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Taking fundraising to new heights

Posted: 8am 13 Sep 2021

Joel Dulhunty is hoping to raise more than eyebrows as he cycles 500km in the lead-up to Redcliffe Hospital Giving Day on his penny farthing.

The Redcliffe Hospital Director of Research and Medical Education has completed about 170km of his ambitious fundraising marathon ahead of Giving Day on October 13.

“By the time Redcliffe Hospital Giving Day arrives, I will have ridden 50 times around Redcliffe Hospital and five times across the Ted Smout Memorial Bridge,” Dr Dulhunty says.

The inaugural fundraising day is a 24-hour appeal being held in partnership with Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital (RBWH) Foundation, to raise money for hospital-led health research, patient care programs, health education, innovative equipment and other initiatives.

Dr Dulhunty’s goal is to raise $50,000 for a senior researcher position, in addition to more than $10,000 raised earlier this year during his 2500km Big Ride for Research from Cairns to Brisbane.

The experienced researcher would be based at Redcliffe Hospital for three years to lead, conduct and support world-class research.

“Research and bike riding are two of my passions – ‘research’ because it gives us a blueprint to deliver the best in healthcare; and ‘riding’ for fun, fitness and adventure,” Dr Dulhunty says.

He has been riding penny farthings for about three years and has owned his present ride for two years.

“It’s a lot of fun. I think of it as a combination of a sports car and a big truck. It’s pretty fast, when it gets going,” he says.

Attention-grabbing ride

The reaction from people he sees along the way is probably the most fun.

“It brings a lot of people a lot of surprise and joy, from kids saying ‘look at that dad’ to elderly people who may have a connection to penny farthings,” Dr Dulhunty says.

“It’s not uncommon for people to say, ‘my dad used to ride those’ or something like that. It cuts across the generations and brings a smile to people’s faces.”

He started clocking up kilometres about two weeks ago and even rode up the Gateway Bridge and across the Story Bridge one weekend.

“Bikes coming the other way did a double-take,” Dr Dulhunty says.

Riding a penny farthing is plenty of fun, but requires concentration, extraordinary balance and muscle memory, so the rider knows where to step back when stopping the contraption with their foot on the small wheel.

The average speed is 20km/hr.

Dr Dulhunty has had two crashes – one when he was learning and was propelled over the handlebars and another when he took one of his hands off the handlebars while riding down a hill.

To support his ride and Redcliffe Giving Day, head to the Raise it for Redcliffe Hospital Facebook page.

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