PEDAL TO THE METAL: Emerald resident Ian Mallyon is cycling 1600 kilometres from Townsville to Brisbane to raise money for a skin cancer foundation.
PEDAL TO THE METAL: Emerald resident Ian Mallyon is cycling 1600 kilometres from Townsville to Brisbane to raise money for a skin cancer foundation. Taylor Battersby

Pedal power for cause

EMERALD resident Ian Mallyon is preparing to leave town at 6am next Friday with 49 other cyclists on an epic nine-day charity bike ride to raise money for the Smiling for Smiddy Foundation - a cause close to his heart.

Ian has already reached his $5000 fundraising goal for the 1600km ride which will take him from Townsville to the Mater Hospital in Brisbane, however, he's now aiming to continue to raise as much as he can for cancer research.

Ian's much-loved aunt, Ruth Ritchie, died from the disease and the father-of-two is keen to honour her as well as help the cause.

"I've done this before - I've done this ride before and I've done a charity ride from Emerald to Rockhampton where I was the only rider in aide of our local cancer unit in Rocky,” he said.

"I ride because I love it and this is what I enjoy doing to keep fit and active.

"My aunty who lived in Rockhampton passed away from melanoma in 2013 and she has been my inspiration.

"I know that she is always there with me and what we feel on the ride is nothing compared to what a cancer patient is going through.”

Ian said he has been training with some "big days in the saddle” for ultimate conditioning.

He has also been fundraising with a multi-raffle draw at Emerald's Big W complex and will be selling tickets until tomorrow (Saturday).

The Smiling for Smiddy Foundation and its many fundraising rides were set up in memory of Home Hill local 26-year-old Adam Smiddy - a talented tri- athlete and physiotherapist who died in 2006 from an aggressive melanoma.

Six weeks after he died, his close friend and triathlon coach, Mark "Sharky” Smoothy, and two other friends fulfilled one of Adam's unrealised dreams and rode 1600km from Brisbane to Home Hill and raised $24,000 for cancer research.

Ian - who started riding in his early 30s after a full knee construction in his 20s - said the local towns the riders stayed in and travelled through were hugely supportive, providing meals and accommodation.

He said the riders were escorted the whole way with a road and support crew.

"The biggest thing is being mentally fit as well as physically - you've got to constantly back up day after day for nine days straight.

"The southern part of Queensland is where you get your mountains and hills and you're developing some really good fatigue by then. You've really got to dig deep.”

Ian said riding for him was a "way of life”.

"It's a good anti-depressant and it keeps you fit and healthy. I can't explain how much I enjoy it - it's a part of my life.”

Ian's fundraising link is: http://www.fundraisefor

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