Soft-Cogs are about having fun, keeping fit and healthy and supporting people who have Multiple Sclerosis. The group is in the process of raising its funds for the upcoming Sydney to Gong 90km ride and one of the events coming up is the Palaris Fundraising Ball on the grounds of the Baroona Homestead on August 25.
Declan Martin spoke to group founder Kim Nguyen about the group and why it is such a success.
BICYCLE riding group Soft-Cogs was created for friendship and to support a worthwhile cause but the popularity and power of the group has exceeded all of founder Kim Nguyen’s expectations.
Mr Nguyen started the group in 2006 with 19 mates from the mining industry to race in the Multiple Sclerosis (MS) fundraiser called ‘The Sydney to Gong’, a 90km push bike ride from Sydney to Wollongong.
From there membership kept on growing in numbers, reputation and fundraising ability.
The group has raised $575,000 since it began its crusade.
“I picked out the iconic Gong ride which supports Multiple Sclerosis because I knew people with MS but also because it was relevant to our riders who fall into the age group most commonly affected by the disease and there’s no cure,” Mr Nguyen said.
Mr Nguyen said the Soft-Cogs themselves are very light hearted and fun loving in nature and they mix this in with the seriousness of the disease.
“By making the whole experience fun, people not only come back, they bring others along too and the winner out of all of this is the 24,000 Aussies suffering from Multiple Sclerosis.”
This effort to make it a physical and fun experience has also helped many people in Soft-Cogs to pick up a healthy lifestyle and Mr Nguyen’s role in this was recognised by Singleton Sports Council when he received a contribution to sport award at the presentation in March this year.
Helping the Soft-Cogs to get across the line every year is the competitiveness of the fundraising and the personal feeling of accomplishment when they finish that 90km journey.
Mr Nguyen says Soft-Cogs represent the Hunter Valley mining industry and each year they get a challenge to see who can raise the most money from the other industries including the banking industry.
Except for its first year, Soft-Cogs has been among the top five fund raising race teams in the Sydney To Gong race and they are not about to back away from that position any time soon.
This year the Soft- Cogs are aiming to reach a target of $150 000 which will be made largely by each members individual efforts.
“We appreciate all the help we get from our sponsors which is about 25 per cent of the donation money but the majority of the money comes from ‘mum and dad style donations,’ from mates and people in the community,” Mr Nguyen said.
The Soft-Cogs now boast 250 active and passive members mostly from the Hunter Valley mining industry but also from as far afield as Queensland and Western Australia.
The group is always looking for new members and welcomes anyone to take part in their team for the 2012 Sydney to Gong November 4 journey.
Off the asphalt the group has become incorporated and is planning to raise money outside the Gong ride with its inaugural Palaris Fundraising Ball on the grounds of the Baroona Homestead on August 25.
Organising the ball hasn’t been an easy task for Mr Nguyen and vice president Bernice Campbell but it’s sure to be a social occasion not to miss.
Henri’s will be catering and the guest speaker will be Margie Cummins, this year’s Biggest Loser winner.
There are high stake auctions on the night including a Cadel Evans signed Soft-Cog cycling jersey and an opportunity to train with Orica Green Edge who sponsor Australian riders at the Tour de France.
Once again all the profits go to helping people with MS and its research through MS Australia.
Tickets are still available and if you’re interested in purchasing them you can contact Mr Nguyen on firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Soft-Cog’s website www.soft-cogs.com