Nullarbor ride for polio

Rotary's Phil and Joyce Ogden's Nullarbor bike ride for polio

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Rotarians Phil and Joyce Ogden are combining their determination to stamp out polio with their love of cycling

PEDALLING TO END POLIO: Phil and Joyce Ogden will cycle across the Nullarbor.

PEDALLING TO END POLIO: Phil and Joyce Ogden will cycle across the Nullarbor.

Tasmanian Rotarians Phil and Joyce Ogden are about to mount their tandem bicycle and stage an epic fundraiser to support Rotary's END POLIO NOW campaign.

With thirty years of tandem cycling behind them, the couple who are both in their 70s and have been Rotarians for over ten years, plan to leave Perth in mid May and ride the 2750km to Adelaide to support Rotary's premier world project - with the support of their South Launceston Rotary Club.

Phil and Joyce have been passionate supporters and donors to END POLIO NOW since first hearing of the world-wide campaign.

A retired anaesthetist, Phil has witnessed first hand the terrible legacy of the polio epidemic of the fifties and the ongoing threat to children of the world until the Rotary inspired campaign began working its magic over the last 30 plus years.

Delivering a message to all Rotarians, the couple said, "We feel that the enormous effort which has gone into turning the tide of the disease will be lost if pressure, and fund raising, is not maintained until the final handful of cases is consigned to history.

"If we take our collective eyes off the ball, the disease will re-establish. So, we are still committed to making our personal donations every year but felt we might harness another of our passions, cycling, to push things along - once again with the assistance of Rotary."

The couple are planning and funding the entire trip with support from their Rotary Club of South Launceston and District leaders.

Joyce and Phil have enjoyed many 'tandem adventures' together covering more than 100,000km by way of unsupported crossings of the European Alps, the Pyrenees and the Rockies - in addition to organised long distance rides with the cycling club Audax.

The window for riding the Nullarbor is relatively short as the prevailing wind and temperature have to be favourable, making autumn and spring the only realistic options.

There are no shops across the 1200km of the Nullarbor and water is only available at roadhouses along the way.

The couple will stay with Rotarians or at motels and will address Rotary groups along the route.

Dehydrated food will have to be mailed ahead and Joyce and Phil will have to carry food for a week and water for two days at a time.

A tandem cycle carries two riders but only has the luggage capacity of a single bike so the volume of extra provisions will be difficult to accommodate. However, weight is less of an issue as Google Maps describe the entire route as 'mainly flat'.

For every $1 donated, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will contribute $2.

Donate here or phone Marion Cooper 0417 371 726.