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We caught up with Clinton Hill on the Mental Wheels Foundation Tour, a Rhino-Rack sponsored event 

24 Apr 2022

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Mental Wheels Foundation Limited is a not-for-profit registered charity focused on changing lives by improving mental health in Australia. As proud sponsors of the charity, we caught up with Co-Founder and former Olympic Track and Field silver medallist, Clinton Hill, to hear more about the charity’s endeavours and their most recent fundraising event, the Mental Wheels Tour.

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What are the Mental Wheels Foundation’s goals? 

Our vision: To change lives by improving mental health in Australia.

Our mission: To understand why and how to improve mental health through research; to support the community through accessible clinical programs and mental health workshops; to assist individuals with foundation scholarships.

Our actions: To fund clinical trials and research that deliver results; promote accessible treatment through MindSpot; deliver scholarship programs to support our youth in sport and music.

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When did the foundation begin and what drove you to start it?

Gareth Pike and I Co-Founded the Mental Wheels Foundation in 2019, having experienced very similar journeys post careers (myself as an Olympic Medallist and Garaeth as former CEO for Gloria Jeans Coffees). The mental health issues we faced during that process were remarkably aligned and coming together, we released it wasn’t just us dealing with these pressures. So many others face the same issues and we knew something had to be done; real actions needed to be taken. From that moment, the wheels started to turn and the Mental Wheels Foundation began.

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The Mental Wheels Tour just passed. Could you tell us about this event?

The Mental Wheels Tour is a challenging, yet rewarding road bike ride that brings people together to improve mental well-being. This is achieved in two ways: by raising funds to support the Foundation’s initiatives and by taking part in the ride itself.

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What was the route this year?

Over three days (four nights) the Tour covered more than 350 kilometres. Starting in Jindabyne, we climbed up to the highest resort in Australia – Charlotte Pass – before heading to our first overnight stop at Thredbo. On the second day, we left the mountains and headed towards the coast to stay overnight at a small, sleepy town called Bombala. On our final day, we meandered down to sea level towards the finish line in Merimbula. This year we challenged the mountains and tamed the seas! It was a thoroughly enjoyable three days of riding and teamwork!.

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How did Rhino-Rack support the event and what does this sponsorship support mean to you? 

While we wouldn't be able to complete these events without our support staff and participants, our sponsors are equally vital to ensuring the long-term success of this event and the Foundation in general.

We have been proud to have Rhino-Rack as one of our sponsors since 2020. The synergy between both organisations is a match made in heaven. Rhino-Rack provides critical bike transport solutions with arguably the best quality, functionality and customisations to suit our requirements.

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What gear was used during the event?

We have two Ford Rangers set up with crossbars on both the roof and over the tray-back allowing us to comfortably fit eight Hybrid Bike Carriers on each vehicle. In addition to this, we have a custom trailer with an additional eight Hybrid Bike Carriers. In total, we can safely transport 24 bikes on two vehicles. This enables us to quickly load and unload bikes, with just one key locking them all in place and a securing arm only touching the tyre and not the delicate frames. It’s a safe, reliable and professional solution. Let’s not forget these road bikes are not cheap. Our fully loaded Ranger and trailer can carry over $200,000 in bike value!

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How much money have you raised so far?

Given the challenges we have all faced over the past few years, it was a long time coming for our 2021 Tour. With all these uncertain times, we managed to exceed our fundraising target of $80,000 and finished up on $85,299!! A remarkable effort by everyone.

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What’s next for the Mental Wheels Foundation?

From an activities point of view, we will continue to raise funds throughout the year from Corporate Golf Days, community events and our first ‘Full’ (without the effects of Covid) three-day Queensland Cycling Tour in August with our Rhino-Rack partnership in full view with our Rangers and trailers! It’s a busy year ahead but with the increased need for mental health support, there’s never been a more important time for us to make a difference. From an initiatives standpoint, we continue to support mental health research through our partner at MQ Health and their online mental health support program, MindSpot. We will also continue to deliver mental health workshops to corporates, sporting clubs and schools.

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