Three's company when fundraising

SVEN HERSELMAN
Last updated 09:43 19/12/2012

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If you saw a single bicycle with three people riding it come through Blenheim on Tuesday last week you weren't seeing things.

The unusual and rather rare triplet bike was being ridden through Marlborough and on to Christchurch as part of a fund-raising initiative for three New Zealand charities over three weeks. Starting in Auckland on November 26 Richard Steane from Christchurch and Jimmy Griffith from Nelson were on their final week of the trip to raise money for Big Brothers Big Sisters, The Shortbread Trust and Gap Filler.

Richard explained that the idea for the charity ride began after he bought the triplet second-hand. "I have to admit it was a total impulse buy and after I got it and Jimmy and I rode it on a holiday, but I wasn't too sure what to do with it," said Richard, who volunteers with Christchurch urban regeneration initiative Gap Filler.

Jimmy was instrumental in setting up the Shortbread Trust, which raises money for Kalish Bodie School, in Jumla, Nepal by selling shortbread. He also owns and runs the Shortbread backpackers in Nelson.

The third charity, Big Brothers Big Sisters is a youth-mentoring programme and was nominated for the charity ride by mutual friend, Bydie Johnson in Rotorua. Planning for the ride began six weeks prior to setting out, with the plan being for Richard and Jimmy to ride the entire distance, along with a support driver in a care, and then to auction off legs on the third seat of the bike on Trade Me.

The plan worked and when the triplet rolled through Blenheim it had had 75 different people on the back seat, raising some $3300. They have also generated huge amounts of invaluable awareness for the three charities. "We didn't have a goal of how much we want to raise, we are just trying to get as much as we can," said Jimmy.

The trip had become far more than just a ride for charity, with the riders meeting and interacting with a huge range of people along the way.

"One of the biggest things was having cancer survivors ride on the third seat. They were just keen to get out there and do something different - it was awesome to be some kind of inspiration to them," added Jimmy.

The ride attracted some strong support, with Labour MP, Jacinda Ardern, and Green Party MP, Julie Ann Genter, riding out with them from the start at the Auckland Waterfront. When the ride reached Wellington they were included in the Christmas parade and Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown even had a short l ride.

"In general people we have come across have just been so incredibly supportive. Even if they haven't donated money we have had people buy us cold drinks or icecream, or offer us reduced rates were we are staying - Kiwis are really are giving people," said Richard.

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- The Marlborough Express

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