of the cyclists re-emerged.

On arrival at the Albion Hotel in Casterton we posed for more photos for their local paper, and then enjoyed our routine post recovery meal and massage.

It was an amazing day of cycling. The scenery, teamwork, and banter were terrific. Special mention must go to Jaimie, Ando, and Andreas for “getting back on the bike” after their accidents on Day 3, and to Paul Hine who breezed through his first ride ever over 100km!

Day 6

The rush was on to get to Robe in record time today because the AFL Grand Final was commencing at 1.30pm.

Day 6                     
 Ride time                        
 Average speed                        
Casterton to Robe     

 5 hours 51 minutes


The peloton departed earlier than normal. We crossed the South Australian border and arrived at Penola for morning tea. It was perfect conditions for cycling this morning; blue skies, light winds and the surrounding farmland was lush and green.

We paid a quick visit to the church of Australia’s first saint, Saint Mary Mackillop, and

then pushed on to Robe.

We made it to Robe in record time at 1pm, and Michelle and a number of the kids escorted us into our accommodation at the Lakeside Manor House on their bikes. We were fortunate that we were able to have this whole house to ourselves. Built in the late 1800’s, it is now a Youth Hostel and it was superb accommodation.

The afternoon was very relaxing. We had our post ride recovery massage and meal in front of the TV watching the AFL Grand Final, then had a special dinner at the Robe Hotel.

A perfect end to a great day.

Day 7

Today’s ride commenced with a bacon and egg breakfast very kindly provided by the Guichen Bay Hotel. The breakfast was greatly appreciated.

Little did we know that today was going to be our toughest day on the road for the week!

Following breakfast, the kids joined us on their bikes for a nice ride down to the Robe Marina and then said good-bye to us as we headed on the road to


We welcomed Bob Schinkel and Sam Croft to the peloton today. Their arrival was timely considering the conditions.

As we turned onto the road into Kingston a strong north westerly head wind hit us like a brick wall!

The wind reduced our speed dramatically and it took us 90 minutes to ride the 27km to Kingston.

The Big Crayfish at Kingston was a welcome sight and we hid from the strong winds in their café as well as sampling their cappuccinos!

Eventually we braved the headwinds again and ploughed on to Meningie.

Day 7                   
 Ride time                        
 Average speed                        
Robe to Meningie    

 8 hours 3 minutes


The wind was relentless all day, and not long after our lunch stop Marty got the only flat tyre for the whole ride.

Fortunately the expertise of Steve Button made short time of the repair and we gradually made our way to Salt Creek at about 3pm, 40km from Meningie.

From Salt Creek the wind seemed to drop and the last 40km was quite enjoyable. To see the Coorong replenished after years of drought and the associated bird life, was a pleasing sight.

10 hours later, we trudged into Camp Coorong at Meningie. There was a large welcome party on arrival of family, friends, and cyclists who were joining us on our final stage tomorrow. To say we were all stuffed after today’s ride is an understatement. There was, however, great satisfaction amongst the group that together we had completed the longest and most difficult stage of the ride.

Once again the amazing support crew fed a huge number of cyclists, family members and visitors.

That evening we had the pleasure of being welcomed by the indigenous caretaker of Camp Coorong, Keith Trevorrow, who explained the history of the area and its significance to the Ngarrindjeri people.

Everyone slept well that night. We were exhausted after a huge day but excited that tomorrow we would be riding into Adelaide.

Day 8

Cycling conditions for the final day were perfect. There were clear skies and light winds. A large group of 25 cyclists departed Camp Coorong, including dual Commonwealth Games Gold cycling medallist Kerrie Meares, on our last stage into Adelaide.

Michelle Roberts (mother of Sam) had ridden 400km of the ride over 7 days, and today she was determined to complete her first ever 100km ride.

Cycling past Lake Alexandrina we couldn’t believe how full the lake was. This was in stark contrast to 12 months ago when, due to years of drought, the lake had nearly dried up. Now it was back to its former glory and resembled an inland sea again.

In no time it seemed we arrived at the ferry at Wellington. Shortly after crossing the ferry our team work horse Russell Turbill appeared to be in pain. He had hurt his shoulder in a cycling accident a month ago and after the past 8 days and 1100km of cycling it had finally succumbed. His paced slowed considerably and he was worried that he would restrict the peloton from getting to Adelaide on time.

Day 8                    
 Ride time                        
 Average speed                        
Meningie to Adelaide   

 6 hours 47 minutes


Fortunately he was talked out of pulling out, and he, Steve Button and Andreas Clark continued to Adelaide whilst the rest of the peleton had a long lunch in Strathalbyn.

In Strathalbyn, Michelle Roberts was ecstatic to have completed her first 100km ride, and a total of 500km for the trip.

The ride from Strathalbyn toEchunga was stunning, some of the best cyclingof the trip. Lots of nice hills, stunning pastureland, the peloton could smell home and the momentum picked up!

We cycled along the majestic Aldgate Valley Drive and eventually got to the top of the Crafers bike way which leads into Adelaide.

The descent into Adelaide was sublime, and at the Toll Gate a police car was waiting to escort us to the Women’s and Children’s Hospital. There were also another 30 or so cyclists who joined us here, and we traveled as a large group into the city.

The police had set all the traffic lights to green for us, and it was a special moment for all of us to be riding back in the familiar streets of Adelaide. At the Adelaide Zoo Michelle, Lucy, and Charlie Roberts joined Marty at the front of the peloton and led the group to the Women’s and Children’s Hospital.

On arrival at the finish line a large group of supporters were waiting for us and it was an emotional experience for everyone.

Lucy and Charlie Roberts then crossed the finish line first, followed by Michelle and Marty, and then the rest of the riders.

Cycle4Sam – Bright to Adelaide was finally completed.

  • 1209km were cycled, 5770m were climbed and $83,000 was raised.

Most importantly we all remembered Sam during this ride. We cycled for Sam and for all families in South Australia experiencing the hardships of having a child with a rare, terminal illness.

Thank you so much to all the cyclists and support crew.

Together we have achieved so much in memory of Sam and it is greatly appreciated.