|Normally recognised for its community involvement on the sporting field, Bartercard moved its focus underwater recently to help raise awareness of issues affecting the Great Barrier Reef.
Reef Rode RAGE (Ride Against Greenhouse Emissions), a 4,000km road trip from Ballarat to Port Douglas raising awareness of present threats to the World Heritage Site, made a pit stop at Bartercard, its major sponsor on the Gold Coast.
The initiative is run by a group of students and volunteers who spread the word about issues affecting the iconic reef and global warming by racing carbon neutral, human powered vehicles around Australia.
24 year old Geoff Wood from Mt Gambier designed and built the 43kg ‘trike’, resembling a giant Nemo, which was more than two years in the making.
“It took two years to design and two months to build the vehicle from materials sourced around Australia and overseas ,” he said. “The fairing is made out carbon fiber and Kevlar, the same materials used to make aeroplanes and tanks - it’s really cutting edge stuff. It has foam reinforcing and a small electric motor to get it up hills. The chassis is made out of chromoly steel, the same material used to build race cars.”
He said the team of eight drivers spent 6 months training for the 4,000km journey, consisting of cycling and spin classes, with conditioning inside the trike closer to the event. They spend up to 2 hours in the vehicle at a time traveling between 50-65 kilometers per hour.
“The journey from Ballarat to Port Douglas is tough, especially in these kinds of temperatures and terrains,” Geoff said. “We’re climbing mountains to get here, but we realise there’s a dire issue facing our planet. Our mission is to raise awareness and we do this by stopping in towns, handing out wrist bands, competing in races and talking about the issues with as many people as we can.”
Organiser Tony Davidson said that Rode RAGE advocates for people to do their best in making changes to the way that they live to combat global warming, which includes swapping to energy efficient light bulbs, turning off lights and electricity at power points, switching to an energy provider that doesn’t source power from fossil fuels, and composting organic waste.
“There are also actions we can take to make changes on a larger scale including installing solar panels,” he said.
Reef Rode RAGE started their carbon neutral ride last month and stopped at Maryborough along the way to compete in the RACQ Technology Challenge, where they managed to set a new lap record for the event. They are prominently active on a world scale, attracting more than 2 million website hits across 68 countries for their awareness-raising road trips through Australia, Thailand and Cambodia.
Bartercard layed out a ‘green station’ with rest and revival facilities for the driver of the Caloundra to Byron Bay leg of the trip and his entourage.
For more information on Rode RAGE visit www.roderage.com.au.