Saturday marked the beginning of a gruelling 40 hour bike ride for three young cyclists, all in a bid to help the hungry.
Macleans College students Wilhelm Muller, Matthew Wilson and Waldo Singleton have put a unique spin on World Vision: 40 Hour Famine by cycling from Auckland to Rotorua, covering a distance of 400km in 40 hours.
“Staying on the bike will be the hardest part,” Singleton said in preparation for the big ride.
“Crossing the Coromandel through the mountains and over hills will be tough. We think the third day is going to be our hardest because we will have two days behind us but still one more day to go. So we are so close yet so far away.”
This is the longest bike ride the 15-year-old cyclists have ever completed and has been spread out over four days with a support car following to ensure their safety and to carry supplies.
The idea came about when the three decided to take part in the 40 Hour Famine, which they say is something they had always talked about doing but never got around to.
“Everyone says they’re going to do something and they never end up doing it, us included. This time we decided not to find excuses and just get up and start doing what we said we were going to do,” says Muller.
The team have focussed on visiting bike shops in towns they come across to share their mission and encourage those they meet to contribute to the plight of hungry children around the world.
Updates such as photos and GoPro footage are being posted on the teams’ fundraiser Facebook page, We Ride For Them. The group say their most important goal is to raise awareness about the devastating impact of food inequality.
“More so than raising money, raising awareness is definitely our priority,” Singleton says.
“We live in a day and age where we go through life with struggle. If we don’t help each other we won’t get anywhere. It’s all about helping, putting our hand up, and doing something for each other and for those who need our help.”
Wilson says they want to show their peers that anybody can help. “If a group of 15-year-old school kids can pull this together to help others, then everybody can do something to help those in need, no matter how small. You always have the power to make a difference.”
Since starting their campaign the boys have raised $900, most of which was donated during their ride to Rotorua.
They received sponsorship from Avanti Plus Botany who supplied them with a full cycling kit and serviced their bikes in preparation for the big ride. Also on board is Pure Nutrition which has supplied the team with water bottles and electrolyte drinks to keep them hydrated.
The three are planning to continue their campaign when they return from Rotorua.
“We are going to speak in an assembly after the ride, and ensure that our school is aware of the issue of world hunger. Our World Vision page will still be open for donations so hopefully we can encourage some more students to donate,” says Singleton.
To donate visit mycause.worldvision.org.