Wheel Classic chalks up 10 years

06 May 2019

Jayson Forrest

Jayson Forrest is the managing editor of Money & Life Magazine.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Future2 Wheel Classic. As he prepares for his seventh ride, Craig Phillips AFP® talks about his motivation for participating in these annual rides.

In a milestone for the Future2 Foundation, this year marks the 10th anniversary of its signature fundraising event – the Future2 Wheel Classic. Over that time, the Wheel Classic has raised $954,000, with funds going to support not-for-profit organisations focused on projects helping disadvantaged young Australians.

And ready to jump back into the saddle again for his seventh ride is Craig Phillips AFP® – the managing director of Canberra-based Phillips Wealth Partners.

Apart from the obvious benefits of improving his overall level of fitness, Craig attributes his real motivation for participating in the arduous Wheel Classic bike ride to the “crucial charity” the event supports – the Future2 Foundation.

“We live fairly privileged lives, so to help disadvantaged young Australians who deserve a second chance, by raising funds for extremely worthy not-for-profit charities, is very rewarding,” he says.

Since its inception in 2007, the Future2 Foundation – the philanthropic arm of the FPA – has raised over $1 million for charitable organisations focused on projects helping young Australians.

This year’s Future2 Wheel Classic is a six-day ride, departing Melbourne on 22 November. But what inspires Craig to commit to the ride – year in, year out?

“One of the biggest incentives is meeting the new riders and support crew from around the country, and seeing our amazing countryside from two wheels,” he says.

“We are all very like-minded, riding for a cause close to our hearts, while raising awareness for the great work Future2 does in the community. The camaraderie is special, as we battle the weather and terrain for up to 10 hours each day. Clients really appreciate the fact that I’m dedicating my personal time to support the Future2 Foundation.”

Social giving ideals

Craig admits his involvement with the Future2 Wheel Classic is part of his charitable ideals.

“The Wheel Classic is something that I can fit into my busy schedule and life, while raising funds and awareness for truly worthy causes. I’ve had the opportunity on some of the previous rides to meet some grant recipients and see first-hand the great work they are doing in their communities, which helps with my motivation to step-up again for another ride.”

Craig firmly believes that philanthropy, through social causes like Future2, is vitally important for the profession, particularly as a means of re-engaging with consumers, and re-establishing trust and confidence in financial services.

“The positive feedback you get from all sections of society when people make the link between what we do as professionals and what we do in our spare time, like our work with Future2, is incredible.

“There are so many planners already doing amazing work to secure the financial futures of their clients. But much of this work is done behind closed doors and is largely invisible to the wider community. So, our very visible involvement with Future2 clearly demonstrates that our care extends much wider than just sharemarket returns and spreadsheets, and this can only enhance our standing within the broader community.”

Camaraderie that bonds

Craig talks about the camaraderie that is created by participating in an event like the Wheel Classic or the Hiking Challenge, which are well supported by Future2’s David Eck. It’s the type of camaraderie, he says, that extends well beyond the event itself, with many friendships lasting for years.

And then, of course, there are the numerous ‘lighter’ moments that come from participating in such an event.

“There was a particularly amusing incident a couple of years ago, where Peter Bobbin, Shaun Weston-Cole and I stopped for lunch at a cafe in a small regional town in Western Australia,” Craig says.

“Peter wanted a plain cheese and tomato sandwich. However, the waitress wouldn’t oblige, saying the sandwich would have to be toasted. Despite Peter’s best negotiating skills as a lawyer, the waitress would not relent. Peter finally offered a solution: ‘As you’re about to close the lid on the toaster, just slide the sandwich out and give it to me.’

“The waitress was unimpressed and refused to oblige. The look on Peter’s face was priceless. As the other patrons in the cafe burst into laughter, I had to leave the cafe to conceal my own laughter. So, Peter had a toasted sandwich that day!”

Craig says it’s these types of stories and unexpected events that bond the participants and makes the Wheel Classic so special.

A ride that’s achievable

Is the Wheel Classic something he would recommend for anybody or is it a ride best left for experienced cyclists? Craig has mixed views: “Whilst it helps if you are a cyclist, as long as you properly prepare, which includes strength training in the legs and riding in small groups, the Wheel Classic is a very achievable event to participate in.

“We’ve often had riders who have never cycled more than 80km in one ride, but who have surprised themselves, and go from strength to strength each day.”

However, he believes it’s important to be mentally strong, particularly on those days when you really need to push yourself.

For any cyclist considering joining Craig on this year’s six-day ride out of Melbourne on 22 November, he offers the following advice.

“You need to start preparing now. That means having a bike that can withstand the 819km distance we will be riding. And if you’re not sure about what type of training you should be doing in the lead up to the Wheel Classic, just drop into your local bike shop and ask them for a rough training guide to help you achieve the required set distance over six days in the time you’ve got to prepare.”

Craig also recommends participants steadily build their fitness level up, and definitely not wait until the last month to do this.

“Spending time in the bike saddle is the key to building up your fitness. This means riding hills, going for long distance rides, working on your nutrition, and learning how to ‘bunch ride’ in a group with other cyclists, as the better riders will help you achieve your targets faster.”

It’s great advice from this seasoned cyclist, who adds: “And for any new riders, you can expect to receive plenty of support and encouragement from the other riders. So, what are you waiting for?”


Rise to the Challenge

The Future2 Foundation is calling for cycling and hiking enthusiasts to participate in one of two challenges following the conclusion of the 2019 FPA Professionals Congress in Melbourne (20-22 November).

The annual Future2 Wheel Classic departs from Melbourne’s Federation Square on 22 November. The six-day ride will cover a distance of 819km, before finishing back in Melbourne on 27 November.

The route will take in the picturesque Daylesford Ranges, with an overnight stop in the historic town of Kilmore, before cycling through the goldfields of Ballarat and then the rolling hills around Apollo Bay.

Riders will cycle the famous Amy Gillett Fondo route before heading along the Great Ocean Road and its panoramic views. There will be an overnight stay in Queenscliff on the Bellarine Peninsula, before a ferry ride across to Sorrento and a final ride along the Portsea beaches around Port Phillip Bay back to Melbourne. Riders can also opt for a shorter three or four-day ride.

And for those preferring to keep their feet firmly on the ground, Future2 has organised a five-day hiking challenge taking on the Grampians mountain ranges.

Now in its third year, participants in the Future2 Hiking Challenge will head to the Grampians National Park on 22 November and trek to their camp site for a welcoming camp fire dinner. Over the course of the next four days, participants will hike the spectacular sandstone ridges, the impressive peaks and valleys, and enjoy the stunning views of the Grampians, before heading back to Melbourne on 26 November.

By signing up to the Wheel Classic, riders will undertake to raise at least $1,500 for the Future2 Make the Difference! Grants program, while the hikers will need to commit to a fundraising target of $1,200.

For more information or to register your interest, click here or send an email.