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Darren’s experience with Good Cycles

Right from the get-go, Darren showed a high level of resourcefulness, determination and negotiation; his enthusiasm when performing his various tasks and a natural aptitude for problem solving became a source of motivation for others, “People talk to me and they tell me “How do you solve those problems so quickly?”… Being able to think both inside and outside the box [is key].”

Through his experience at Good Cycles, Darren was able to improve and strengthen his communication and teamwork skills. Darren noted that he “used to avoid teamwork but now I’m comfortable during shifts… Communication and keeping in contact with people so they know what is going on is a big thing.”

Another big thing for Darren was the chance to be given opportunities to build personal and professional connections particularly at Citywide. In fact, one of his professional goals was to move to Citywide into a permanent position there. Darren noted that, when he was able to work at the Citywide-operated Degraves Street Recycling facility during his time at Good Cycles, he was able to make both personal and professional connections:

They assisted me in that they provided a comfortable working space which – for me – is one of the biggest things. The training they provided was sufficient for me [too].

After making use of the skills, networks and experience he gained in working shifts at the Facility, he successfully achieved his goal and moved into a permanent position at Citywide in December 2021.

Quality time with his children and family is particularly important for Darren: Darren was able to “spend more time with my kids and family” through the flexible shift structures at Good Cycles. More significantly, being employed meant being able to afford more secure housing and provide financially for his young family. Through the job security that came with working at Good Cycles, Darren was able to make huge progress in achieving his twin life goals of “a good home for my family” and “kids growing up healthy and happy”.

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Sarah Stevenson

Sarah Stevenson was appointed Good Cycle’s Head of Finance in 2022 after serving as Financial Controller in 2021.

As Head of Finance, Sarah provides strategic leadership for the Social Enterprise and finance functions, as well as the management of its financial and capital resources. Sarah oversees Good Cycles Budget and Financial Planning, Grant funding, and Investments portfolio, Risk and Governance, Information Systems Development and Support, Financial Controls, Procurement, Finance Training and Communications, and Good Cycles Audit Procedures. Within those units lie critical business functions including (but not limited to) payroll, financial reporting, accounts receivable and payable, project accounting, international operations finance, and organisational systems. Sarah is highly collaborative across all functions to support the Social Enterprises’ vision of creating inclusive cities and better livelihoods through sustainable solutions.

Sarah is a member of the Certificated Practicing Accountants (CPA) and the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD). Sarah brings more than 17 years of experience in financial management, accounting, management accounting, and consultancy at a senior level, across a broad range of industries. Prior to joining Good Cycles in 2021, Sarah was the Founding Director of a Successful Accounting Firm that she successfully sold in 2018. Sarah still serves as an Executive Director of Hazelvale Homes Pty Ltd a successful Construction Company. Sarah is passionate about enabling Good Cycles to grow through critically analysing and reporting relevant financial information to key stakeholders. By providing such, Sarah is able to facilitate Good Cycle’s ability to reach its goals through sustainable financial management. 

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Kirra Johnson

Kirra brings 16 years’ experience in for-purpose leadership; spanning senior operational, organisational development and governance roles in the mental health, homelessness, and family violence sectors. She has delivered a wide range of programs and projects that have enabled sustainable, inclusive and impactful organisations.

Kirra’s experience is complemented by formal qualifications that include Social Impact, Social Health and Health Policy, Project Management, and Social Work.

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Mark’s prep for the Hunt 1000

So, starting off, could you tell us a bit about how the Hunt 1000 compares or differs from other bikepacking rides you’ve done?

The Hunt will be by far the longest and toughest ride I have done. I’m allowing 12 days to complete it with a rest day or two included in that time.  Previously the longest backpacking trip I have done is four days. I am really excited about being able to switch off from life and work for two weeks and just have riding along as my only objective!

In addition to the overall distance the amount of climbing is huge, up around 30,000m usually, which is somewhat intimidating and a bit of an unknown. I’ll have to see how that goes – I like climbing normally so it should be okay, but wow it will be some slow going!

The most appealing difference to the other stuff I have done would be the remoteness of some of the sections, particularly the really remote wilderness sections and Jagungal wilderness in particular. I’m really stoked to be able to ride through those places.

Can you tell us a little bit about your prep for this event?

My primary strategy has shifted from get as fit as possible ahead of time to ride myself fit over the first 3-4 days – it’s a bold strategy and we will see how it plays out!!

My prep has been quite stop start and interrupted by life and work unfortunately. I have been trying to ride at least an hour most days, and for the past month 90% of all my riding has been on the bike I will take loaded up so I can habituate to the way it feels and moves and the strain on my joints and muscles.

I have put in some over-nighters with some big days of distance and elevation wherever I can while juggling other commitments, but it has been difficult.

Due to my lack of preparation I have modified my plans from 10 days to 12 days just to have some time up my sleeve. I figure I’m on holidays so I should take advantage of that and enjoy myself as much as possible.

The most appealing difference to the other stuff I have done would be the remoteness of some of the sections, particularly the really remote wilderness sections and Jagungal wilderness in particular. I’m really stoked to be able to ride through those places.

What are your go-to’s for food along the way? What will you pack with you to get you through?

Lucky for me I have always enjoyed bakery treats and takeaway food! My plan is to cram my food bag full when I can and see where I get too with that.  I plan to carry a number of dehydrated meals as back up, but will eat real food as much as possible.

I have a pretty serious caffeine situation, and I have found specialty instant coffee that I can tolerate and will be bringing a supply of that too!

Riding Highcountry

Have you made any changes to your bike set up for this particular event?

My setup has been pretty consistent for the past year or so. I ride a Kona Unit X which I absolutely love. It’s by far the most comfortable bike I have ever owned. Highlights include a Tumbleweed Persuader bar, a custom frame bag from Rockiest, and my absolute favourite – a cut down Wald 139 basket on a front rack that I got from Blue Lug – the shipping was a killer but man I love that thing! Not having to worry about cramming my tent and sleeping back into a tiny stuff sack is a dream and it allows me to pack the most important thing on a trip  – extra space!

The one change I made specifically for this event was to change my tyres. I usually run bigger 2.6 but went done to a more easily rolling and efficient 2.3 tyre. It doesn’t seem like a lot but it has actually made a significant difference to my rolling speed.

We wish Mark a safe, fun, and trouble-free event. Good luck, Mark!

To see the live tracking of the riders progress, click here

To read more about the event, head to the Hunt1000 website

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John Paul (JP)

John Paul is a Mechanic and the Manager of the Geelong Shop. He has travelled by bike and on foot through 34 countries in Asia, Africa, the Americas and Europe, and has covered over 20,000km of road, gravel and singletrack in Victoria. 

His current cycling hero is ultra endurance cyclist Lael Wilcox: “I really like her lifestyle as an adventurer and her ‘I just want to ride’ attitude”. 

As a Mechanic, John Paul is more than happy to fix bikes for customers, but as a rider he is keen to share his cycling routes and ride experiences for anyone that wants to explore the world by bike.