I am about to go on holiday… scrub that. Start again. Myself and a group of my well-remunerated stockbroker buddies are about to undertake a gruelling 800km ride from Adelaide to Melbourne.

Working hard for the money

20 years ago we would have gone on a golf trip, sucked piss for five days and told off-colour jokes. The times they are a-changing hey?

What’s also new… well not so new now, is that my holiday is now an opportunity for you to lighten your wallet.

You’ll be familiar with this because, let’s face it, I’m sure it happens to you every week or so.

Remember Gary from accounting who went hiking in Nepal last year, and Cathy who you did your CPA training with who trekked Kokoda?

Well once again, and not for the last time I can assure you, my holiday is your opportunity to donate to a charity of my choice.

It’s a great idea, because you see, like 100 per cent of overfed, wealthy westerners, my family has been touched by cancer, or diabetes or eczema or something.

You don’t need to know the details, or maybe you do - it would give the tale more poignancy wouldn’t it? And shield me from any criticism.

But really what this is all about is making us all feel better.

Years ago it was horrible. You had to do something really difficult and dangerous like climb Everest or reach the South Pole before you thought about shaking the tin cup in front of anyone.

But now anyone who’s ever wanted to do pretty much anything with a physical aspect is apparently within their rights to make a flimsy connection to a charitable cause and pass their adventure holiday off as a fundraising venture.

This has numerous benefits. For those who like to hike in Asia, it assuages that terrible middle class, western guilt I know we all feel when trudging past families who get by on less than $1 a day, while wearing our new GoreTex (TM).

For those in the corporate world, it gives you an opportunity to market your companies, both as contributors and fundraisers. That’s what’s called a “win, win’’ in those circles.

And for the rest of us, well it just makes us feel pretty damned good, without having to really put much effort in, and shit, it’s someone else’s money!

I know what you’re saying - hey, those deep dish Zipp 404 racing wheels you bought for your $5000 Italian Colnago racing bike cost $3300! But you’ve got to remember that’s retail. I picked them up online for much less, and split them into two airmail lots so I didn’t even have to pay duty for customs so I basically saved Australia $2000.

Sure, the combined value of our 10 bikes is more than $50,000, and if we had foregone the support van we could have donated that money to charity.

And sure, we could just shut the hell up, go on holiday and donate money ourselves.

Or even - and this is an idea which is so far out of left field I’m loathe even to utter it: We could all make an actual sacrifice, not go on holiday for the second time this year, and make a significant donation to charity and not tell anyone.

But hey, that would benefit no one.

We wouldn’t get to feel good, and to have others mutter in appreciative tones about us as we walk past, head held high in the knowledge that we have almost single-handedly made the world a better place.

And we wouldn’t be able to raise awareness. About cancer. Which nobody knows anything about.

Because that’s what it’s all about, people. It’s not about me and how sweet my bike is and how fit I’m going to be after riding all the way to Melbourne with a bunch of my mates.

It’s about doing something for the sick people, or the poor people, who don’t have the disposable income to fly half way around the world to go trekking.

And most of all, it’s about us.

Your generosity is appreciated in advance.

Most commented


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    • Dweezy2176 says:

      07:54am | 13/05/11

      Congratulations, I dream of this everytime I see a lycra clad Tony on the TV doing one of his “charity” rides. As someone who ridesnearly everyday I often dream of the easy life of a charity cycle. A few kms a day, support van to shepherd you from the traffic, someone else to deal with flat tyres/mechanical problems and free meals and accomodation every night.
      I ride an average of 120kms daily, mainly to save fares, deal with the traffic grind, do my own maintenance, feed and water myself and wear tee-shirt and shorts (can’t afford lycra) . So to hear it put so honestly is refreshing! Enjoy your doddle and the beer(s) after a hard day’s pedal!

    • papachango says:

      11:13am | 13/05/11

      120 km a day? That’s 4-5 hours on the bike. Sorry but I doubt it very much. Did you mean 120 a week?

    • Vaunted says:

      02:15pm | 13/05/11

      It sounds like Dweezy2176 may have named himself after his postcode in which case he could live somewhere like Bossley Park, about 44 km from Sydney. Assuming he commutes to the city his distances may have become inflated at the office coffee machine and he actually rides about 90 km a day, an each-way trip which at a reasonable 25 km/h average cycling speed should take him about 1.75 hours, say 2 hours allowing for stoppages. All the same, he must have a crotch like the fork of a tree.

    • stephen says:

      05:54pm | 13/05/11

      A hundred and twenty k’s a day… in shorts ?!

      Either your saddle by now looks like a soup bowl, or your knuts do.

    • Cry in my Gin says:

      08:12am | 13/05/11

      ROTFL. You have managed to put into words the distaste I feel when I hear of people pulling these stunts. Thank you.

    • Budz says:

      08:53am | 13/05/11

      Your honestly is rather refreshing.

    • michael j says:

      09:07am | 13/05/11

      Well as usual i am the last to hear of a good scam,travel the
      World on a couple of dollars you reckon , i would like that
      I was hoping you would give a few more details
      but i suppose a good travel agent will have them ?
      Oh just got it ,TAX deductible ? ,means you really don’t have
      any money to give away ?

    • Mahhrat says:

      09:24am | 13/05/11

      Well said, sir.  Of course, you left out the bits that you can them claim as tax deductions because they were done “for charity”.

      I got sick of all this when I went on a date a few years ago now with a lass who was working for the Salvos.  She thought it was worth crowing about, not because she was helping genuinely needy people, but because she paid like 10% income tax and got whole bunches of nice clothes for next to nicks because they all go pore over the latest “donations” before they ever reach the shop floor.

      It was a good thing I was enjoying my steak, because otherwise I’d have simply walked out on her.

    • trentyn says:

      09:43am | 13/05/11

      as a participant in one of these activities my opinion on the matter is open to bias i understand

      however i am very glad that the one cause I choose to support is so open with its goals and by participating i really felt like a part of finding a cure, preventor and helping those who support cancer sufferers.


      thanks to everyone who helped raise AWARENESS and money for the travel aid for carers of cancer sufferers and the multitude of small projects where contributions were directly funneled.

      Yes I ride an expensive bike, but I would have bought it anyway, and yes my company was very supportive of me taking the time to participate, which again I would have done anyway. I dont think I fit the mould this article is pointing at, but try and stop me from using it to plug a cause I think is a worthwhile one!

    • Mahhrat says:

      11:17am | 13/05/11

      I bet Trentyn is your real name, too.

      Why do you need to advertise your good deeds?  I applaud that you do them, but why harp about them?  What does that gain?

      “Awareness” can be gained anonymously - just refuse to give out your details.

      What really scares me about people like you is what you allow yourself to do behind closed doors because of your public goodness.

    • trentyn says:

      10:34am | 16/05/11

      Mahhrat, a simple check of my link would have shown you that my real name was associated with my face. (site may have been changed since event is over)
      It is a shame that creating awareness often means someone need to be recognised speaking onits behalf. my anonymously donating to charities will never give them the awareness they need.

    • TheRealDave says:

      10:16am | 13/05/11

      I’m planning a ‘Booze Cruise for Charity’ if anyone wants to join in. My plan is to get someone to drive me, and a number of other volunteers, in a giant bus from Brisbane to Melbourne stopping at every pub that is on the Highway and having a minimum of 6 beers at each place AND a game of pool or darts AND a counter meal. I am looking for corporate sponsors to help bankroll and get a kitty started and then solicit private donations for each beer consumed along the way.

      All proceeds, after paying for beers consumed, fuel, food, accomodation, pool table change etc will go to a charity that will be determined during the trip whilst in an alcoholic haze.

      Fell free to email me with your donations via The Punch. We are hoping to make it to Melbourne ...sometime…..

    • Markus says:

      12:30pm | 13/05/11

      I always had a plan to do something similar from Canberra to Brissy, but avoiding the pacific highway/motorway altogether so that you hit another local pub every 20-30km.

      It’s a tough job, but someone’s got to do it.
      Get sponsoring, people! C’mon, it’s for AWARENESS!

    • Cameron England says:

      02:36pm | 13/05/11

      The author here. Tory Shepherd and I workshopped this the other day. We’re going to call it “The Great Aussie Pisstake” and raise money for downing a few on a Friday night

    • PP says:

      10:25am | 13/05/11

      Classic, I love it. I am surrounded by plonkers like this at work. Their grandstanding gets a tad tiresome. Worse, as I am a fellow cyclist they see me as on their side.

      From a cycling perspective most of these types are wheel suckers who like to tell the group how to ride. Fortunately they can be easily lost at the first gentle slope.

    • fairsfair says:

      10:49am | 13/05/11

      This column made me think of that Catherine Tate sketch where the fund raising office mum is constantly hounding her poor male work colleague for a donation to the latest cause she is championing. It is always something random.

      Well done, that was spot on. Even when contribution is well-meaning, it is more often than not only by people who are getting some sort of gain. I stop short of using the term selfish, because irrespective of motivation they are offering an act of charity, but it certainly does get a bit much sometimes and just like the Tate sketch - I feel hounded for every spare cent I have what with Relay for Life, Wheelie Bin whatevers, Million Paws Walk, Biggest Morning Tea - and this is just the month of May. Sadly, none of these mean any of my colleagues will be out of the office for any period of time - I might pass a hat around wink

    • papachango says:

      11:14am | 13/05/11

      Damn beat me to it.

      We’ll speak no more of it - wouldn’t want it to come between us…

    • papachango says:

      11:35am | 13/05/11

      this was in reply to fairsfair above…

    • fairsfair says:

      02:01pm | 13/05/11

      lol - I am now practicing the accent wink

      Though not directly related, but I guess slightly - my favorite ever moment of that show is where all those kids with the rediculously hyphenated names are doing the egg and spoon race at school and it is all going swimmingly until the mother gasps in horror “its the eggs! they are not organic!” and they all scream and run for their Silver BMW X5s.

      Cracks me up everytime!

      Ah, gotta love pretentious people - she does them so well.

    • papachango says:

      02:49pm | 13/05/11

      sorry fairsfair…

      the funniest line goes something like… “just because a man knows all the lyrics to Barbara Striesand’s songs and can colour coordinate his ensemble, you ASSUME he’s biting the pillows? How VERY dare you!”

    • fairsfair says:

      03:50pm | 13/05/11

      hahahah! God I love that show.

      I am partial to throwing out “aye, did you hear about our Dan? He’s a gay man now” in my best northern Irish accent.

      What a f*cking Liberty. That old dude who is the Streisand fan is pretty funny wink

    • Que says:

      11:16am | 13/05/11

      If the bikers wanted to do something good for society they would stay off the roads - but of course they don’t. They just want to prance around in their lycra (which will be the butt of many a gag in five-ten years) and claim the moral high ground.
      Their preciousness is nauseating.

    • papachango says:

      11:39am | 13/05/11

      I did Movember once and got a similar criticism. You’re not making any sacrifices - it’s just a chance to have a laugh and prance around for a month pretending to be in the Village People.

      Faitr point, but it does bring the dollars in, and is a lot less annoying than the licenced beggars they call charity street collectors.

    • Markus says:

      12:37pm | 13/05/11

      I dunno, I participated in the very first one before it had really become accepted by most people.
      As a single guy I think spending an entire month being unable to get laid was a pretty damn huge sacrifice raspberry

    • papachango says:

      03:41pm | 13/05/11

      makes no difference when you’re married wink

      ..though your post made me think of a way to defend it if I ever go again (unlikely). “You should appreciate Movember and donate dearest - it means I’m far less likely to pick up at the office”

    • Kate says:

      07:19pm | 13/05/11

      @papachango - my boyfriend’s done Movember the last two years. I donate on the grounds that it gets shaved off immediately on December 1st!

    • Geoff Russell says:

      12:02pm | 13/05/11

      Well said Cameron.  I can’t remember the comedian, but he put it
      equally brilliantly. ... there’s a group of people, A, who need money and
      another group B, who have money and somehow up jumps
      group C who take the money from B and give it to A while
      skipping rope or swimming laps or ... something.  We just have
      to be sure that laughing at C doesn’t stop us donating to A.

    • TracyH says:

      01:28pm | 13/05/11

      How coincidental! Just the other day I overheard a bunch of ferally/uni/god knows what/ types talking at an (expensive) outdoor pub. Here’s the transcript smile
      #1: Going to trek around Nepal soon
      #2: Well, just lay claim to cause, and it’ll all be paid for ya and you will look really cool and pick up heaps of chicks
      #3: Shit yeah…I did it last year…
      #1. Cool, what’s a good cause to jump on?

    • catta says:

      02:13pm | 13/05/11

      I have done two charity bike rides, both of which I organised myself, so my first thought was to get really indignant at this article. But I can see your point. It is open to exploitation.

      However, although I really enjoyed the experience, it wasnt a holiday. I trained for a year, doing 300-400km a week to make sure I was ready. The rides themselves were through hot days, fighting for space on a highway with trucks, through old knee injuries and infected cuts, saddle sores and aching muscles. It was no one but me, with my dad in a support car behind, so for about seven hours of the day, I only had myself to amuse me and there is only so many times you can sing Oasis songs to yourself before getting bored.

      So yes- maybe it is a bit of a way to make a name for yourself and have a good time while doing it. But you do work for it, if you do it right. It is kind of like those holidays where they offer you a “once in a lifetime experience”, but you are raising money for charity at the same time. What is wrong with that?

      Oh…and Que…I tried to resist taking the bait, I really did. But I failed…you, sir, are an imbecile.

    • TracyH says:

      02:30pm | 13/05/11

      catta…no-one’s saying there’s anything wrong with it, but rather that it should be acknowledged it’s not altogether altruistic. Absolutely raise money for charity, just don’t pretend that’s all it’s about smile
      I think many of us have been at the receiving end of smugophilia, so it’s kind of a relief to be able to to smogophile back smile smile

    • Greypower says:

      05:36pm | 13/05/11

      Loved this! goodonyer Cameron!

    • stephen says:

      05:59pm | 13/05/11

      Go in winter when the westerlies are howlin, then you’ll get a tail-wind as far as Torquay
      Ten years ago i rode in the other direction - from Sydney - and had a block headwind at 25 knots all the way to Warrnambool. No fun, except for the kids in the back seats of cars going past.

    • Dweezy2176 says:

      06:10pm | 13/05/11

      Actually I’m retired & do it for fun. I’m a born op-shopper and follow a general route on various days. Leaving home around 9.00 & getting back 3/4ish. I live in Prairiewood and range as far as Camden, Penrith, Richmond & the city depending on the direction I’m heading in. I’m cutting back now as the house is filling up and my kids are calling me a hoarder after the TV show. I’ve dropped off to 2/3 days a week and little buying. A nuisance because I’ve always enjoyed it but find I can’t ride just for the sake of it anymore!

    • bikinis on top says:

      07:26pm | 13/05/11

      Your comment
      :if you cough up, you know you have a cold or influenza.
      remember, Liberal voters never go on holidays as they are so dedicated to business, work, the right thing, god, and the big end of town.


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