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Riders brave the cold to promote the message of road safety

15-year-old Josh Beikoff was the youngest competitor in the 100km ride and finished second.
15-year-old Josh Beikoff was the youngest competitor in the 100km ride and finished second. Kate Czerny

FINGERS were frostbitten, faces were frozen and toes went numb but everyone agreed it was a great way to start a Sunday.

People who went in the annual 24/7 Cycling Safety Fund Community Ride yesterday returned like Antarctic adventurers, telling each other tales of suffering the cold.

But sitting in the sun at Limestone Park drinking Coffee Club coffee and eating bacon and egg burgers made by Ipswich North Rotary couldn't be a much better feeling.

Teenage cyclist Josh Beikoff had his own story of endurance to tell, returning second in the 100km ride despite being stuck in the highest gear most of the way.

The 15-year-old, who dreams of one day competing in the Tour de France, said for the first 60km the battery-operated gears in his bike weren't working and he was stuck climbing hills in a gear designed to high speed road racing.

"I've been riding properly now for about a year," Josh said. "Dad always did it and I joined him once and just loved it.

"I've only just started racing and I want to keep with that and see how far I can take it."

24/7 CSF founder Troy Dobinson was delighted with the day as riders pedalled into a family atmosphere featuring jumping castle and giant slide.

"It was a very icy morning to start with but absolutely beautiful now. I'm sure we had a lot of registrations that didn't show up because they went, 'Ipswich; zero'. Come on," Mr Dobinson said with a laugh.

"But seriously we couldn't be happier. It's another year in and another year we've got a lot of goals completed - our schools program we're doing with council and obviously our goal in creating a safe cycling facility for the Ipswich community.

"It's been a great ride. Our focus is that community-oriented, family-friendly brand of 24/7. From the Coffee Club to Ipswich North Rotary, Ipswich City Rotary, River 94.9, Llewellyn Motors and obviously Yellow Jersey, it's a great community aspect."

Drivers had every right to be surprised to see so many cyclists on the road but it seems they and the cyclists got along all right.

"Our message is we can coexist on roads and that's only going to get stronger and stronger," Mr Dobinson said. "You can obviously see how many bikes are getting around the city now."

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