June 16, 2020
A cool and damp morning wasn’t enough to stop a brave bunch of cyclists from completing the Brissie To The Bay ride on Sunday … only they weren’t in Brisbane!
Like so many things, the major annual fundraiser for MS Queensland was cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions.
The charity launched a “virtual” ride instead, challenging cyclists to nominate a total distance to ride over 30 days to mark the 30th anniversary of the event.
But a bunch of South Burnett riders decided they’d go one step further … they’d ride the distance they had nominated originally for the Brissie To The Bay event, but do it instead on the South Burnett Rail Trail.
Kingaroy’s Josie Potter – who lives with MS – has been taking part in Brissie To The Bay for the past 10 years.
She was diagnosed with the disease 20 years ago.
She’s surrounded by a team of supporters, known as the Kingaroy Cruisers, which also ride every year and help Josie with the fundraising.
Over the years, the group has raised an amazing amount of money for MS Queensland – almost $80,000!
“It’s not bad as when we started out I was just going to ride one year on my own!” Josie joked.
She had planned for this year’s ride to be her last, but the COVID cancellation messed up her plans.
Determined to not let Josie miss out on her 10th ride, the Kingaroy Cruisers decided to take their challenge to the rail trail instead.
Two of the riders – Claire and Craig Kapernick – nominated 100km, while Shirley Kerkow and Helen Kratzmann chose 130km.
Kerry Stumm, Sheree Langan and Annette Kruger joined Josie with a 50km target, while Margie Williams joined the riders at Wooroolin for a 35km sprint.
Riders started at 6:00am in Murgon, while others started in Wondai and Tingoora.
They all met up in Kingaroy about 9:00am to take a break and enjoy a hot breakfast at The Busy Bee.
The Kingaroy Cruisers set their fundraising sights low this year – just $1000 – because of the pressures COVID-19 shutdowns have put on the economy.
But by Saturday they had raised $1100, with donations still coming in to the Kingaroy Cruisers’ online supporters page
Will 2020 really be Josie’s last Brissie To The Bay?
“I’m still sitting on the fence because of this year’s situation using the rail trail,” she said.
“I feel like this is not quite how I wanted it to end.
“I’m not reducing my involvement with MS Queensland and I will still be performing my MS Ambassador duties, but my riding has been a bit harder in the last two years and I’ve now changed over to riding a pedal-assist E-bike with stabiliser wheel whom I’ve affectionately named ‘Ernie E-bike’.
“This has given me back a lot of my confidence and enjoyment of riding once again.”
Josie was keen on the fact that this year the riders could stop half-way at Kingaroy and enjoy bacon and eggs …
“Maybe we will start our own virtual ride here!”
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