HOSPI now for everyone

BY ANDREA O'NEIL
Last updated 10:45 26/02/2013
26-KPN-callingWEB
Andrea O'Neil

CALLING CYCLISTS: Papakowhai cyclist Gaby Peach will help to run a revamped Children’s Hospital charity bike ride on March 10.

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Organisers hope a revamped Porirua charity bike ride will become an iconic annual event like Wellington's Round the Bays run.

This year's Hospi bike ride has been redesigned for Porirua and will also cater for less hardcore riders and children.

The Children's Hospital fundraiser has been run since 2009 as a challenging 50-kilometre ride from Kenepuru Hospital to Wellington Hospital via Makara.

But despite attracting more than 250 riders a year, event organiser Eddie Bright says the course was too challenging and excluded young and inexperienced cyclists.

"It was hard going. Even experienced riders told me it was a tough ride," Mr Bright says.

This year's event on March 10 will be based on a 5km street circuit from Kenepuru Hospital to Prosser St via Raiha St, Titahi Bay Rd and Kenepuru Dr.

"It hit me like a sledgehammer when I was riding around one day - why not use this old course?" Mr Bright says.

"Hopefully in a couple of years this becomes an iconic Porirua event."

Four challenges will comprise the event: men's and women's open races, a families' course and a celebrity circuit involving sports stars and politicians.

For the adrenaline junkies there will be a mountainbike ride up Colonial Knob.

A smaller course will be set up for children at Kenepuru Hospital, where kids can enjoy a bouncy castle, face-painting and a barbecue.

Last year's event raised $20,000 for the Children's Hospital.

Mr Bright's Cyclosport cycling team will run the family events. One of the team, Papakowhai cyclist Gaby Peach, says it's great the Hospi has found a home in Porirua.

"It's great having it locally," she said.

"We don't have much other stuff like this here."

Hospi charity bike ride, Sunday, March 10. For more information and to register, visit www.hospibikeride.co.nz. Adults $25, children aged 8 to 15 $10.

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