MPs gets on bike for charity

Three-seater bicycle trip to Christchurch begins

KELSEY FLETCHER AND AMY MAAS
Last updated 08:42 26/11/2012

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An ice cream a day will keep the saddlesores away.

Or at least keep three charitable cyclists' bellies full as they pedal their way from Auckland to Christchurch on a three-seater tandem bicycle.

Richard Steane, from Christchurch, today started his three-week trek from which he hopes to raise around $10,000 for Big Brothers Big Sisters, The Shortbread Trust and Gapfiller, who raise money for Christchurch.

His friends Byrdie Johnston and Jimmy Griffiths will join him in stages with the third seat being auctioned off to raise funds and share in the journey.

Steane said the rail trails and scenery could be looked at as the best aspect of the journey, but a daily ice cream would be better after tackling the inclines.

"I expect we're going to eat quite a few ice creams, Byrdie loves ice creams," he said. "Because we're not going to be going fast, we will get quite hungry."

Steane said the first couple days from Auckland have been bid on, but there is room for more, whether it be five minutes or five hours in the seat.

"I think Kiwis are really great at supporting things and have a great sporting nature, but to get them to jump on a bike with people they don't know...

"But people have bid for the first couple days and I hope people keep bidding, it's a lot of fun."

Steane was joined today in Auckland by Labour MPs Iain Lees-Galloway and Jacinda Ardern and Green MP Julie Anne Genter.

Genter bought the spare seat from Britomart to Mission Bay, donating to the cause.

"It was great, you had to pay a little more attention but it felt like a bus," she said. "I've never ridden tandem before and you have to keep the pace and co-ordinate gears, but it's a lot less work, no sweat."

Genter said it was a fantastic project and, as a cycling advocate herself, wouldn't have missed the opportunity to have a go.

"It's a great way to get around the city," she said. "The city council and Government need to make cycling in the city safer.

"I don't blame people for not wanting to cycle, but when it is safe it's a great way."

Steane was inspired by the charity tour idea after an "impulse purchase" left him wanting to do something "fun and worthwhile".

"I've had a tandem bike for a number of years, which I've done quite a bit of biking on and saw this triplet turn up on Trade Me," he said.

"It's just taken on a life of its own since then."

Since coming up with the idea, he set up a Trade Me auction where locals in each town can bid on travelling in the third seat.

"We're hoping we'll get a few people to help us along the way," he said.

Each day, a bidder can join Steane and one of his touring friends on any leg of the journey - even if it's a short ride to the cafe or to work.

If the cyclist goes within 20km, they'll be driven back to their starting point by support crew.

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- Auckland Now

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