It's on! It's happening! It's being organised! Yes, by popular demand, Ride4Life are organising a week long ride from the 12th to the 18th November.
The dairy industry is still in deep trouble, although you wouldn't know it given it seems to have slipped off the radar of the media. Murray Goulburn has declared an opening milk price for 2017/18 of only $4.70 a kilogram which is well below the cost of production. They have since revised this upwards to $5.20 but still not really enough for farmers. The cost of production seems to vary considerably depending on your source, but either way, there isn't much in it based on the figures available. This will continue to put dairy farmers under continuing pressure trying to survive.
The very least we can do is visit these areas and let them know we care. No, we can't fix the problems in the dairy industry, but just letting someone know that you know about the tough times they are facing and you care about them and their families can be the difference in someone's day. Our main focus, as always, is to raise awareness of mental health issues and suicide prevention. It is at times when people are under pressure that they are more vulnerable to the black cloud of depression. Let's try and bring a few smiles to people on our ride.
The ride will be starting in Shepparton, the heart of the dairy industry in the Goulburn Valley. We will do a reverse tour of the "Milk Run" last year taking in a trip across the Alps from Wodonga to Bairnsdale, the ferry from Sorrento to Queenscliff, a trip down the Great Ocean Road and a ride through the Grampians. Final details of the actual route and the finishing point are still being worked out. The committee is yet to work out registration fees, but it will include the cost of the ferry crossing as well so we can prepay this amount.
We are also yet to decide on the charity we will support and are open to suggestions here. According to our constitution it has to be to do with mental health awareness and suicide prevention. Given the nature of our run, something that will help the dairy industry and communities would be ideal.
James Cardwell has been a busy little poddy calf with his art work of late. He has developed logos for the tour, potential T Shirts and a surprise mascot specific for the Extra Dollop Tour. The artwork design 'The Queen of the road' has been very generously donated to Ride4Life for use during The Extra Dollop Tour, by Swiss artist Monika Flütsch from Sankt Antönien in Switzerland. More of her work can be found at www.moenart.ch. Thanks for the designs James.
Stand by for more announcements.