An organised ride like United Energy Around the Bay can act as a powerful motivator at any point of a health journey, but at one cardiac health clinic in Melbourne it is serving as a vital pathway on the road to recovery.
Jonathan, Cardiac Rehabilitation and Heart Failure Coordinator at Peninsula Private Hospital in Langwarrin, first took part in Around the Bay in 2013.
The event was a key marker in Jonathan's progression from a BMX rider in his youth, to a commuter in his university days and a road cyclist in middle age.
In his work at the clinic, Jonathan would come across cardiac patients who were apprehensive about getting back on their bikes after heart events, but knew from his own experience the role that two wheels can play in physical and emotional health.
That's when the idea of the Peninsula Private Hospital Cycling Team was born.
The group took part in its first Around the Bay in 2016, overcoming ferocious headwinds on the return leg from Frankston to complete the ride as a happy team of patients, support staff, nurses and paramedics.
The contingent quickly grew from eight to more than 20 by 2019 as Jonathan continued espousing the benefits of bike riding.
"I often use this as a motivator for patients recovering from heart attacks or open heart surgery, he says. "If they are a cyclist I tell them they will be joining me for the next Around the Bay and this often gives them the extra incentive to get back on the bike."
After completing the 2022 ride with a strong team Jonathan again completed the 100km Around the Bay in 2023, as part of a team of 15 that he assures us is not the fastest group, but may well be the most expensive.
"With approximately 12 cardiac stents, five bypass grafts and two defibrillators, our team hosts some pretty expensive hardware, and this is not including the costs of the bikes," he says.
There was a small mechanical and a minor collision at a set of lights heading out of town, but largely the day went off without a hitch and the group returned to Albert Park happy, fulfilled and ready to do it all again.
"It was a fantastic day, the weather was perfect and there was a really good atmosphere," says Jonathan. "For sure we'll be doing it again next year. There were a couple of our riders that were away this year and have already said they're definitely in for the next one."
Thinking of taking part in United Energy Around the Bay 2024 yourself? Our super early-bird pre-sale is open until midnight Sunday 22 October. More information here.
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