In tandem with Sallies

02:55, Jul 27 2009
HITTING THE HIGHWAY: Belinda and Roland Hinmueller are taking on the Pan-American Highway on a tandem bike and helping out local communities on the way. WENZLICK

A 30,000km cycling trip that starts in Alaska and ends at the bottom of South America wouldn’t be everyone’s idea of a romantic getaway.

But for one young Manurewa couple it’s an exciting challenge that will see them pedalling through Canada, the United States, Mexico and Chile in a year-long trip.

And they’ll be helping those less fortunate along the way.

Roland and Belinda Hinmueller left New Zealand last week to tandem cycle the Pan-American Highway which spans 14 countries.

The couple have been training and saving hard since January when experienced cyclist and trekker Mr Hinmueller convinced his new wife to come along for the ride.

And the pedal-pushing duo have teamed up with the Salvation Army to donate their time to any army projects running in the communities they pass through.


"My husband is a school teacher and I’m a registered nurse and we feel we can offer a great deal – whether it’s volunteering in a health clinic, a soup kitchen, teaching English or building a house," Mrs Hinmueller says.

"It’ll bring a unique perspective to our trip."

And it’s the people aspect that makes their trip different, she says.

"I’m looking forward to spending time with the locals and doing what they do."

Volunteering along the way will make the trip a much more meaningful experience, Mr Hinmueller says.

The trip will be expensive but they’ll be able to cut costs by staying with other cyclists through a reciprocating cycling tourists hospitality website.

They’ve been forced to travel light because they have to carry all their belongings on them or pack them into a trailer attached to their bike.

Mrs Hinmueller will man the front seat of the tandem bike while her husband provides power and endurance from the back.

She’s made a joke about that arrangement on their trip’s logo – it shows her furiously pedalling with Mr Hinmueller on the back seat flailing.

But all jokes aside, a lot of compromise and communication will be needed on the trip, she says.

"We go about things very differently. I like to carefully plan everything. So the key will be communication."

The couple met eight years ago on a Top Deck bus tour around Europe. They married in April 2008.

Mrs Hinmueller has worked at Middlemore Hospital and the Manukau branch of New Zealand Blood Service while Canadian Mr Hinmueller has taught at Randwick Park Primary for the past six years.

Once they’ve completed their 30,000km trip they plan to move straight on to their next mission – starting a family.

The couple will gratefully accept any donations of gear to help them with their journey. Go to for more information.

Manukau Courier