Classic rider is ready

Head-first: Peter McErvale is riding in FECRI's Cycle Classic on Sunday in his latest fundraising effort for the institute. PICTURE: Kate Healy
Head-first: Peter McErvale is riding in FECRI's Cycle Classic on Sunday in his latest fundraising effort for the institute. PICTURE: Kate Healy

Peter McErvale knows all the ins and outs of the Cycle Classic. 

The 59-year-old had non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 1995 and was treated by Dr Rodney Bond and Fiona Elsey Cancer Research Institute director of research George Kannourakis. 

“They were the ones that were responsible for a very good recovery, as you can see,” he said.  

“Sixty years old in four or five weeks and I’m fit as a trout.” 

Mr McErvale rides every weekday with an exclusive cycling crew, the Ballarat Battlers Bike Club (est. 2008). 

“We have two members,” he said, laughing. 

“We’re looking for new members but we’re selective in who we take on.” 

Mr McErvale will do the 60km road ride at the Cycle Classic on Sunday with his riding partner Paul James. 

He has a long history of playing sport and said it was one reason he was still around. 

“I was already a bike rider when I was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in ‘95, and luckily I made a good recovery and I’ve stayed on the bike ever since,” he said. 

“(I had) six months of chemo, lost my hair, had a wig, all that sort of stuff. (But) I was very lucky. And I tell you what I put it down to, I was always a runner, a footballer, played tennis, all that.

“I wasn’t feeling well and I knew it, and I went and did something about it. My body was telling me I wasn’t well.” 

This is not Mr McErvale’s first fundraising effort for Fiona’s institute. 

“I know Gail Elsey very well,” he said, and outlined a big spend at one of the charity auctions. 

“I bought 30 tickets to the cinema there, took 30 people to gold class,” he said. 

Mr McErvale said the institute did a fantastic job. 

“It’s such a wonderful cause. What a positive thing that’s been made out of a young girl’s tragically cut-short life,” he said. 

“You’ve really got to compliment the Elsey family and the institute and George and everyone who’s been involved, because it’s doing some really great work for a disease that affects so many.” 

Entries are still open for the Ballarat Cycle Classic at ballaratcycleclassic.com.au. Events on Sunday, February 21 include road and mountain rides of different lengths, a Lake Wendouree bike relay and walk, as well as a 24-hour team velodrome ride beginning Friday night at 7pm for the cyclists who want a challenge.