Mower man ends charity trek

Craig Alford rode his Hustler Super Z lawnmower back into Minnawarra Park in Armadale via Parliament House and Elizabeth Quay on Wednesday July 13, completing his lap of Australia.
Camera IconCraig Alford rode his Hustler Super Z lawnmower back into Minnawarra Park in Armadale via Parliament House and Elizabeth Quay on Wednesday July 13, completing his lap of Australia. Credit: Michael van der Zanden

On July 13, lawnmower shop owner Craig Alford rode a big yellow lawnmower into Elizabeth Quay in Perth, completing the final leg of his lap of Australia.

Mr Alford, co-owner of Armadale Mower World, began the Ride to the Other Side Challenge in 2012, completing a 14,559km circumnavigation of Australia on a Hustler Super Z lawnmower to raise money for Alzheimer’s Australia WA, the Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia and Australian Rotary Health.

Inspired by a similar event in the US, Mr Alford has spent the past few years riding his mower across Australia, including travelling from Perth to Kalgoorlie in 2012, Kalgoorlie to Adelaide in 2013, Adelaide to Sydney in 2014 and Sydney to Darwin last year.

“I thought it was a great way to see Australia but also to raise the profile of a lot of needy charities, in particular around mental health, and I just really wanted to make a difference,” he said.

He completed a different leg each year, travelling in temperatures up to 49.5C. The fifth and final 4059km stretch started in Katherine in the Northern Territory on June 19, with the mower reaching speeds of just under 40km/h.

He even managed to mow some lawns. “As soon as we hit the WA border, I was mowing grass. Even got told off by a couple of the council workers for making their job look inadequate,” he joked.

He’s already missing life on the road. “If I didn’t have to work, I’d be riding around on a lawnmower permanently,” he said. “To date we’ve now raised just over $350,000 in donations. None of that goes into fuel or anything, that’s all self and sponsor-funded, so it’ll all go towards the charities.

“It’s been a long journey, but something really worth the effort for the amount of awareness and donations we’ve made for these charities. Along the way we’ve pulled into many of the regional towns where they have just been so welcoming. We’ve had people drive past and they’ve turned around just to pass over a donation.”

Donate at ridetotheotherside.org.au.

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