Riding 210 kilometres in a day is no easy feat. Riding 210 kilometres in a day for your 10th consecutive year, at the ripe age of 75… well, that’s just impressive!
Meet John Morton, Brisbane local and proud member of the Indooroopilly Leeches riding club. Every year for the past 10, John and his wife Jo pack their bags (and John’s bike), book a room in the same hotel and make the trip down to Melbourne to participate in Australia’s biggest one-day bike ride.
Over the past decade John has experienced all the highs and lows that loyal Around the Bay participants know all too well. The dogged determination to ensure you keep up your training throughout the year. The mental preparation to be ready for whatever Melbourne’s weather serves up – from hot dry winds one year, to downpours the next, pelting hail another time, and 100 kilometre winds a couple of years ago. And of course, the excitement of lining up with your riding mates at the start line and exhilaration of crossing the finish line that makes it all worth it… and evidently, keeps you coming back for more!
But it hasn’t been a life-long love affair for John. In fact, it was 2005 when John was working 60 hours a week for his driving school business that his daughter insisted he make a change to improve his health.
So, John bought his first mountain bike. Although he could initially only manage 3 kilometres, he kept at it, riding further and further each week and ultimately losing 24 kilograms in 12 months.
One day on the bike, another rider sidled up beside him and asked if he’d like to have a coffee. This was John’s introduction to the Indooroopilly Leeches riding group. Soon after he bought his first road bike, and 13 years later he is now on his 3rd bike – a DOGMA.
In 2009 John completed his first 210km Around the Bay ride. He was hooked. Now he clocks up around 250 kilometres in the saddle each week, does some weight work in the gym, plays golf on Tuesdays and does a couple of swims to keep fit.
No longer working long hours, John takes the opportunity to increase his exercise, and strongly urges everyone to try to find more ways to be active every day – “it’s just so important”, he says.
This year John will ride the 210 kilometre Sorrento return with around 20 riders from Indooroopilly Leeches and the St Lucia riding club. When asked whether he’ll be back next year, John replied, “I enjoy it so much. It will depend on my health and how I’m feeling at the time, but each year about 2 hours after I finish and have a beer, I feel ready to do it all over again.”
Hearing how enthusiastic he is about this special day, we suspect that this won’t be the last United Energy Around the Bay for John.
Inspired by John's story? Entries for this year's United Energy Around the Bay are still open!