A generous donation has helped Alan Welch - who lost his sight in a car accident in 1971 - and mate Jeff Mutsaers get back on a tandem bike after an unlucky break left them without wheels.
Once a week, sometimes twice, for the past 16 years the pair has taken their tandem bike for a spin, clocking up to 25,000 kilometres along Warrnambool's streets and paths until recently when the frame developed a serious crack.
It was deemed beyond repair and left Alan grounded while the pair tried to track down a replacement which was not easy to get.
But a chance conversation with fellow tandem rider Bore Hoekstra about their predicament led the pair to the Warrnambool Central Rotary Club which quickly found a solution.
Rotary's Bob McMillan said when he heard about the broken bike he wrote to City Memorial Bowls Club which responded "straight away" saying they would love to help.
Between the rotary club's $500 and the bowls club's $1600 donations, they were able to purchase a second hand bike they found on Market Place and also covered the $600 needed to bring it up to scratch.
Mr Welch lost his vision in a car crash that severed his optic nerve and bike riding has helped to keep the 75-year-old - who has survived both a quadruple bypass and cancer in recent years - fit and healthy.
"I look forward to just riding once a week, the wind on your face," he said.
Not eligible for NDIS funding because of his age, Mr Welch said he appreciated what the bowls club and Rotary had done.
"Riding is so important to my health and wellbeing, as my other form of exercise (walking) doesn't provide the aerobic workout that I get from the bike," he said.
"It's the highlight of my week and I'll keep riding for as long as I possibly can. I reckon I've got at least another good 10 years in me.
"We've often joked about how long I'll be able to ride, and Jeff says when you're too old I'll take the pedals off and give you a free ride, or we can always get a tuk tuk."
Mr Mutsaers said he found the 25-year-old American KHS touring tandem in Wangaratta and drove up to take a look at it, buying it on the spot.
Brand new it would have cost up to $6000 and it comes with a solid steel frame which is "much nicer" than the old bike which had cost $1800 brand new, he said.
"It needed a little work to bring it up to scratch but even at its age, it still runs rings around the new tandems available at a similar price," he said.
"Alan was stoked when he rode it for the first time."
Mr Mutsaers said tandem bikes were not easy to come by.
The original bike was funded through South West Sports Assembly 16 years ago when Mr Mutsaers was asked to pilot the bike.
"And the rest is history really. We started off a voluntary gig...it just continued. It stopped being a voluntary thing years ago and now we're just two mates riding together," he said.
And now they are back on the road again, the new bike has proven to be that much of an upgrade it does a faster average speed than they were able to do on the old one.
Mr Mutsaers said they have hit a top speed of 72km/h on the new bike.
Bowls club general manager Julie Dosser said it was happy to support the pair.
"While Jeff insists that it may have started as a voluntary thing, they are now just two mates riding a bike and we're delighted to enable Alan to continue his favourite recreational activity, and hope he gets many more years out of the replacement tandem," she said.
IN OTHER NEWS
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can access our trusted content:
Now just one tap with our new app: Digital subscribers now have the convenience of faster news, right at your fingertips with The Standard:
Have you signed up to The Standard's daily newsletter and breaking news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in the south-west.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.