THEY may have been bringing a serious message, but there were smiles all round when 50 fundraising cyclists dropped into St Therese's Catholic Primary School on Monday.

The Smiling for Smiddy riders are raising money for cancer research by cycling the 1600km from Brisbane to Townsville over eight days.

"We asked some of the Prep kids how long they thought the ride would take and they guessed about six hours," principal Chris Ferguson said with a laugh.

"Another kid asked why we don't just ride motorbikes," rider Brenton Cope said.

As well as sparking some interesting questions, the cyclists drop into the school every year to talk about sun safety.

"The ride first began in 2006, after Mark "Sharky" Smoothy's best mate Adam Smiddy passed away from a melanoma," organiser Christian Killeen said.

"They raised $14,000 in the first year and I think we are getting close to $250,000 already with this ride."

Adam Smiddy's parents David and Maria came along as road crew this year.

"When Adam's mum and dad got up and talked to the kids about how they don't want any other family to have to lose someone because of this disease, I think that really registered," Mr Ferguson said.

The schoolchildren's face-painting competition saw the riders cycling off to Thangool with faces covered in pink and green zinc.


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