Wellington Point man John Smallwood cycles 1500 kilometres for cancer

THOUSANDS of riders took part in a cycle race for children with cancer last month but for Wellington Point man John Smallwood, the ride struck a personal note.

CYCLE FOR A CAUSE: Great Cycle Challenge teammates Jan Leach, Tim Daley and John Smallwood. Teammates not pictured are Rain Jenkinson, Lin Green and Kellie Wilmshurst.

CYCLE FOR A CAUSE: Great Cycle Challenge teammates Jan Leach, Tim Daley and John Smallwood. Teammates not pictured are Rain Jenkinson, Lin Green and Kellie Wilmshurst.

This year was Mr Smallwood’s third year of riding in the Great Cycle Challenge.

“I entered the first year out of frustration that I needed to do something,’’ Mr Smallwood said. 

That year he had found out his three-year-old grand-daughter Tiggy, who lives in the UK, had been diagnosed with leukaemia.

“She’s doing really well now,’’ Mr Smallwood said.

“But that fact that she’s doing so well, that’s what inspires me to keep going and doing the Challenge.’’

This year, Mr Smallwood raised more than $5200, earning him sixth place in the state on the Great Cycle Challenge fundraising leaderboard. 

He also cycled more than 1500 kilometres during the month.

The Great Cycle Challenge started five years ago and raises money for research into childhood cancer at Children’s Medical Research Institute.

Since then, it has become one of Australia’s biggest cycling events, with people riding throughout October and gaining sponsorships. 

Mr Smallwood said he only took up riding at the age of 63 as a bet and loved it.

He even managed to inspire his team mates at Wynnum Redlands Cycling Club to join him in the Great Cycling Challenge.

“Some work mates were doing a ride, and someone suggested I join then and another said, ‘he’s too old’,’’ he said.

“I’ve been riding ever since. I just love it, and now we have six people in our Great Cycle Challenge team.

“It’s great to have that support.’’