How many people do you know who’d embark on a 3200km bike trek aged 69?
Well, that’s precisely what Leura resident Bob Montgomery plans to start on December 1 to raise awareness and money for motor neurone disease (MND).
The former competitive cyclist and squash player will leave The Three Sisters in Katoomba, and pedal his bike about 150km a day to finish in Port Douglas, Queensland, about a month later, with only three rest days planned along the way.
He has been training for the trek for two years, the past six months being the most intense.
Typically he’d ride 400-500km a week, which includes a return trip to Jenolan Caves from Leura.
Mr Montgomery has known several people with MND, including his cousin who was diagnosed with the disease earlier this year.
MND is the name given to a group of diseases in which the nerve cells (neurones) controlling the muscles enabling movement, speech, breathing and swallowing, degenerate and die.
This results in muscles gradually weakening and wasting, affecting a person’s ability to walk, speak, swallow and breathe, and can result in death within 27 months.
“You see people with it and you think ‘it can’t be much worse than this’,’’ Mr Montgomery said.
“So if I can generate some awareness of the disease and generate a few bob along the way using my energy to raise funds and awareness, then that’s a good thing.”
All money raised helps provide equipment and assistance to sufferers, and also goes towards research, in the hope of finding a cure.
To kick-off the trek, Mr Montgomery has organised a fund-raiser at Leura Golf Club on Friday, November 22 from 6.30pm.
Ed Wilson from The Daly-Wilson Big Band will bring his trombone and a couple of jazz musicians to perform at the fund-raiser, which includes a large silent auction.
Mr Montgomery has raised $15,000 so far, and aims to reach $50,000 at the trek’s completion.
He will celebrate his 70th birthday in January at Port Douglas with his family.
“I’ve always liked challenges in my life, be they fitness or business. I don’t like mediocrity very much,” Mr Montgomery said.
“If you set your sights higher and don’t quite meet them, that’s better than setting goals low and achieving low goals.”