SYDNEY cyclist Izaak Raaijimakers has whistled through Geelong and arrived in Torquay as part of his solo charity bike ride around Australia.
Izaak completed Year 12 in 2020 and is undertaking this epic journey with no support vehicle to raise funds for Type 1 diabetes research, an autoimmune disorder which his young sister Adela suffers from.
Izaak started on March 19 in Redfern and has so far raised over $13,000 and hopes to raise $15,000 dollars for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
“I wanted to raise money for Type 1 diabetes and I also love cycling and wanted to get out of my comfort zone and see all of Australia,” he said.
“I haven’t seen all of Australia – I’ve barely seen any of it.”
Previously the longest bike ride Izaak had done was 110 kilometres.
“Today I’ve already done 100 kilometres and I’m going to do another 100 this afternoon,” he said.
The daily goal is around 130km.
So far, the biggest challenge has been scheduling catchups with friends along the way but that will all change after Torquay where his contacts dry up.
“I don’t know anyone after Torquay so there will be a lot more sleeping outside after that,” he said.
However, it won’t be all lonely roads, as Izaak has met many people along the way and come to appreciate the kindness of strangers.
“Meeting people has been one of the best things, people are giving me food and coffee,” he said.
“I think when they see a cyclist who is doing the same journey but on a bike, they feel a bit of sympathy.”
For a trip like this Izaak recommends a touring bike or a gravel bike which is in-between a mountain bike and a road bike.
“I went for a gravel bike which is faster but can’t carry as much, so I have got about 35-40 litres of space and that’s without water bottles,” he explained.
“It’s important to buy the right gear, talk to a lot of people.
“So far there haven’t been any, ‘wow, I didn’t think of that moments’.”
Despite easing into the journey on the relatively soft east coast of Australia, Izaak says he is prepared for the many challenges of the wild west and the Northern Territory.
“That’s where it’s going to get interesting. I’ve got a Bivy tent which is the size of a really big sleeping bag, although not as comfortable as a swag.”
Izaak said he’s not overly worried about snakes, crocodiles or Territorians but is taking some precautions when it comes to road trains.
“I am going to invest in a good mirror in Melbourne so I can pull off the road when I see them approaching,” he said.
It’s an epic journey, and while Izaak is enjoying it all, it is the parts of Australia he knows nothing about that he is looking forward to the most.
“The unknown bits have been the best part,” he said.
“I am really looking forward to riding down The Great Ocean Road.”
Support Izaak’s charity ride at bluearmy.jdrf.org.au