The “Spine Tingling Ride” will raise awareness and donations
for Australians with spinal cord injury
Interviews available now – Event takes place in Canberra Tues 20 June
Canberra, Tuesday 20 June 2023: Andrew Kerec is taking on a record breaking, solo mountain bike ride from the western-most point to the eastern-most point of Australia – a total of around 5500 kms in just 65 days. And he’s doing it to raise money for people with spinal cord injury, like his father.
Andrew’s 65-day ride is looking to beat the current record set in 2021, which is 83 days: 21 hours: 27 minutes to go from Steep Point in WA to Byron Bay in NSW. Andrew’s route will include crossing the Simpson Desert (along the “French Line” which crosses approx. 1200 sand dunes at right angles).
But that’s not all, Andrew will then ride from Byron Bay to Canberra, making the total ride 6820 kms in 80 days. No wonder Andrew calls it ‘The Spine Tingling Ride’.
Andrew is raising money for people with disabilities and medical research for people with spinal cord injury and their families and carers. The donations will be split equally between Hartley Lifecare and SpinalCure Australia.
Andrew completed a similar challenge in 2017 when he rode his mountain bike from Canberra to Humpty Doo in the Northern Territory – a total of 5551kms in 59 days that raised $130,000. This time Andrew is looking to raise at least $200,000.
“It’s going to be a tough ride that’s for sure. But spinal cord injury is something very close and personal to me, my family and friends because of dad. He was out training for an Ironman event and in the blink of an eye everything changed. He was hit by another cyclist.
His helmet strap had become caught up on something in the collision and caused a dislocation of his spine around the C5/C6 vertebrae - his spinal cord was damaged beyond current medical capacity to repair - and he became and remains a ‘complete’ C5 quadriplegic with no movement or function below the chest line including his hands. Dad’s an inspiration so he’ll be in my thoughts during the ride to make sure I keep going all the way”, said Andrew.
Kathryn Borkovic, CEO SpinalCure Australia, believes Andrew’s ride will have a far-reaching positive impact and encourage people with spinal cord injury to enrol in Project Spark clinical trials that are taking place now:
“We are all amazed and grateful for the effort Andrew will go to on this ride. Not only could he set a new record, he will also raise awareness and donations for Project Spark, a series of neurostimulation trials that SpinalCure is funding. They are the first step in taking this ground breaking treatment out of the lab and into the lives of people living with a spinal injury,” said Ms Borkovic.
Eric Thauvette, CEO Hartley Lifecare, along with all the staff and supporters at Hartley Lifecare are incredibly grateful for Andrew’s continued support and raising awareness of people with disabilities.
“Andrew, his family and friends has supported Hartley Lifecare in various ways for over ten years.
We wish Andrew incredibly good luck for his world record breaking ride. The money raised will help Hartley support people with disabilities to live their best lives”, said Mr Thauvette.
The Spine Tingling Ride will host a launch event in Canberra on Tues 20 June, the day Andrew sets of on his long drive to Steep Point. It will be held at Hartley Renaissance House, the venue partly built with the proceeds of his 2017 ride.
Andrew will then start his ride from Steep Point on Tues 27 June and arrive in Byron Bay on Mon 28 Aug. He will finish the ride in Canberra on Mon 11 Sept, where he will be joined on the final stretch by his dad using a hand cycle and a large group of friends, family and supporters on their bikes.
You can read here the full story of The Spine Tingling Ride, as well as the details of this year’s journey.
The record attempt has been registered with the Road Record Association of Australia.
Helpful links to share with your audience:
For further information and interview opportunities, contact:
Tess Bignell Carol Abela
0403 140 980 0406 548 542
Spinal cord injury key facts
- Every day, someone in Australia injures their spinal cord, with devastating consequences.
- There are over 20,000 people in Australia with spinal cord injury.
- Spinal injury costs the Australian economy $3.75 billion per annum with a lifetime cost in 2020 estimated at $75 billion.
- For a comparatively small investment, we can make a significant impact on people's lives and save on the substantial costs to the economy.
- Cost savings from recovery in just 10 percent of people are conservatively estimated to be $3.5 billion, with the potential to be as high as $10.3 billion.
- In a second, someone’s life can change: from a car or sporting accident, or a simple fall. Any one of us could go from being active to injuring our spinal cord and spending much of their life in a wheelchair.
- The impact is life-shattering, not only for the injured person but also for their loved ones. For these people, there is currently no treatment, pill or lifestyle change that can mitigate the effects of a spinal cord injury. Research is their only hope.
- Loss of movement is just the tip of the iceberg – ongoing pain, digestive health issues, pressure sores, spasm, loss of bladder and bowel control and impaired sexual function are just some of the effects that can make everyday life so difficult.
Click here for more spinal cord injury facts and infographics