When I was 21 years old, I had just moved out of my parents home and my main priority was having enough money from my retail job to pay the rent and to go out dancing and indulging on the weekends. Cut to me now and I’m in my 30s (shudder), and watching someone who, at 21 years old, has already achieved so much more than I probably will in my entire lifetime… What a bloody inspiration!
Ang Roan is one of a kind. Full time physio student, runs her own business alongside her sister (Paper Plains – a food truck with to die for Vietnamese rice paper rolls), works in Social Media for an array of brands, all the while juggling a number of retail jobs. I used to be her boss and, as you can imagine, with everything else she has on her plate it was sometimes a logistical nightmare trying to get her in to work!
Amongst all of this she decided to get behind an incredible charity with Stand Up Events, riding (yes, on a bicycle) from Adelaide to Melbourne with the hope to raise awareness for homophobic behaviour in youth sport. Being an issue that is very close to home for her, she not only got the word out about her cause but also managed to raise over $21,000! All of which will go towards to the funding needed to conduct first-world research with Monash University.
I have watched this girl continue to excel at EVERYTHING she does (I did ask her when she sleeps), but I have never sat down and asked her Why? Where does she get all this energy from and who is her inspiration behind it all? How can a girl so young have so much passion and where can I buy some of this energy?
Why Adelaide as the starting point?
As much as people dislike Radelaide, I LOVE it- always have and always will. It’s a special place for me, I’ve got a load of highschool friends over there and also I don’t really like Sydney (sorry hahaha). Adelaide gave the best option in terms of cycle route, distance, safe roads and of course the perfect amount of challenge- it’s boring but that’s why.
The support for this campaign has been incredible, with the likes of Hayden Quinn and Mel Hickey getting behind it. Sweater Club also raised over $2000 through the sale of there Third Wheel charity t-shirts (which I know made you cry) Did you expect so much support?
I never cry in public, not cause I’m #strongaf but because I kind of just never do- I also never cry out of happiness which is weird but this for some reason had me balling. I don’t think I’ve genuinely EVER felt so overwhelmingly grateful before and I guess receiving the $2071 from Colbee (Sweater Club) tipped me over the edge. I cannot express how thankful I am for the support- all of which were quite voluntary and completely unforced which is even more special- particularly from Colbee. She runs Sweater Club on her own, she curates and threads every t-shirt to order and went over and beyond in supporting me and Good Wheel Hunting. Colbee not only donated 15 THIRD WHEEL ‘Ambassador Tees’ which went to people like Hayden and Mel and took 40 minutes EACH to do, she sold a staggering 109 t-shirts and donated 50% from every sale.
Not many people know but we actually initially agreed that once we hit 50 tees sold, we would get together and reassess how much she was going to donate because the last thing I wanted was to put her out. She never told me when we hit 50 and continued to push to hit 109, keeping the donated percentage at 50%. I know how tough it is to run a small business and to be donating over $2000 within your first year of operations is just unheard of.
So, to answer your question- no, I had no idea that I would be getting any support let alone the amount that I ended up receiving. I think I will spend much of the next year or so continuing to thank people that were involved and backed me and Stand Up Events.
What was the biggest challenge during those 5 days?
Obviously my fertility was challenged with that much time on the bike (TMI?) but the most challenging day would’ve been the second day. 150km on a straight, boring AF straight road with a constant head wind for 7.5 hours is NEVER fun. That was probably mentally the hardest day to get through. The rest, I’m so lucky to say, was so smooth sailing which is 100% attributed to Sarah and Nic, my support team, who made the whole process and journey extremely comfortable and amazing.
Is the ride the end of the Good Wheel Hunting project or do you have more planned?
Initially, it was this one campaign. But because so many people have asked, it’s undecided if I will do another- it really would have to be something that I’m equally as passionate about for someone equally as amazing as Angie Greene (CEO of Stand Up)
At the finish line I could feel nothing but love and support by everyone who came down to cheer you on. What was going through your head when you rode into Albert Park to be greeted by such a reception?
Honestly, I was pretty wrecked because we had a not-so-smooth morning haha. The battery in the car died and I discovered that I had a puncture that was a lot harder to fix because of new wheel technology.. so we had to go to the bike shop. We didn’t end up leaving Ballarat until 11:40 which gave us 3 hours 50 minutes to cycle to Melbourne! At the same time though, it was a mixture of shock, extreme gratitude and a kind of bittersweet feeling that it was the end. I obviously had no idea what the finish line was going to be because I had hand-balled that job to my incredible friends and family- Jacintha, Jen, Angie Greene and Indi (and Sarah and Nic)- so riding into it was so special! There were people that I haven’t seen for 3 years AND people that I hadn’t even ever met before. Its support like that that is irreplaceable. It’s been over a week and I’m still trying to figure out ways to show my appreciation to everyone that came.
As well as casually riding 800km for Charity, you also have a very successful business with Paper Plains. What are you goals for that moving forward?
Paper Plains is a business I started only a year ago with my sister to back young people in this realm of innovation, entrepreneurship and literally putting their ideas into the world and making it happen. We’re big believers that the minds, talents and creativity of today’s youths will shape our future but at the moment there is little to no support or belief in young people to do so. We decided to take the leap (whilst full time teaching and being at uni) to create something to show others that if they wanted to, they could do the same. This year we want to be speaking to more young people, tapping into schools disrupting the traditional curriculum a little and hold the first ever youth-based, trendy/cool/laid back conference with speakers and topics that are fully relevant to young people- there’s lots of speaking events out there like TED talks, Business Chicks and The League of Extraordinary Women, but there’s nothing tailored for younger people- we’d like to solve that problem this year.
Who is your biggest inspiration in life?
Ba Noi- what an absolute trooper. (Ba Noi is Ang’s grandma and if you are not following her on Instagram @stories_of_banoi you need to ASAP, it will change your life)
And finally, when do you sleep?
I’m actually sleeping always. It’s an asian thing, why do you think we live for so long? We are sleeping every minute of the day #smalleyeproblems