Couple’s Canteen crusade

Couple’s Canteen crusade

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A Brookdale couple’s aversion to cycling didn’t get in the way of them helping out in a charity bike ride event last weekend, which saw 131 cyclists nearly double their fundraising goal of $100,000.
Kelmscott early risers may have seen a sea of cyclists streaming through their streets last Saturday, in the first leg of the annual, three-day, 250km Life Cycle OnRoad 2022.
The riders were in it for a good cause, raising funds for children with cancer through the Australian not-for-profit, Canteen.
And while they weren’t on bicycles, Brookdale couple Chris Salkeld and Ria Dennis were certainly along for the ride, volunteering as support crew in their fourth year involved in the event.
“I’m an occasional cyclist, but if I was in this event I would definitely be in the beginner’s group,” Chris said.
“We drive one of the support vehicles, we follow the riders from end-to-end to make sure they get there as safely as possible.
“We were up at 4am making sure everything was ready. It’s been 12 months of work, plotting out the route and doing test runs to make changes, if necessary,” he said.
The pair have been working together at the event ever since a call for volunteers went out at the car club they were members of.
“The support vehicle we drove was provided by the Toyota Landcruiser Club, they provided 15 vehicles for the event, and we were the lead for the Orange Team,” Chris said.
Ria said the couple, who are on the organising committee for Life Cycle’s OffRoad fundraiser, love getting involved with the event.
“We’ve since left the club but because we love it so much, we’ve kept doing it,” Ria said.
“The cause is what got me in the first place, but it’s the people who have kept me there, every event we meet such wonderful people.
“This year I drove the majority of the way while Chris navigated. We don’t have a ton of money to donate, so we give our time,” she said.
And their time proved precious this year – this week, Life Cycle WA’s Jenny Aramini told Examiner Newspapers that the event’s fundraising goal had been smashed.
“Everyone was thrilled with the success of our 23rd OnRoad event,” Jenny said.
“The most exciting part was the amazing fundraising by everyone, resulting in a record-breaking $200,000 for Canteen, with more still coming,” she said.
While there was cause for celebration, it was a humble wrap-up that closed the event in Busselton.
“As we arrived in Busselton we headed to the showgrounds, where all the teams lined up and gave a guard of honour for all the riders,” Chris said.
“They went through hell to get there but there was also a huge sense of pride and joy.
“One rider raised $37,000 all by herself and Canteen said they expected a lot of records to be broken this year.
“And that means lot of children’s lives will be made better.”

Brookdale couple Ria Dennis and Chris Salkeld have been supporting Life Cycle for four years. Photograph – Richard Polden.