• Partners in the peloton

Sean and Robyn Lever share more together than most people.

The Sunshine Coast couple, who will soon celebrate their silver wedding anniversary, not only share their lives, a successful business and two teenage children, but, now, also a love of cycling.

And  it’s more than just cycling for them. It’s about using cycling to fund vital cancer research.

Being part of Smiling for Smiddy has become a huge part of their lives—and their local community’s.

Sean has been involved in Smiddy events, including the Noosa Tri and Midi Smiddy since 2010, and he conquered the Brisbane to Townsville Bottlemart Smiddy Challenge in 2015.

When Robyn joined up in 2013, riding a geared bike for the first time, it became a true family affair.

In fact, Robyn even celebrated her 50th birthday on the bike in 2014 during the Midi Smiddy.

“I did the Noosa Tri with Team Smiddy in 2013,” Robyn said. “I’m not a natural athlete, but the team made me feel so comfortable.

“They make you feel like you can achieve anything you want to achieve!”

And Robyn is certainly racking up the achievements. 

In August this year, just three years after riding her first geared bike, Robyn is taking on the 1600 km Brisbane to Townsville Bottlemart Smiddy Challenge—not bad for someone who thinks she’s not a natural athlete!

And how is she feeling about riding nearly the whole length on Queensland in just a few months’ time?

“I’m trying to stay positive. I don’t have a big ego about it, so if I have to have some time with Kevvy in the van, then I will!” she laughed.

“But Midi has given me a lot of confidence and people have said ‘If you’ve managed that, you’ll be able to do Brisbane to Townsville.’”

It was Sean’s completion of the the 1600 km event last year which gave her the motivation to try it too.

“I came back and said ‘You’re really missing out if you don’t do this one,’” Sean recalls.

“It’s a step above everything else. Eight days with 50 people.  You really get to know them—talking and riding every day, hearing their personal cancer stories.  There’s nothing like it.

“It exceeded my expectations.  When you do the Brisbane to Townsville Challenge, the penny drops as to what you’re doing and why.”

And it’s the “why you’re doing it” that’s just as important for the Levers as the physical events themselves.

“I started with Smiddy six years ago, as at that time my father was diagnosed with bladder cancer,” said Sean.

“My journey with them continued along with his ongoing highs and lows. He lost his fight last October. Obviously it is all a bit raw for me still. 

“My ride to Townsville this year will be very emotional, I’m sure, but the purpose of my riding with Smiddy has a lot more clarity. Having the Smiddy peloton with me will help me through the tough times.”

As the Levers know all too well, cancer can have a devastating impact. And it’s why raising funds for cancer research is such an important part of the Lever’s lives.

Their commitment to fundraising brings the whole of their local community of Caloundra together, with a variety of events and fundraising activities each year.

So famous now is their annual Movie Night, that it’s a sell-out event on the local calendar.

“The Caloundra community support we get is incredible,” Sean said. “The town gets right behind our fundraising.”

“We play clips about the Adam Smiddy story at the movie nights too and a lot of people there have also been affected by cancer in one way or another, so it really brings it home.”

This year, they’ve even added a new, creative event to the fundraising calendar called 'Three Marathons in a Day’, during which Robyn, Sean and their friend and fellow Challenge rider, Peter Hickey will each run a marathon on Saturday 30 April on a circuit loop at Caloundra’s Golden Beach.

That’s one exhausting way to raise money, but that’s who the Levers are—fit and faithful fundraisers, dedicated to helping get the one-up on cancer.

And they both agree that the advantages of being a married cycling team far outweigh the disadvantages.

“For me particularly,” said Robyn. “Sean’s been very patient and has taken the time to nurture me, when he could have been improving his own skills.”

Doing it together, they know they always have each other—a training partner to ride with, a generous partner to fundraise with and a friend to encourage you to keep going when the going is tough.

The downsides to being a married cycling team? Apparently, not too much.

Although their teenage daughters might argue  having two parents who wear lycra is a pretty big one!  

Interested in following in Robyn and Sean's path? Check out the 4-Day Challenge and Bottlemart Smiddy Challenge from Brisbane to Townsville.



The Mater Foundation is registered as a charity with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission ABN 96723184640.