While most Australian cycling enthusiasts are content to watch the Tour de France on television, Eleebana rider Mark Shepherd is out on the roads, replicating the gruelling race.
For 23 days, the 56-year-old is matching the Tour de France competitors kilometre for kilometre, stage for stage, revolution for revolution. Only Mr Shepherd is not riding through the French countryside but around the Newcastle area. In all, he will ride about 3484 kilometres.
"I just set myself a bit of a challenge to do this, but I thought, 'This could create awareness for a great cause'," he said.
That cause is organ donation. So rather than call his cycling marathon the Tour de Newy, Mr Shepherd has dubbed it Ride to DonateLife.
DonateLife NSW coordinates organ and tissue donor activities across the state.
Danielle Fisher, general manager for the NSW Organ & Tissue Donation Service, applauded Mr Shepherd's efforts in raising awareness of the issue and DonateLife.
"More people in NSW are saying 'yes' to organ and tissue donation each year," Ms Fisher said. "In the last decade, Australia has more than doubled its donation rate. However, with 1700 Australians currently waiting for a life-saving or life-changing transplant, more donors are needed."
On day six of his ride, with a strong westerly smacking him in the face and his legs burning as he cycled over Stockton Bridge, Mr Shepherd took his mind off the pain by thinking of those waiting for an organ transplant.
"I just can't imagine waiting for that phone call," he said. "So that's what I think about [while riding]."
For day seven, Mr Shepherd will be wearing his bright lime green jersey - "It's the safest one I have, it stands out that much". But he won't be alone in wearing his heart on his sleeve for organ donation awareness.
Friday is Jersey Day. In workplaces and schools around Australia, people are wearing sports jerseys to promote conversations about organ donation.
At the Beresfield headquarters of Quarry Mining, the dress rehearsal for Jersey Day had many of the 70 or so staff members looking like they were off to the footy.
Quarry Mining's managing director, Kari Armitage, was keen to back an initiative that encouraged people to talk about registering to be an organ donor, saying it "potentially gives the gift of life to someone else".
"I just think workplaces have a responsibility to promote awareness," said Ms Armitage.
"If every small and medium business like us did a bit, it would make a massive difference in the community."
Quarry Mining has supported the sporting efforts of double lung transplant recipient Rod Marshdale, who has gone on to compete in Ironman events and at the World Transplant Games.
"I met Rod and thought, 'What an inspirational guy'," Kari Armitage said.
"He was given the gift of life, and he's gone the extra step to make the most of that gift."
Having passed the 1000-kilometre point on Thursday, Mr Shepherd knows each turn of the wheels gets him closer to his goal, which isn't just about distance.
"It's about awareness," Mr Shepherd said, "about having that conversation."
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