KANGAROO Island's Nicholas Tremaine is no stranger to raising money for charity, but his most recent exploit had him really go the distance.
On June 5, the Parndana bike enthusiast set off on a trip-of-a-lifetime along the coast from Perth to Sydney in an effort to raise awareness and money for Dementia Australia.
"I had seen other friend's long distance 'bike-packing' overseas and was inspired, but I thought before I head overseas, why not try it on home soil?" he said.
"I always had Perth to Sydney in mind, then someone suggested I do it for charity.
"My mother [Marilyn] was diagnosed two years ago with dementia and is now in full-time care in Kingscote, so that's when I came up with Distance for Dementia.
"I'm doing this for people living with dementia, the families who take care of them, and the medical staff who work in homes and hospitals to take care of people."
It had been tough mentally, but also mentally rewarding.- NICHOLAS TREMAINE
Nic's original target was undertaking the 8300-kilometre trip in 44 days, but after coming across some bad weather and poor road conditions, the route was made slightly shorter to 7615km across 43 days.
"It was definitely a morale booster to drop into KI halfway (day 25) and visit Mum," he said.
"It had been tough mentally, but also mentally rewarding.
"We also popped into Dementia Australia offices where we could, and everywhere we stopped people were donating along the way, which helped keep me going."
Nic rode by himself with no support vehicle. His less than 30 kilograms of gear, included a tent, sleeping bag and emergency supplies.
Nic told The Islander that the last few days, heading out of Vic into NSW and the south coast, were the hardest of the ride.
Day 40 from Lakes Entrance to Mallacoota was mentally tough, but lots of positive messages on his Facebook page made a big difference, he said.
Nic finished up his trek in Sydney on Sunday, July 17, and raised nearly $21,000 in the process.
Contributing to the tally was a final fundraising effort at the last home football match at Parndana on Saturday last week, where Nic shaved his beard and head in a final push to raise more money and awareness.
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Fellow Parndana local Cherie Kuchel undertook the shave, with the hair donated to a charity that makes wigs for kids living with cancer.
It wasn't the first time Nic has raised money from shaving his head.
He participated in the World's Greatest Shave in 2013 in honour of his cousin, who the family lost to leukemia.
"This was my second haircut since then," he said.
Nic said it has felt "weird" not waking up and getting straight on his bike.
"I kind of miss it, but the body is thankful we're not doing it anymore - my knees were definitely looking forward to a break," he said.
"I'll definitely be waiting for it to get a bit warmer before I cycle again, as I am still very keen to do the Tour de France next year and potentially America one day."
He won't be sitting still for long on the family farm however, with the Country Shows volunteer now focused on his local Parndana Show this month and the Royal Adelaide Show in September.
For those wishing to donate, Nic's page is still open on the Dementia Australia website.
This story originally appeared in the Stock Journal
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