Miles for Smiles crosses Australia

A Rotary INTERPLAST awareness project

Claus Weber, a member of the Rotary Club of Adelaide West and Australian President of the Fellowship of Motorcycling Rotarians received a request from the Miles for Smiles group which included a couple of Rotarians who were planning a trip to raise awareness for Interplast by riding motorcycles from India to Australia, going through countries like Nepal, Laos, Cambodia and Thailand.

The team left for India at the end of January, they had bought their bikes in Australia and transported them to the start point in Kathmandu. For 5 weeks they rode through Asia raising awareness of Interplast, meeting doctors, patients and nurses helping out at hospitals along the way.

In South Australia, Miles for Smiles were looking for help with home hosting and promotion of their cause. Claus, D9500 DG Elect John Campbell, and South Australian representative for Interplast Marie Dorrington and others stepped up to the plate.

In early April 2014, Claus accompanied by his friend Julie left Adelaide on his Motorbike bound for Port Augusta to meet the boys and ride with them back to Adelaide and beyond. But on their way up to Port Augusta, they heard news that one of the motorcycles had major problems, a hole in a piston while crossing the Nullabor.

As happens in Aussie, a guy passed them that had “a mate in the next town …” and sure enough, 'the mate' welded up a fix to the piston that had the bike running better than ever. Good old outback hospitality and ingenuity!

While waiting for the Miles for Smiles team, Claus & Julie did some sightseeing around Whyalla, where they also met up with a few other members of the IFMR from the Riverland who had ridden over for the ride into Adelaide.

The group was invited to a Port Augusta Rotary Club Meeting, a BBQ at John Moss's residence in Stirling North. Since the Miles for Smiles team hadn't managed to make the meeting in time, Claus was asked to do an impromptu guest speaker talk on the Motorcycling Fellowship.

The boys ended up a few days behind schedule, so Claus and his team rode back to Adelaide alone. 2 days later Claus met the boys at Port Wakefield and rode into Adelaide with them and took them to their accommodation.

Later that day all met for a few drinks and food at the Old Lion in North Adelaide. The stories they told us, of roads so muddy that trucks could not get through, graphic detail of them helping doctor do operations, some of the 'interesting' food they ate, not having a hot shower for days on end, cold water only to splash on .. and a total lack of any form of mobile phone communications for much of their trip. It was a brilliant evening “I could have sat there for hours listening” said Claus.

On Monday morning all rode to Radio Station 103.1 5EBI and the guys had a good interview for twenty minutes with personality David Sabine. From that interview, a member of the public rode his motorcycle up the freeway to meet them for a chat, fantastic!

One of the bikes overheated and ground to a stop on the way through the tunnels on the freeway so the boys changed a spark plug and we were on the road again, maximum speed for the bikes was 80k's downhill and about 75k's on the flat road.

Claus rode to Tailem Bend and had lunch with the team, before they said their goodbyes as the team continued on to Halls Gap in the Grampians.

By the time Claus got home he'd ridden over 1,500k's during the week and the Miles for Smiles Boys by that time had raised over $24,000 during their 60 day ride across 8 Countries, covering 6,500+ miles.

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Interplast Australia / New Zealand