You may remember Mick Jackson’s friendly face from the Toowoomba Changing Lives, Changing Communities event in October 2018. Mick passionately spoke about his love of motorbike riding – the feeling of freedom from getting behind the handle bars and being on the open road. However, after suffering from a debilitating back injury, the ability to get on his bike was taken away.
“The physical injury is not the main part. The psychological affects and trauma are far more debilitating,” Mick says.
Through reasonable management and support, Mick was eventually able to ride again. However, as a person with lived experience, he wanted everyone to be able to experience the freedom of motorbike riding. Thus, the concept of Live to Ride Motorcycle Tours was born – a social enterprise specifically designed for people with disability to promote social wellbeing.
“It is about social wellbeing – the motorbike is just an engaging tool to get us there,” Mick explains.
“I went to Changing Lives, Changing Communities as one of the guest speakers and told people about sharing the thrill of the ride and promoting inclusion and accessibility.”
Shortly after attending the Changing Lives, Changing Communities event, Mick got a call from Channel 7. They wanted to share the Live to Ride Motorcycle Tours story.
“When I was informed at short notice by the Sunrise team they were coming, I wanted to make the event about our inclusive community, rather than just a story about our disability friendly motorcycle tour service,” he says.
“I contacted Council and started sending letters to all my friends from the Changing Lives, Changing Communities event, asking them to come along, to have some fun and show a united front for inclusion in Toowoomba.”
Between 4.30-7.30am on a Wednesday morning, between 250-300 people in the Toowoomba community showed their support, including many local support organisations and service providers, the Mayor and some Councillors.
On the day, Mick says there were several riders who turned up to take people with disability for circuit rides. There were also several bikes on display that people could sit on and get their photos taken with. Mick says it really was a community event.
“Toowoomba West Lions and Second Shot Coffee provided warm breakfast and beverages for those attending. We even had a group of hip-hop dancers from Oakey High School to entertain the crowd,” Mick says.
“Carers Queensland, Big Dog support services, Mountains of Hope Peer Support Network also came along to share the day.”
At the end of the program, Channel 7’s Sam Mack declared Mick a Suburban Superstar, presenting him with a prize cheque of $7000. The money was used to partially fund the purchase of our very first disability-friendly and wheelchair-accessible sidecar (pictured).
Mick is still working to fit the sidecar and start the service.
“Without the support of our friends from Changing Lives, Changing Communities, this event would not have been such a great success. It showcased the proactive view of inclusion and accessibility of the Toowoomba community,” Mick says.
Mick would like to personally thank all the people who participated and made the event such a success.
We are coming back to Toowoomba on 3 and 4 September for the second round of Changing Lives, Changing Communities. Absolutely everyone is invited to this free two-day event, held at the Toowoomba City Golf Club. You are invited to come along to work with your neighbours, like Mick, and colleagues to make your community the best it can be! Register here.
If you would like more information about Mick’s social enterprise, please visit the Live to Ride Motorcycle Tours website.