Osher Gunsberg has been a familiar face on Australian TV screens for many years now. Most recently as host of The Masked Singer, The Bachelor Australia and – if you can cast your mind back to Guy Sebastian’s “fro” – Australian Idol.
In a year that’s seen Osher quarantined from his family for a time during his hosting duties, and brought some of his work to a standstill, he’s taken on a new role as an ambassador for World Bicycle Relief Australia (WBR).
The charity group provides bikes to people living in developing countries, where a lack of mobilisation and independent transport limit their opportunities for work and ability to meet the basic needs of their household.
Marking their 15th anniversary as an organisation this Christmas, WBR is hoping to raise enough funds to purchase 250 Buffalo Bikes for people living in developing regions around the world.
Totalling $50,000, the bikes are people’s “key to going to school, having an education, starting a business, being financially independent,” Osher said.
If instead, people had to walk long distances to their nearest market or place of work, the time it takes, and the risk of carrying valuable items home is too great.
“What WBR have done is built and designed this incredible bike – called a ‘Buffalo Bike’ – that’s designed especially for use in Africa and that can carry up to five people. Which is amazing,” Osher said.
When you enable the purchase of one of these bikes, Osher said “it’s really the difference between [someone] getting an education and not getting an education… or engage in some sort of economic activity that’s able to lift [their] situation out from what it was to something even better”.
“We’re talking about a part of the world where, particularly for young women, if you’re 12 or 13 and you’re not going to school everyday, pretty soon you’re starting a family and your options for life are fairly limited after that.”
Osher also recognises that while bike riding in Australia tends to be more recreational, it’s also a powerful aid for mental wellbeing.
“It’s the ability to travel vast distances, under your own power… [Cycling] is something that I use not only to get around, but for my mental health. To make sure I’m releasing the hormones in my body that help me shift mood-states through the day,” he said.
On the rides where it’s hard and you’re pushing yourself up the next hill, Osher said “you’re learning that ‘If I just keep breathing and I push down one peddle at a time I will get there’”.
“You teach your brain that, ‘yes this is difficult, yes this is a challenge, but I just need to do one little bit at a time and I will achieve it’. Then when you’re trying to work though something with your kids or your partner, your brain knows it’s fine [even if] it seems insurmountable.”
Osher also had some sage advice for fans of The Bachelor who are looking for love themselves.
“There’s no such thing as ‘the one’, just the one who’s willing to work on it with you,” he said, echoing the words of a former manager.
“A relationship is work. You don’t just get together and that’s it: ‘Happy for life! See you at the 50th wedding anniversary, darling!’ No. Everyday you’ve got to work on it. If only one of you is willing to work on it it’s not going to go great,” Osher said.
“The one who’s willing to work on it with you is the most valuable thing you can possibly ever, ever get. If you find that person, that’s the one.”
Article supplied with thanks to Hope Media. Laura Bennett is a media professional, broadcaster and writer from Sydney, Australia.