Lachlan's epic ride
Byron Bay has recently been visited by a determined young cyclist who won’t let something as small as a brain injury get in his way.
As an up-and-coming jockey in the last year of his apprenticeship, Lachlan Fyfe had everything going for him.
He had been riding winners in Sydney and Brisbane and all over Queensland and New South Wales.
Then, on December 15, 2008, while riding barrier trials, Lachlan’s horse fell.
The young jockey was badly injured and in a coma for 10 days, gaining consciousness on Christmas Day.
“I was having brain bleeds so had to stay in hospital for five months after waking up,” Lachlan said.
“I had to start from scratch and learn to walk and talk again.
“I was in a wheelchair for a while, then I went to a walking frame before I was walking by myself.”
Lachlan can no longer run as the right side of his body has lost co-ordination, strength and balance.
He has sustained permanent brain injury due to his fall, and his short-term memory is also permanently affected.
To keep fit and help in his rehabilitation while improving his co-ordination, Lachlan started cycling.
“I bought myself a bike and was pedalling all the time,” he said.
“Then I decided to cycle all the way from Rosehill racecourse in Sydney to Eagle Farm in Brisbane, stopping at different race courses along the way.”
Lachlan decided on his epic bike ride to help raise money for the National Jockeys Trust and the Central Coast Division for The Riding for the Disabled.
The NJT was established in 2004 by the Australian Jockey Association to help ill and injured jockeys financially. It doesn’t receive any government funding.
“I only get paid the basics by WorkCover, so the NJT stepped in when I was in financial trouble as I can’t work anymore,” Lachlan said.
“I have raced against six jockeys who can’t ride anymore.
“Four are paraplegics, one is a quadriplegic and another had a leg removed.
“People don’t realise how dangerous being a jockey is.”
So far Lachlan has raised $10,000 for both charities and is impressed with the support he has received.
“Since being here in Byron Bay, I’ve received a free massage from Byron Bay Holistic Massage Centre and it was good,” he laughed.
“Jayco Campervans are also sponsoring us and when we were in St Albans (near Wisemans Ferry, north of Sydney) we were given a free dinner.”
Lachlan plans to finish his epic journey this Saturday at Eagle Farm in Brisbane.
If you’d like to sponsor Lachlan on his ride, donations can be made at www.njt.org.au