Last year, Sarah Buckpitt and her cycling friends put together the Pedal for Parkinson’s Tasmania Tour. Riding 500km across 5 days, the team raised over $19,000 for Shake It Up and sparked a passion for fundraising. In its second year, Pedal for Parkinson’s was bigger than ever, raising over $21,000 for Parkinson’s research and growing even further in profile!
We spoke to Sarah to learn more about what’s next for tour and all the highlights for this year.
Hi Sarah, for those who missed last year’s tour, tell us all about Pedal for Parkinson’s! What’s involved?
Pedal for Parkinson’s is a fully supported 500km cycling Tour around a pre-planned route in beautiful Tasmania. In 2022 it was around the East Coast area and this year we headed into the Central Highlands.
What was preparation like for this year’s tour?
The downside of being the organiser for the Tour is that I don’t really get to ride it! I was really lucky this year being able to do a short 50km stint on Stage Two where I was snowed on. However, making sure that everyone is safe and going in the right direction are my main priorities and being able to do this from the SAG (Support and Gear) Wagon is far easier.
What were some of the biggest highlights from 2023’s Pedal for Parkinson’s tour?
There are so many to pick from, I’m still coming down from the high of it all! But if I was to say one highlight, it would be how there was a real “family” vibe about this year’s Tour. Everyone looked out for each other and the majority of the group stuck together and helped one another ride through the challenging conditions. And if anyone did start to drop back,the team would always re-group at the top of a climb, and no rider was ever left hanging off the back to ride alone. And the best part, on our final night together, we all met at one of the cabins we were staying in and had a big “family” dinner cooked by the wife of one of our riders.
What are you most excited for about the future of PfP?
I’m very excited to announce that Pedal for Parkinson’s will be back in 2024 with a new route taking riders around the North of Tasmania, starting and finishing in Launceston. The Tour has already grown so much in twelve months and I can only imagine it getting bigger and better. I have already had businesses and individuals approach me and ask how they can be involved in the 2024 Tour.
What drives your commitment to fundraise for Parkinson’s?
My biggest drive is my family. We were touched by the effects of what PD can have on a family member and continues to have on another. I know that there are some extremely smart and dedicated individuals working tirelessly to find a cure for PD however they can’t do their jobs without funding. This is where I can do my bit, a mediocre cyclist from Tassie who, along with her friends, can ride ridiculous amounts of kilometres to raise these funds and bring awareness to PD.
What words of advice do you have for others hoping to make a difference?
Go for it! If you have an idea then talk with those closest to you and make it happen. I had never done anything like this before, so I did my research and sought advice from those around me. Now, I have run two extremely successful Tours raising over $40,000! It really is incredible, but not possible without the support of family, friends and businesses.
Sarah Buckpitt has raised over $40k for Parkinson's research through #Pedal4Parkinsons. She says if you have an idea to make a difference, go for it! You can make it happen. Click To Tweet