Twenty years of Hell on Wheels

MOVING ON: Tony Keogh finishes up his last Hell on Wheels after 20 years of riding adventures.
MOVING ON: Tony Keogh finishes up his last Hell on Wheels after 20 years of riding adventures. Caitlan Charles

IT'S time for Tony Keogh to slow down, which seems a strange sentiment for someone who has been organising the Hurford Hardwood Hell on Wheels for the past two decades.

Just days ago the Clarenza resident was riding into Lismore to complete the final Hell on Wheels tour, ready to take a step back from the road and instead cause Hell on Water, his other fundraising event

"This experience has been amazing," Mr Keogh said.

"Some of my best friends are cyclists. We've got relationships going back 20 years and more, all with the same community-minded people who are prepared to suffer for the greater cause."

Each year, Mr Keogh has jumped on a bike and ridden for about 10 days around NSW to raise money for the Westpac Helicopter.

But much has changed since he started the bike trip in his 30s.

"It's just a time commitment," Mr Keogh said.

"The week I spend away on the ride isn't even half the time that I have to put into organising the ride. It's time to do other things, like Hell on Water.

"The logistics of organising that, I don't have to go and find a track. I know where the Clarence River is."

He'll also aim to spend more time with his children and grandchildren. Having taken up a large part of Mr Keogh's life, he's not sure how he feels about leaving the Hurford Hardwood Hell on Wheels behind.

"I've known that this was going to be my last ride for 12 months or more, but it's not the end of Hell on Wheels (completely)," Mr Keogh said.

For the foreseeable future, there will be a Hell on Wheels reunion at the Woodenbong Hotel on the October long weekend each year.

Mr Keogh said he would most like to thank his wife and family for their support over the years and also everyone else who has helped support the Hurford Hardwood Hell on Wheels over the years, including the staff from the Westpac Helicopter.

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