2015 marked the fourth year that Carers Australia was named the chief beneficiary of Pollie Pedal, the first year it was held in Tasmania and what an event it was! Politicians from all around Australia convened on Tasmania to ride the 4 day course to raise funds.
Carers Australia management selected the Rapid Relief Team (RRT) to assist with their Tasmanian 2015 Pollie Pedal timetable. This required a highly mobile support group that could assist at each refreshment stop.
With a 475km track, 50 riders (consisting of state and federal politicians, community leaders and sporting identities), a 25-strong support crew, 4 days and 12 scheduled refreshment stops, this event was logistically challenging. Stations needed to be set up at least 45 mins before the riders arrived. Each stop would need to be swiftly packed up, and then the RRT had to overtake riders on the way to next location and be ready to go when they got there.
The event commenced on 27 March in Burnie with a stirring speech from PM Tony Abbott. Leg 1 of Day 1 followed the Bass Straight coastline through to the first stop at Spreyton where RRT were ready with espresso coffee, hot chocolate and tea.
Leg 2 saw a altitude climb of 280 metres into the country town of Sheffield where Carers Australia put on lunch as local MP Eric Hutchinson gave the group an insight into the history of the area, supported by a speech from a local resident on her life as one of the 2.7 million Australian carers the funds were being raised for. Riders and support crews enjoyed refreshments from RRT as they all regrouped, ready for the 48km trek over to Deloraine.
Leg 3 covered some 48km of ups and downs as the Pollie Pedal group powered into Deloraine to be met again by RRT, ready to wind up Day 1’s efforts with a well-earned coffee.
Day 2 started at 8:00am at Deloraine with Carers Australia providing breakfast and RRT providing some essentials for the group to get them on their way. The first stop was Exeter/Gravelly Beach, approx. 20mins north of Launceston, with RRT in full swing, offering snacks of water, coffee, muffins, chips and fruit to 70-80 personnel. Re-energised, the group, which now included PM Abbott, then rode 38km to George Town. PM Abbott was greeted by locals upon arrival into George Town and then treated to a to a café mocha from the RRT. The RRT team was encouraged by comments like “‘RRT is like the giver who keeps on giving” and “the event is going very well, but having RRT here has lifted it to the next level”.
Day 3 started at Low Head, just north of George Town and then moved north east to the coastal township of Bridport.
RRT’s involvement in Day 3 was focused on the final venue of the day – Launceston’s City Park. A team of RRT members delivered bottled water to the Pollie Pedal group early, hydrating them for the trek from Bridport through Lilydale into Launceston, approx. 75km of punishing climbs and downhills.
The weary cyclists arrived into City Park around 3:30pm to find the RRT once again. Such was the level of RRT attention to service that the Day 1 requests of “Latte please” and “Two flat whites” was now “Just the usual again would be great, thanks”!
Once again, RRT served water, coffee, and light snacks to approx. 70 personnel plus some locals.
Day 4 of the event was the most intense. The riders started the day at Launceston’s City Park at 7:00am, rode through to the Northern Midland town of Cressy, back across to Evandale and then returned to City Park.
RRT was present from the start, offering water and light snacks to start the day’s program. The cyclists, now with light at the end of the tunnel, pedalled out of Launceston for Cressy. At Cressy, they were met by an enthusiastic group of school kids at the district high school and once again, the familiar faces of the RRT. PM Abbott and the team again enjoyed their coffee stimulus.
RRT then packed up and made the trek to Evandale, a 25 minute drive, and then set up, ready for the cyclists….all in 60mins! A short stop in Evandale and the riders were back on track, headed for City Park for the finale – and the final coffee!
All-in-all, it was a fantastic 4 days. An overall rewarding experience and privilege for RRT to be involved in the 2015 Pollie Pedal. Congratulations to Carers Australia and the support crews and volunteers for an outstanding event…and last but not least, the riders, who soldiered on stage after stage and made the event complete.
RRT looks forward to working with the Pollie Pedal Charity Ride again next time!