At just 14 years of age, young carer Alex borrowed a road bike from a family friend. As he mounted the bike for the first time, he experienced the freedom and fluidity of surging along the road as fast as his legs would take him and he was hooked.
For Alex, this was the beginning of a journey that would take him to many unexpected places. It would also teach him lifelong skills of resilience and give him the fortitude he needs as he supports and cares for his Mum who is living with a chronic illness of the lungs.
Alex is now 16, and in just two years has made significant progress in his cycling journey. In 2020 he was the youngest participant to ride the MACA Cancer Ride. With the support of the Young Carer team at Carers WA, he also recently rode in the Tour of Margaret River as the youngest rider out of more than 1,000 participants.
He says that what he loves about the sport is the feeling of it just being him and the road. When training in the early mornings he can clear his mind and push himself to the limit.
It’s not without its challenges. Getting out of bed some days and finding the energy and mental strength to continue can be tough. With school and home responsibilities to take care of, it takes tremendous perseverance and courage to keep up with training. But each time Alex struggles and overcomes the urge to give up, it shows that he is capable of more than he thought he was.
Alex hopes to continue riding and improving his strength and technique in the years to come. When he finishes school, he hopes to take his bike and travel the world, working on humanitarian projects and cycling where he can.
Alex has these words of encouragement for any young carer who is pursuing their own goals, ‘Find joy in it. Find what you love. And know that if you’re not feeling awesome – it doesn’t mean you’ve lost your passion. You just need to keep going.”