Our annual event calendar includes the Ipswich 100 Charity bike Ride. Here's why
Cycling events offer great incentives to stay fit and train. There are plenty of organised rides to choose. Combine the Chainsmith Team efforts and we count dozens of sportives collectively ridden. But with an attraction for the underdog, there's one we return to every year. It’s so low key you’ve likely never heard of it. While the 23rd Ipswich 100 Charity Bike Ride remains under the radar, there's plenty of reasons why it should peak your interest.
Lets face it, as cyclists we’re happy to spend the money on new kit or upgrades. But when a ride starts to cost in excess of 500$ (some requiring you to raise thousands to participate in the first place), we start to wonder what’s the challenge, raising funds or the riding itself? This is especially true if we don’t even know where our dollars are spent. The cost for a rider to participate in the 169km Imperial Challenge hasn’t changed since we first entered in 2015. This year it remains a meager 80$.
Participants at the Ipswich start line will ride with a smile knowing their entry fee goes straight to charity
What’s more, the ride is run by a team of volunteers. As a project of the Moggill Mt Crosby Lions Club and in association with the Ipswich Hospital Foundation ALL proceeds from the ride are donated to charity. (To be specific, Ipswich Hospital Foundation, Moggill Mt Crosby Lions, McIntyre Centre, Epilepsy Queensland, Hear and Say, and SES Queensland). To date, the funds raised from entry alone have reached above $1.6 million.
"ALL proceeds from the ride are donated to charity"
Volunteers provide all the services, and that means 90% of funds raised go directly to worthy causes. If you haven’t the ability to join, but want to put some money into a worthy charity, this is it.
Providing the fund transparency is one reason we’re drawn to this event. But the biggest attraction is how smooth the event is for riders. Be prepared to be woken with music and smiles at registration, and a basic “On your way!” to set the riders off at the start line. A car paces the starters through the course. Meanwhile, volunteers chaperone you by pointing at every well marked corner. You’ll see supportive faces on the generous members of the town community offering watermelon, easter buns, power drinks and suncream at the 5 stops.
Rider Nadine Reynolds enjoys banter with an Ipswich 100 volunteer
If you feel you've bitten off more than you can chew, there’s a supportive pick-up wagon and roaming mechanic. A faulty pump had me on the sideline watching the bunches pass by one year. But soon after came a mechanic with a trusted pump to see me back on the road again.
Likely the best consistent spread we've provided by a charity ride
The incredible work contributing to the success of this event by a team of over 100 is fantastic. After the volunteers cheer at the finish and help you with cold drinks and coffee, you can visit the Physioactive tent and ease the muscles with a well deserved massage ... all for the cost of a gold coin donation. We always bring a note, because their hands are well worth it. Meanwhile others spend the night packing. Honestly, the maintenance of the 80$ entry fee seems more incredible.
Riders enjoy a deserved professional massage by the likes of Heidi Jen at Physioactive
The Terrain and Roads
Lets not forget the magnificent views of what is predominantly small sprawling towns surrounded by rolling eucalyptus hills. The ride begins on the flats and passes cattle fields for a good 40km, then the first hill separates the bunch. Beyond that is a mix of varying terrain and, if you choose the 100mile, the infamous dirty dozen will eventually sort those who have the legs from those who don’t.
A view from the middle of the bunch during the Ipswich 100
The ride is engaging and if you’re happy to let the bunch roll on you’ll enjoy some solitude in the vast landscape. These stretches of quiet, with no traffic, is where I find the magic of being on the bike. However, the Chainsmith boys Ben and Dave have other ideas. They love the hustle of the bunch and the thrill of the chase. While its not a race, it is. As the years go by there are more riders joining forces to challenge their competitive impulse and the Strava KOM.
The roads throughout the Ipswich 100 are quiet. Importantly, if you want to stick in a bunch you’ll have company. If you prefer to stay within your team or to ride solo you can. The numbers are so limited you’ve the freedom to choose. Its likely you’ll meet a few riders on the way and share some words. The positive and supportive atmosphere is contagious.
Saying that, there are also other shorter rides available. The Classic 100km is a punchy ride and I’ve a personal preference for this one - I've done my years of suffering and am happy to push through the 100 then sit on a grassy hill beneath the trees with a cold drink and watch other riders roll in.
We characteristically go to the Pumpyard Bar and Brewery afterward and enjoy some local brew and good food. You can read about the goings on of this brewery here. I’ve been surprised more riders don't attend the courtyard. Ipswich has some fantastic cafe’s and restaurants, but I’d rate this easy going modern pub as the gem to roll into. It roundly completes what has always been a perfect day of riding.
Even as we each come to the start line with different agendas, there's a shared satisfaction post ride. Thats why, at the start of the year, we always add this to our events calendar. Following the TDU (which was sadly postponed 2022), this is our regular. Its a ride we’ve invited dozens of friends to attend and to date hasn’t failed to impress. For a way to get out of the rat race, enjoy company of good friends and appreciate the outdoors the Ipswich100 is simply a perfect excuse to escape. March 27, 2022 is in our sights.