Epic bike journey crossed off bucket list

19:47, Feb 11 2013
Bill McGavock, 86, of Havelock North, and his son Steve, of Te Awanga
EPIC JOURNEY: Bill McGavock, 86, of Havelock North, and his son Steve, of Te Awanga, enjoy a well-earned beer at the Cardrona Hotel yesterday, after cycling from Hawke’s Bay to Bluff in less than three weeks.

"It's no big deal," said 86-year-old Bill McGavock, who has just cycled from Havelock North to Bluff.

He did the trip when he was 17 and wanted to repeat it "before I get too old".

Mr McGavock and his son, Steve, who is 60, covered the 1350 kilometres in 18 days, cycling about 85km a day.

The pair mainly stuck to State Highway 2 in the North Island and SH1 once they crossed Cook Strait, taking a detour in places around Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin where the highway became a motorway because it is illegal to ride a bike on a motorway.

They said the Kilmog and Mt Cargill, north of Dunedin, were the toughest parts, along with Timaru to Oamaru, where there was a southerly headwind and rain for most of the day. Otherwise the weather had largely been kind to them.

"In the very steep places, I just jumped off my bike and walked," Bill McGavock said.


They took just three rest days and arrived in Bluff about four days earlier than expected.

Steve McGavock said his father coped with the journey very well.

"I think he is relieved he got there, because of all the [media] fuss made of him . . . it's pretty impressive really."

Bill McGavock did not have any other lengthy bike rides planned, saying "I've crossed it off my bucket list and that's the end of it".

But his son pointed out he had said that before.

The pair were now making their way "very quietly" to Christchurch in a campervan, before flying home next week, Bill McGavock said.

The Southland Times