Friendships for life forged on the RSL Remembrance Ride

A message from the Returned & Services League of Australia

RSL Remembrance Ride 2023

In May 2023, a group of committed veteran cyclists successfully completed the RSL Remem­brance Ride, a 457 km ride of the Central West Cycle Trail in NSW.

Each day, the group rode for around four hours, and by night, they camped in towns along the trail. At each destination, they held a commemorative service at a local memorial, cenotaph or RSL. These services highlighted the importance of remembering those who went before us and the imperative of supporting returning service per­sonnel struggling with post-operational physical and mental trauma.

The annual RSL Remembrance Ride began in 2022 to provide an opportunity for veterans to challenge themselves in a mentally supportive environment, connect with other veterans and the veteran communities in the towns along the route, and raise funds for the upkeep of war memorials.

‘The RSL Remembrance Ride has been an outstanding opportunity to cycle with fellow vet­erans from all services, said former Navy Chief Petty Officer Dave Cunningham. ‘There was a camaraderie forged as we rode through an amaz­ing variety of tracks and landscapes that left an indelible impression on the riders. An unex­pected bonus has been the opportunity to learn the history of different towns from the locals. This ride has been the experience of a lifetime.’

Former Army Major Shane Douglas saw a post on the RSL Australia Facebook page promoting the event. He hadn’t ridden a bicycle since suf­fering a nasty crash in 2017. He was hesitant as he has been dealing with physical and mental health issues after being medically discharged from the Army, but his wife encouraged him to give it a go.

‘I’m so glad I took her advice,’ Shane said. ‘The ride was fantastic! It’s given me that extra motiva­tion to continue on this fitness pathway. Thanks to a special bunch of people who made this tour so memorable. Thanks again for allowing me to participate, and I look forward to the next RSL cycle tour, where hopefully I’ll be a lean, mean cycling machine!’

Planning is underway for the next RSL Remem­brance Ride in early 2024. The RSL Remembrance Ride is part of the RSL Active program, which supports sports and wellbeing events and activ­ities for veterans.

To learn more, visit RSL Australia.