The ride of his life

He made it! Ross Maclean in Broken Hill after the completion of his charity ride. Pictures Contributed.

Ross Maclean jokes he’s in a state of withdrawal after riding 4214 kilometre to raise funds for Ronald McDonald House.

“It’s a bit difficult to not to get up in the morning, pack the bike up and get going… it’s like going cold turkey, from riding to not riding,” he said.

The 66-year-old Baralaba grazier left from the Baralaba Cafe on Wednesday 17 April, heading inland to pass through towns in the Northern Territory and South Australia, before completing his journey on Saturday, 8 June, at Broken Hill in NSW.

Ross made Ronald McDonald House South-East Queensland his chosen charity as his family had used their accomodation services after his grandson Sonny fell ill and his great-nephew Wyatt was born with heart issues.

“Ronald McDonald House has helped my family out quite a bit over the last two years,” he said.

“I wanted to do a ride to challenge myself personally, but also wanted to make it worthwhile by raising money for Ronald McDonald House, actually giving back a little bit of what they have given to us.”

Ross’s ride from Baralaba to Broken Hill has raised close to $30,000 and is still climbing, tripling his initial goal of $10,000.

“The ride itself was really nothing like I expected – it was better,” he said.

“I opened the fundraising link up about a week before I left and had donations pouring in that week, but what really surprised me was the support I got along the way.

“People were shouting me meals and accommodation and even pulling up on the side of the road with a cold drink.

“It all made the ride just so so much better, even if it was a little bit overwhelming at the start.”

The trip involved 52 days of total travel time, including 41 days riding.

Ross averaged about six hours riding a day, or about 103km per day.

While the weather got “progressively colder” after he arrived in Alice Springs, Ross said it had been an amazing trip.

“On the day I rode into Junta in South Australia it was a maximum of 11 degrees with a bit of an icy breeze blowing.”

Ross said some of the highlights of his journey were the quirky roadhouses, the beautiful colours of the desert and the history of towns like Junta and Broken Hill.

“I hadn’t been between the Three Ways and Alice Springs for quite some time, and a lot of it has changed,” he said.

“There’s places that I’ve ticked off to go back to when I have more time to have a look around.

“I would have been home a week ago if i didn’t stop and take so many photos.”

Ross arrived at Rockhampton Airport on Wednesday, 12 June, with his son Kash there to welcome him and take him home to Baralaba.

“I’d like to thank everybody who has donated to the cause and supported me all the way along,” he said.

“It has been overwhelming.”

If you’d like to make a donation, go to Ross’s public Facebook group, Ross Maclean Charity Ride 2024.