YOU don’t normally find a legally blind man on a bike but Tamworth’s Richard “Hawkeye” Newberry is happy to spin his wheels all in the name of charity.
“It’s been well over 40 years since I’ve been on a bike,” Mr Newberry said, but the Ride for the Chopper Mountain Bike Bash has convinced him to get back on the horse and he’s got a partner in crime too.
Graham “Davo” Davidson, an old friend and fellow Lion, is said partner and he’s the man in front.
“We did discuss me being the pilot, but I think we’d actually need the services of the Westpac Rescue chopper if that happened,” Mr Newberry laughed.
It’s not stopping his friends at the Lions Club trying to convince him, with one member offering to sponsor the pair for every kilometre that Richard was on the front of the bike.
Finding the transport proved easy with a Tamworth man offering the pair his custom tandem bicycle, but mastering the art of riding one was a tricky business in itself, Richard said.
While The Leader photo shoot went off without a hitch, a previous photo session involved the two taking a tumble with legs flying everywhere.
“Lucky it was on grass and after the photo,” Mr Newberry said.
Mr Newberry said he’s been busy training for the ride on a BMX set up in his lounge room and that he feels every inch of his 56 years when he gets off.
The ride, which raises funds for the Westpac Rescue Helicopter, leaves from Wee Waa on September 14 and takes in 900km, riding on dirt roads through Narrabri, Bingara, Barraba and Manilla.
“We’ll be there for every kilometre,” Mr Newberry said, even though the pair haven’t yet completed a full day’s ride in their training schedule.
The 40 riders will ride their last few kilometres into Tamworth on September 22.
The duo expects a few blisters and bruises in unexpected places.
“They told us padding on the seat was very important,” Richard said.
The Lions Club of Tamworth will host a trivia night on Saturday to help fundraise for the pair, and also standalone rider Geoff Allen.
They aim to raise about $5000 for the charity. “It’s a fantastic service and a lifesaver,” Mr Newberry said.