The day was supposed to have been one of cycling, but suddenly it had turned into a water-based endeavor. The young man was out on his bike in the state of Victoria, south eastern Australia, in late 2016 when he saw something struggling in the nearby Barham River. He realized what it was – and he couldn’t just do nothing as the animal sank to its death.
But 26-year-old student Muzammil Patel wasn’t in the coastal town of Apollo Bay to become a lifeguard for the area’s wildlife. That was just a sideshow from the main event, acting as a volunteer for a cycling tour; a working holiday from his undergraduate course at Melbourne’s Swinburne University of Technology.
The Great Victorian Bike Ride is an annual cycling tour around Victoria, covering some 340 miles in nine days. The event attracts thousands of entrants at the beginning of the Australian summer. Participants cycle between camp sites, taking different routes each year. It was while Patel was at the Apollo Bay camp site when he heeded the call of nature in distress.