LEADING cyclists through villages untouched by tourism, Trentham’s Emily Williamson could show Cambodia in its rawest form.
The inaugural charity fundraising ride early this year stemmed from an idea she adapted from her experience in Thailand.
Now, Ms Williamson can hardly wait to get more people on their bikes for the unique experience.
The eight-day journey she mapped, starts in southern Cambodia’s beach province Sihanoukville, taking in off-road and village riding, travel alongside the Mekong River to Siem Reap where cyclists ride through UNESCO world heritage site Angkor Wat, the world’s largest religious monument.
The ride finishes right where the ride makes its difference, in the Feeding Dreams Cambodia school in Siem Reap where Ms Williamson works.
Ms Williamson said it was a special experience for riders to be greeted by the children they have supported along their journey.
“All riders worked so hard on their fundraising and each reached their targets. It was a life-changing experience for all involved, and the funds raised by the group has sustained our programs well into 2018,” Ms Williamson said.
Feeding Dreams Cambodia provides free education to more than 800 impoverished students from Siem Reap. The school serves 600 nutritious daily meals to children, provide vocational training for 60 youth, promotes female empowerment and provides community support and sports programs for teenagers.
Ms Williamson estimates about 20 cyclists help with the training centre’s running costs for one year. Riders pay for their flights and tour costs and are then asked to raise $AU6,500 for the charity.
They ride with a tour company, but the 650-kilometre course is one Ms Williamson initially mapped out with her dad.
Ms Williamson’s parents Paul and Jenny Williamson own the Trentham pub and this is where she calls home when back in Australia.
The 2019 ride will take off on January 27. For more details on the ride or cause, visit feedingdreamsbikeride.org.