Lions Ride for Sight a resounding success

Community spirit and spectacular scenery dominated this year's Ride for Sight, which saw 50 hardy souls pedal through beautiful East Gippsland.

CERA is extremely grateful for the dedication and endurance of all riders, the donors who have supported them, and the hard work of all of the volunteers from Lions District 2013V which organises the event.

Riders Tanya Pejnovic, Eva Fenwick, Jennifer Hassell and Elaine Chong.

This year's ride included three cyclists aged in their 80s, a rider from Singapore, CERA Senior Research Fellow/ ophthalmologist Dr Elaine Chong, CERA HR Advisor Tanya Pejnovic and her husband Sini.

The 26th Ride for Sight was another resounding success, thanks to the volunteers from Lions District 2013V.

The ride started in Orbost on 11 April and finished in Sale on 14 April. The stunning 320km route covered Orbost, Marlo, Buchan, Bruthen, Wy Yung, Lindenow, Fernbank, Briagolong, Stratford, Maffra, Heyfield and Sale.

Conditions were excellent, unlike last year's stormy weather. Each stop saw delicious meals and snacks prepared by local Lions Club and Ride for Sight committee volunteers.

The clubs included Orbost, Bruthen, Stratford, Briagolong, Wellington La Trobe, Macalister Valley-Newry, Lakes Entrance, Heyfield, Maffra, Bairnsdale, Sale and Cranbourne.

Participating for the third time, Dr Chong rode alongside Tanya and Sini Pejnovic, former CERA staff Eva Fenwick and Jenny Hassell, and former CERA trial participant Robert Lloyd.

They were joined by event veterans Mark Sage and Ian de Bruyne, who have completed all 26 rides.

Dr Chong and Ms Pejnovic raised $2565, and Mr Pejnovic another $800. They rode up to 90 km a day and slept in school halls, or other riders' homes.

Apart from a "really sore" behind, Dr Chong says the ride was memorable, with beautiful country views. Conquering the steep climbs was satisfying, as was "too much yummy country food".

"The entire experience was amazing, with friendly participants helping each other along," she says. "Some riders pushed my back as we cycled uphill."

Over its history, the Ride for Sight has raised more than $1 million in total to help save sight and change lives. The final tally from this year's event is yet to be determined but last year CERA received $65,000.

Ride for Sight Chair Nina Blythe says its success is testament to the committee and many volunteers. "They all do their jobs really, really well," she says.

She also paid tribute to late Lions club member, Bill Annear who passed away suddenly last year.

"Bill was a staunch Ride for Sight supporter and committee member for many years. He will be missed by all who knew him through Ride for Sight and the Lions Club of Briagolong," she says.

Ms Pejnovic, who rode with her son Stefan, 24, last year, says her highlights included breathtaking countryside near Buchan and starting the second day in a sea of fog.

She also enjoyed the hospitality and catering of Lions Club volunteers, especially their roast dinners.

"It's got a really good community vibe to it, including the riders themselves," she says. "You get to talk to a whole lot of different people."

You can still support this year's riders through our Everyday Hero page.

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