Professional cyclist Morgan Pilley (left) leads the peloton alongside Dion Wilkes during the fourth annual 24 hour ride for youth at Junction Hill.
Professional cyclist Morgan Pilley (left) leads the peloton alongside Dion Wilkes during the fourth annual 24 hour ride for youth at Junction Hill. Matthew Elkerton

Pilley's Ride For Youth a permanent mental health reminder

MORGAN Pilley admitted after almost 24 hours in the bike saddle his mind was just about turned to mush at the Clarence Valley Ride For Youth on Sunday.

But this editor-cum-doctor can certainly prescribe to mere humans a much shorter ride as good tonic for a clear, healthy mind.

Physical exercise such as cycling is one of the proven best ways to maintain positive mental health, and nothing gets the brain pumping better than trying to churn out a few laps in the peloton.

Truth be told, the professional endurance mountain biker set a higher cadence for all of his 800 laps of the Junction Hill criterium track than I could muster for just three. But it was enough to know that this is a great community event and fellow organisers Skye Sear and Michael Powell must be applauded for their efforts.

There was talk that the Ride For Youth is not officially an 'annual' event yet. But after the successful fourth edition, Pilley himself put paid to any doubt.

"Each year we can't really lock in a set date too early because it usually depends when my season ends (in Europe)," Pilley said.

"But I think it's pretty safe to say it is an annual event. I'll specifically come back for the event every year.

"We have so many volunteers and people supporting it. Myself, Skye and Mick are the three organisers, but everyone helps run the event. We get so much help.

"Now we've built it up to what it is, I hope it just continues forever."

"The weekend a really good success. A great variety of people from the community, and not just cyclists, came out to ride, and about half the numbers were kids, which is what we want.

"Personally I felt pretty good, just my voice box got worn out a bit from yapping away for 24 hours. Talking helps the time go past."

Pilley wasn't the only ride to grind the pedals for the full 24 hours.

Yamba's Stuart Boxhill also maxed out the clock, covering a total of 600km - just 41km less than Pilley.