About-face bike turns many heads

Pedal power: Lisa and Verne Pavreal, with Zara, pass through Temuka yesterday.
Pedal power: Lisa and Verne Pavreal, with Zara, pass through Temuka yesterday.

Is it a bike, a pedal car or a push-me pull-you? Motorists could be excused for not knowing exactly what Hastings couple Lisa and Verne Pavreal's latest experimental bike was, when they passed through Timaru yesterday.

It is, in fact, a Janus Quad, complete with back-to-back seating, dual pedal power, chilly-bin saddle bags and a solar panel roof.

Lisa and Verne had the bike built by The Electric Bike Company in Christchurch.

The couple are keen cyclists and have also toured the North Island on their unusual machine.

Verne, who is blind, gets the back seat, and his guide dog Zara gets to follow in the custom-built trailer.

"Sometimes I don't know where she (Lisa) takes me," laughs Verne. "We like to travel the back roads where it is quiet," he said.

For their southern adventure they had a solar panel fitted to power a small motor to assist on steep hills.

"If it's sunny we can get up to 30 minutes running from the electrics," said Lisa. The panel also acts as a sun shade or shelter in the rain.

Their trip started in Christchurch passing through the Rakaia Gorge and Geraldine and arriving in Timaru yesterday. The next leg of their trip will see them pass through Omarama, Alexandra and eventually Gore.

"We don't have to be back until 20 January," explained Lisa, "so we also hope to do the Central Otago Rail Trail."

The Pavreals are self-sufficient and carry all their camping equipment on board. On really steep hills Zara gets a chance to stretch her legs and walk beside them.

Travelling up to 90km a day is not a problem and they gets lots of looks and support as they pedal back-to-back around the back roads.

Verne would, however, prefer motorists do not toot in support as they pass, as it often gives them a fright and startles the dog.

The Timaru Herald