Interview: Fitzroy Four charity cycle

This is something a little bit different for Tin Man Heart, but bear with us.

Friend of TMH, Ed Watson, is in Australia right now preparing for a mammoth cycling challenge. He and three friends will ride 2000km from Brisbane to Melbourne raising money for charity.

 

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Ed has decided to make a podcast during which he’ll speak about the challenge, the progress of the group and probably quite a bit about Wolves’ return to the Premier League,

In return for us coming up with the name of the podcast, “WatsonTheHorizon”, Ed offered to feature some music from TMH artists Sonja Sleator and Ethan Hanna with his stories from the road. So, we’ve equipped him with all the music we could get our hands on, and we’ll do everything we can to promote the challenge to Sonja and Ethan’s followers.

We grabbed a quick chat with Ed about what’s going on, which you can read below, along with a link to the podcasts.

If you can support the Fitzroy Four, please do – if not financially, by sharing, commenting and spreading the word on what they’re doing.

 

How can you say no to a face like this…

Where did the idea for the Fitzroy Four cycle ride come from?

The cycle idea was something Nick suggested back when we lived together in Leeds around 2016. His parents had done a similar sort of trip in Vietnam, I believe. As soon as I heard it I loved the idea, and it’s something we’ve been talking about for around a year now. We moved to Australia in February so it’s been a long time in the making – it’s great that it’s finally happening!

The three charities we are raising money for are: The Children’s Cancer Foundation, Muscular Dystrophy UK and Andy’s Man Club.

Who are the Fitzroy Four?

The Fitzroy Four is me, Ed Watson, my good friend and former flatmate Nick Devine – I have known him for nine years now – his brother Jimmy and our friend Miles Neilson. We met Miles when we were staying in the suburb of Melbourne called Fitzroy, and after a ten minute period of him texting us all about 20 name suggestions we decided we liked the “Fitzroy Four” the most. We kind of sound like a criminal gang but sadly we’re not that cool.

How long have you been preparing for it? 

That’s a good question – Miles and Jimmy only decided around the end of June that they were going to join us, so they’ve had less time on the saddle. But saying that none of us are keen cyclists.

I did ride my bike to work and back when I lived in the UK, so would say I’ve been training since January. I attended a few spin classes over Christmas while I was in England and rode to and from town. In Melbourne I worked as a food delivery rider which involved up to three or four hours of cycling at any one time. I know I can ride for 50km fairly comfortably now so at least I can make it half way on the days we aim to ride 100km.

 What are the main challenges you expect to face?

There are all sorts. Australia is huge for starters, so the vast open spaces between places to buy food and water presents a problem. We need to be prepared.

Then things going wrong with the bikes like punctures or wheel frames cracking, the fact we are going to be camping for around two months will probably be tough as well. There are also lots of dangerous animals in Australia – at this time of year magpies of all things are really aggressive and attack you – it’s happened to me a few times already – and obviously there are snakes and those kind of things in the more rural areas.

 

 

 

Have you taken advice from anyone who has completed an endurance cycle like this?

Other than things we’ve read on the internet… no. But we’re adapters, we’ll be okay!

Has anyone told you to definitely not do it?

No, but most Australians look at us like we’re crazy!

You’ve started a podcast to keep people up to date with the fundraising – why a podcast and not a written or video blog?

Partly because I’ve not done any video editing for five years and I’m a little rusty putting it all together. Also I like podcasts, all I need is to talk into a dictaphone for an hour and it’s good to go. And people can listen on the go, they don’t have to commit to reading a long blog post or sit and watch a video. I would like to make some vlogs while we’re travelling but we’ll see!

You’ve spent the last few years travelling, why have you chosen to do this in Australia and not any of the other countries you spent time in?

The main reason is that I wanted to do this with Nick. We’ve never travelled together but moved to Australia within a month of each other and have lived together ever since. We’re currently living in a place called Bundaberg working on a pepper farm which will qualify us for a second year working holiday visa.

There’s not much to do up here so there’s plenty of time to plan.

Other countries have been different trips. I spent three months riding my motorbike around Spain, so I’m used to spending time on two wheels. I will just have to do a little more work this time around!

What links can people follow to donate money and keep up to date with the cycle?

https://www.fitzroyfour.com/

Donation: https://www.gofundme.com/TheFitzroyFour

@FitzroyFour on Instagram.

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