This one is slightly different, since cyclist Lorin Nicholson, who reached Tweed Heads this week on the first leg of his ‘Blind Courage’ fundraising ride from Brisbane to Melbourne, is himself blind.
The classical guitarist and motivational speaker and his support crew face a gruelling 1800km ride and hope to arrive at their destination on Christmas Eve, in time for Lorin to perform at Vision Australia’s Carols by Candlelight, held at Melbourne’s Sidney Myer Music Bowl.
Lorin, 42, aims to raise $10,000 to support Vision Australia’s services for people who are blind or have low vision and has secured the support of more than 20 clubs which will provide accommodation and meals during the ride.
And if you think that’s tough, last year Lorin completed a successful continental crossing with his brother Dean, who is also blind, making them the first legally blind cyclists to finish the 4100km journey from Perth to Sydney.
The hardest part of the journey was the mental side, Lorin said.
‘You hit the wall but have to keep on going.’
However, he said the effort was well worth it because of the great people he met on the road.
Lorin said he was pushing himself to complete the ride to inspire people that anything is possible, and to raise awareness of the large number of Australians who are vision impaired.
‘It’s about giving blind Aussies hope and the rest some inspiration,’ Lorin said.
His seventeen-year-old son Andrew will ride alongside him to complete the journey on a tandem bike, piloted by close friend Mark Berends.
Lorin has been blind since he was four and is one of six siblings, three of whom are blind. He has been an athlete, children’s author and one of Australia’s leading youth motivational speakers on anti-bullying as well as being nominated for Australian of the Year in 2009.
More than 20 clubs, including Twin Towns Services Club, are supporting Lorin, providing him with meals and accommodation.
Lorin said he is pushing himself to complete the ride to inspire people that anything is possible, and to raise awareness of the large number of Australians who are vision impaired.
‘There are 300,000 Australians who are blind or have low vision. With an ageing population this number will grow to about 600,000 by 2020. Hopefully by completing this tandem bike ride I will help change the public’s perception of what blind people can do.’
Image: (l–r) Andrew and Lorin Nicholson with Mark Berends at Jack Evans Boat Harbour this week. Photo Albert Elzinga