Big bike, little hearts

MARY BAINES
Last updated 11:23 20/11/2012
Monster Bike
MARY BAINES
Riding high: Mechanical engineer Chris Staal rides New Zealand's biggest bike, which is being auctioned off for charity.

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The Wellingtonian

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New Zealand's biggest bike is being auctioned off next week to support children such as Conor Mills of Tawa, who was born with congenital heart disease.

The fully functioning bike, two metres high and weighing 150 kilograms, was designed and built by Hamilton-based mechanical engineer and keen cyclist Chris Staal.

Dubbed the monster trike, it has an aluminium frame, 24-speed with dual hydraulic disc brakes, rear steering and a full electronic tilt control system.

Mr Staal said it was originally a personal project, but he decided to auction it off for a good cause.

"This bike is a labour of love over a two-month period, including plenty of late nights," he said.

The proceeds from the auction will be donated to @Heart, an organisation that provides lifelong support for those affected by childhood heart conditions.

@Heart is the main charity for the Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge this weekend.

Thirty-five young riders - including Conor - affected by heart problems, will participate in a 5km bike ride at the Taupo event to raise awareness and funds.

Ten-year-old Conor said he wanted to raise $600 at the event and was excited to get involved.

Conor has Marfan syndrome, a connective tissue disorder that affects the heart and aorta and requires him to be on lifelong medication.

His mother, Linda, has the same condition. She said Conor was aware of the limitations when living with a heart condition.

"Like many children born with a heart defect, Conor is discouraged from contact sports or anything too strenuous on the heart," Mrs Mills said.

"However, he doesn't let his heart condition stop him from engaging in physical activities…he is motivated and decided to give [it] a go."

A donation can be made to Conor by visiting his fundraising page at everydayhero.co.nz/conor-mills.

The Monster Bike auction closes on November 29 and can be viewed at trade.me/monstertrike.

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- The Wellingtonian

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