Cabramatta Bowls members' ride to support mental health

Cabra Bowls members Ray Pearse and Ben McCall will ride from Sydney to Tweed Heads in support of mental health. Picture: Supplied
Cabra Bowls members Ray Pearse and Ben McCall will ride from Sydney to Tweed Heads in support of mental health. Picture: Supplied

Heading up the coast during the summer holidays is a pretty typical plan for many Aussies.

But for Cabra Bowls members Ray Pearse and Ben McCall their trip up the coast will involve a lot of hard work.

The avid bowls players have teamed up with Gotcha4Life to complete an 800 kilometre bike ride from Sydney to Tweed Heads.

Mr Pearse said the bike ride came about over a couple of beers.

"Through Covid we had taken part in the push up challenge for mental health and we talked about possibly doing something bigger," he said.

"We met up and discussed the idea of doing a long bike ride to raise funds for mental health.

"Then we got involved with Gotcha4Life."

Gotcha4Life was established due to the alarming statistics surrounding suicide in Australia, with eight people taking their life every day.

The organisation is a mental health and suicide prevention service offering support through workshops and training.

Mr Pearse said he and his best mate, Mr McCall, had no prior cycling experience.

"We had occasionally ridden mountain bikes every once in a while," he said.

"But we purchased $5000 bikes and we have been training really consistently for the past 8 months or so.

"And we really enjoy cycling now.

"All the old injuries I had before Covid have cleared up since I started riding."

Mr Pearse said his own personal experience had pushed him to support Gotcha4Life.

"Without going into too much detail, it all stemmed back to when my best mate lost his brother five or six years ago, he went into a pretty dark place after that.

"And when I was a teenager I found myself in a pretty black hole.

"I think the issue is that some people just don't know how to pull themselves out of that hole.

"They don't know where to turn, or where to take that first step to take that weight off of their shoulders."

Mr Pearse and Mr McCall hope to raise $20,000 for the charity.

"We have about $9000 so far with a few sponsorships still to come," he said.

"I am confident that we can get to the $20,000 mark - we have been doing TikTok challenges as well."

Mr Pearse and Mr McCall set off on Friday, January 15 and are expected to complete the trip on January 22.

If you or someone you know is in need of immediate support, call Lifeline on 13 11 14.