Riding to raise funds – and a sweat

Adrian Matthews is usually working at Viva Energy's Geelong refinery when he wears his fire-retardent protective clothing, but this weekend he will be wearing it while riding United Energy Around the Bay.

He will be tackling the the 210km kilometre ride in his complete work kit including steel cap boots, safety helmet and 19kg single-speed steel bike to help raise funds for charity partner The Smith Family.

After doing the same thing in 2018 when he rode 135km, Adrian thought it would be "fun" to have a crack at the traditional 210km ride. He obviously made this decision before this weekend's weather forecast of 25 degrees.

The real reason, however, is to help children with their education.

"Why would I do that to myself? It’s to help families that have fallen on hard times and need a hand to get back up," says Adrian.

And he is gathering support, with people donating more than $6,500 to his personal United Energy Around the Bay fundraising page. This has already trumped Adrian's 2018 fundraising total of $4,400 and his goal of $5,000.

Adrian will be riding with the Viva Energy team of almost 30 riders who in total have raised almost $12,000.

The Viva Energy Australia team with Adrian Matthews at the front. Photo: Louisa Jones

With only a few days to go until the ride, Adrian will be hoping his training regime has paid off. 

To simulate riding his chunky work bike in notorious Around the Bay conditions he has been training on a modified mountain bike with reduced tyre pressure, disabled gears and semi-engaged brakes.

Trips up Mount Pleasant and Barabool roads in Belmont have helped him prepare for the West Gate Bridge.

While the event is this weekend, donations can still be made to Adrian, Viva Energy Australia's team and all other riders.

Donations to the The Smith Family help children in need with their eduaction to help break the cycle of disadvantage.

Donations of any amount are warmly accepted, while you can also donate a specific amounts – a $36 donation will buy a child a book pack to help improve their reading skills.

If you'd like to ride and encourage people to donate it is not too late to enter – entries to all ride distances are still open and children under 15 can ride for free. Enter now at

All photos by Louisa Jones Photography

Donate to the smith family Enter United energy Around the Bay