Ride goes in new direction

The Yarrabah community is joining forces with the Far North’s premier charity to raise funds for neonatal babies at Cairns Hospital.
The Ride for Isabel fundraising bike ride will come under the umbrella of the Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation at the instigation of Speaker of the Queensland Parliament and Mulgrave MP Curtis Pitt.  The ride will now become a Gran Fondo format which will attract riders from far and wide.
Mr Pitt and his wife Kerry organised the inaugural ride in 2010 after their daughter Isabel was stillborn at 41 weeks in 2008.
Yarrabah Shire Council mayor Cr Ross Andrews was pleased to work with all stakeholders, with the ride to start in Yarrabah.
“We do have a fabulous hill here that we know the cyclists will really enjoy and we’re pleased that the funds raised will support neonatal babies. This is a topic very important to our community so we’re glad to be supportive of the event,” Mr Andrews said.
Mr Pitt said he was pleased to have raised funds and increased awareness of stillbirth and pregnancy loss to the extent they had over the Ride For Isabel’s first 10 years, but the time was right to take it to the next level.
“When my wife and I started this ride more than a decade ago it was a way of healing our family and keeping the memory of Isabel alive,” Mr Pitt said.
“I’ve worked with the Foundation for many years and I’m really pleased to know that funds raised will support local families, at the same time emphasising cycling safety in the Far North.
“The Foundation does a fantastic job with the QSuper Cardiac Challenge and other events, so I know they will look after the Ride For Isabel with the same integrity and efficacy.”
The fundraising event also will form part of the Tour of the Tropics cycling festival with a Gran Fondo 120km segment planned, to start in Yarrabah and finish in Gordonvale. The race will entail four segments; 120km; 90km; 60km and 30km.  Riders can choose the distance that best suits them and avoid the hill if desired. They can race or just take on the challenge of this magnificent course.
Tour of the Tropics chairman Nick Loukas said he was excited to bring all the stakeholders together and work with the Foundation to create a stunning race in an incredible location. “Our vision, at Tour of the Tropics, is for the Gran Fondo to become an accredited event with the UCI. The Tour of the Tropics has experience with the logistics of cycling races so we think it’s a match made in heaven.”
Foundation CEO Tony Williamson said it was heart-warming to see the community coming together once again to support the Foundation.
“We love supporting all sectors of health care in FNQ and to bring cycling and neonatal babies together will be an incredible collaboration,” Mr Williamson said.
Photo: Tour of the Tropics chairman Nick Loukas, Tour of the Tropics founding director Damien Ingram, Mulgrave MP Curtis Pitt and Foundation CEO Tony Williamson.