So, the Do It In A Dress campaign is done and dusted for 2019, the dresses hung up in the wardrobe, the bike cleaned and converted back to normal ‘Ballarat commute mode’, and the last of the donations has trickled in. And all I can say at the end of it all is WOW! What a wild ride…
When I first set out in February, planning and working out the feasibility of the whole enterprise, I had no idea how much it would come to mean to me personally. Although I originally picked the time of year based on the likely weather conditions coupled with my university commitments, it ended up being a very auspicious choice for my mental health as well. My family and I suffered through a particularly harrowing mental health crisis in late September of 2018, and it was so humbling, rewarding and personally inspiring, to this year be doing something strong, something beneficial for other people, and it meant the world to me.
When that drive and inspiration was subsequently backed up by all my friends, family and perhaps most importantly, total strangers on the street, all giving what they could to support me, this whole campaign became something more than simply riding a bike in a dress for some girls: at the moment — it’s only been a month since I finished the ride — this thing has the potential to become a watershed moment in my life. And I mean that. That’s exactly how much everybody’s support meant to me.
I have so many people to thank for helping me out: Danielle and Anneliese, my mate Darren, and the rest of the Ballarista crew, the boys at Cyclescape, Holly, Chris, Tim and the Irish Murphy gang, the team at One Girl who all got behind me in a pretty awesome way; and I met some awesome new friends along the way, such as the fun locals at the Bordertown Hotel, the Coonalpyn Hotel, Jim and his family from Dimboola Caravan Park, Andrew Gordon in the Adelaide Hills, Damian from Horsham Cyclery, the list goes on… You’ve all helped me on a wonderful adventure and I love you all for it. I’m in the process of putting together a little ‘thank you’ to everybody and hope to get these out to those I can, as quickly as I can.
I’ve had a lot of time on my hands to think, both on the ride itself and in the month hence, and I keep thinking of what Andy Dufresne said to Ellis ‘Red’ Redding in the film The Shawshank Redemption: “I guess it comes down to a simple choice, really: get busy living, or get busy dying”. And as Red replies later in the film, “He’s goddamn right.”