About Soft Cogs
WHO ARE WE?
The Soft Cogs Incorporated is a team of riders who share their love of riding bikes (road, mountain, triathlon, recumbent, tandem… you name it!). We predominantly come from the Hunter Valley however have riders who live in Sydney, Qld and beyond. We choose to band together and put our fundraising efforts into the MS Sydney to Wollongong bike ride (MS Gong Ride) every November.
Everyone is welcome to ride with us, our objectives are:
1. Spread the word of riding and healthy lifestyles to our networks
2. Promote a safe, fun, responsible and sustainable riding atmosphere
3. Raise funds for local charities
As you can see, it’s about more than just fundraising. We’re all about our network and their families.
WHAT DO WE DO?
We campaign one fundraising event, the MS Gong Ride event, held in November each year. We obtain sponsors and symbolise the team (whilst recognising the sponsors) in a new jersey each year. The ride is an excellent ride, iconic for many bike riders, established in 1981. After the ride, the Soft Cogs have a marquee at the finish site and catering and refreshments are provided, historically free of charge. Not bad!
We often support our fundraising efforts through fundraising events during the year, such as trivia nights, dinner/dances, or our biggest event ever, the 2012 Soft Cogs Ball.
Each year we average 110 riders in our team and collectively raise $100,000.
WHERE DO WE COME FROM?
The Soft Cogs began as an idea bantered around a few beers in a Hunter Valley pub. A clear observation was made at a local organised ride that there were no teams representing the mining industry, yet so many of us rode bikes.
That was in 2005. Our first team was formed by only 19 members, mainly all working for Roche Mining (now Downer EDI Mining). Roche generously supported the initiative. Surprised at how much we fundraised, we continued the initiative with Downer continually getting behind the team. Team numbers grew, 38, 112 and so on. And so did our fundraising, $11k, $33k then $152k!
Ever since then we’ve continued to be one of MS Australia’s highest fundraising teams being in the top 5 teams for the last 6 years.
The Soft Cogs grew so big it became incorporated in 2012 to handle the workload and to create transparency in the management of the team’s business, particularly for legal compliance. Also, to shed the workload that one poor captain was carrying – on top of his normal day job!
WHY DO WE DO IT?
Our 3 objectives are driven by 3 concerning observations.
Spread the word of riding and healthy lifestyles to our networks
Countless studies have demonstrated the increasing trend of obesity and lifestyle related illnesses. This not only impacts individuals and families, it comes at a great burden on the economy. The biggest shame about this is that most of these illnesses and disease are preventable.
The Soft Cogs want to use our infectious nature to demonstrate just how easy and enjoyable it is to get outside and be active. Riding bikes brings back the simple childhood pleasures that brings a smile to your face as it did many (or not so many) years ago.
Promote a safe, fun, responsible and sustainable riding atmosphere
You hear it all the time, Cars vs Bikes, a perpetual argument that will last as long as both machines exist. One thing we can control is understanding correct riding etiquette and bike skills necessary to stay safe. The Soft Cogs don’t have a serious, racing focus. Rather, a focus on the social and enjoyable aspects to riding. So it’s great for new riders to start riding with the Soft Cogs to gain these fundamental skills and build confidence. After all, you won’t keep doing it if you don’t enjoy it.
Raise funds for Charitable Causes
One thing we have learned riding the MS Gong Ride over a decade is the reason we do it. Multiple Sclerosis has no cure, yet so many Australians have to endure a lifestyle with increased hardship and no reprieve. Worse still, the age of diagnosis is very young, 30 years (on average).
We have met people suffering from MS and heard directly of their stories and individual battles with the disease. But we also see the shift in their tone when they see what we do to help improve various aspects of their lives.
There are so many other causes out there and we aim to spread our wings and help as many people as we can!
WHAT DOES IT COST?
Soft Cogs Incorporation membership is only $30 per year, cheaper if you sign up for longer.
Cost of entry into other organised events (such as the MS Gong Ride) is up to each rider though we may be able to negotiate ‘mates rates’ with the organisers.