DALE Wright wants to be a modern day warrior.
The mastermind behind Tour da Country, an indigenous cycling event, arrived in Narooma on Wednesday with 10 other riders bringing their message of better health for Aboriginal people.
The riders stopped in at the Katungal health clinic in Narooma for some healthy snacks before riding down to the Wallaga Lake Koori village where they continued to spread their message having a healthy barbecue and impressing the kids with their fancy, high-tech bikes.
Dale and his mates are riding to close the gap between the health of Australia’s first people and all other Australians.
With a 10-year gap in life expectancy and Indigenous Australians almost three times as likely to experience a lifestyle disease, Dale says there is lots of work to do.
The tour left Wollongong last Sunday and is travelling down the south coast through Moruya and Bega before heading over the Snowy Mountains to Cooma and Tumut, south to Wagga Wagga and finishing in Albury next week.
While in Moruya on Wednesday they visited tour sponsor Southern NSW Medicare Local.
CEO Kathryn Stonestreet congratulated the riders and thanked them for travelling through the region to raise awareness about Aboriginal health issues.
“Our Aboriginal health team are very important to us and we have great partnerships with local organisations such as Katungal and Campbell Page and the LHD,” she said.
“We’re all working to the same end and that is to improve the health of our Aboriginal communities.”
Dale, who is an Aboriginal health worker in the Illawarra, told the crowd that his family inspired him to change his ways.
“I realised when I had kids that it wasn’t just about me anymore, it’s about how my kids see me. I want to be a role model for my kids and my people,” he said.
“My doctor told me five years ago I’d have a heart condition by the time I was 40 if I didn’t change my ways. So I decided to change my life and spread the word of health, about not dying at 60. The journey to health starts with one step,” he said.
Sadly, Dale’s father and Batemans Bay local Richard Wright passed away two weeks ago and Dale is completing the ride in his honour.
The success of Tour da Country relies on sponsorships and goodwill and the hard work of the riding team, who organise all the logistics themselves with a small support crew - everything from accommodation to publicity to police permission.
Two of SNSWML’s Aboriginal health workers and friends of Dale, Joe Brierley and Shane Chatfield, joined the ride from Batemans Bay to Moruya on Wednesday.
Tour da Country continues to Bermagui and Bega for the weekend.