One day into their epic adventure of riding 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) in 10 days on a tandem bicycle, mother-and-son team Louise and Nat Ginn had doubts.
“After Day One I wasn’t sure if I’d actually make it,” Louise Ginn said. “The first couple of days were quite painful. But after Day Three I was fine.”
The pair rode from Sydney to Mount Kosciuszko in the Snowy Mountains and back to Wollongong on Australia’s South Coast to raise 100,000 Australian dollars (US$71,000) for the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) in support of the Blossom Project, which educates teen girls in the South Pacific island-nation of Vanuatu to avoid unwanted pregnancies.
“As a mom, I just couldn’t believe young women felt they had no other options than to abandon their children,” Ginn said. “We had this idea of setting up a program ourselves, but in reality I couldn’t take that on. It was a blessing that ADRA took it on. I realized my role was to raise money.”
Ginn said she and her 16-year-old son only had one “really bad day,” when they encountered 35-degree Celsius (95F) heat and strong headwinds.
“Even downhill we had to pedal,” she said. “We were pretty exhausted that night.”
As a mother, she said, she felt privileged that her teenage son had wanted to take part in the ride.
“Nat was such an inspiration,” she said. “Every time I said, ‘My legs are sore,’ he’d say ‘Mom, the only thing you can do is pedal. The faster you pedal, the sooner we get there.’
Part of the motivation for the ride was to highlight the Blossom Project. With radio and newspaper interviews in most of the towns they stopped at, this was definitely achieved, Ginn said.
“When we got into towns after an interview, people would say, ‘Oh, we heard about you on the radio!’” she said.
She expressed delight with how many people participated in the ride.
“We had people collecting on the street, and we even went into the local pub shaking our tin,” she said. “When we got home, we had $1,500 just from the pub. It was an amazing feeling. People were so friendly.”
Ginn said the ride taught her that persistence pays off.
“It’s hard to believe we’ve actually done it now,” she said. “If you knew how much was involved to begin with, you probably wouldn’t do it. But it’s amazing when you set your mind to something and complete it.”
For information about the Blossom Project for women and girls in Vanuatu, visit adra.org.au/Blossom