November 24 - 30, 2013: Issue 138

 The Snowy Bike Ride 2013
by Robyn McWilliam

Pockets of snow cling to the mountain tops. Chilly air is bracing and morning light tinges the gum trees silver. Thredbo in the Snowy Mountains thrums with the roar of motorbikes, for Saturday 2 November 2013 is the thirteenth Snowy Bike Ride.

Lingering snow at Thredbo

Entrants pay $60 and receive a sticker for their bike and a checkpoint card. Once they ride around the checkpoints gaining three stamps, their card is placed in a barrel to win a multitude of donated prizes. The most coveted is a fiery red and black Honda VRF 800F donated by Honda, the major sponsor of this event.

Honda VRF 800F won

At 3.45 pm riders assemble in the huge car park at Bullocks Flat Ski Tube 18 kms from Thredbo for the Mass Ride. A helicopter whirrs overhead announcing their arrival. From the footbridge, through the limbs of a gum tree appear the Goldwing bikes with sidecars. Their precious cargo, the cancer children, lead the parade of motorcycles into Thredbo Village.

The array of bikes is staggering from low-slung Harley Davidsons to smooth touring BMWs. While some helmets are works of art, the machines are mostly black, silver, red and blue. One woman rider determined to stand out slides past on a pink BMW with Barbie written on the windscreen.


Riders come from NSW and Victoria and again there is a contingent from the Northern Beaches of Sydney. When the burble of engines cease and parked motorcycles line both sides of the road it’s time to crowd the Village Square. Bikers are clad in boots, jackets, leathers or draggin jeans; their attention is focused on the stage.

The Steven Walter Children’s Cancer Foundation, organisers of the event, are delighted with 3043 entrants this year. Money raised will further their vision of 100% survival for all children with cancer. The Snowy Ride financially supports vital research and clinical trials.
This year seven families with children suffering from cancer have been brought to Thredbo to enjoy the activities. The Royal Australian Navy has taken them on helicopter rides. A weekend of fun provides some respite from oncology wards.

RAN helicopter

One young mum, Renee Teplecinic, shares her account of the life-changing diagnosis of her daughter Emily, aged five who has undergone eight months of chemotherapy. Emily’s form of cancer has an 85% cure rate and Renee’s heartfelt speech is cheered and brings home the wonderful work this charity achieves.

Emily’s mum, Renee Teplecinic

Professor Glen Marshall from the Sydney Children’s Hospital details his support of young researchers and thanks riders for coming to Thredbo. Abuzz with excitement, entrants wait to see if their card is drawn from the barrel. The winner of the Honda VFR 800F is Tim Kemp, who is not present. A call to his mobile finds he’s delayed at the pub. The winner of the Honda CRF 250X is Edward Hungerford. The crowd disperses to recover for tonight’s fun.

The Village Square fills again at 9 pm for the free Angels concert. The stage on the back of a truck, lights swirling, the band’s familiar songs resonate. Feet are tapping and many join in singing out to ‘Am I Ever Going To See Your Face Again’.

To support this wonderful event and further children’s cancer research put the first weekend of November 2014 in your diary. Riding the curvy mountain roads is a motorcyclist’s dream and the Snowy Bike Ride is a worthy cause.

Report and Pictures by Robyn McWilliam, 2013.