A lifelong love of cycling is about to become an international affair for one Hawera man.
Mike Avery who commuted from his home in Hawera to his job at the Stratford District Council at least three times a week completed the trip for the last time on Friday.
He is leaving his job as the council's director of community and environmental services on February 28 and will soon move to Australia to be with wife Julie.
He said cycling had always been a big part of his life from when he used to ride his bike around the streets of Hamilton to when he used it as his main form of transport while at university.
"A bike became the way to travel," he said.
February is Bike Wise month, an initiative of the New Zealand Transport Agency, which promotes cycling as a fun and healthy way to travel and encourages all road users to share the road safely.
Mr Avery has also cut a distinctive figure along State Highway 3 since he started riding his low racer bike in 2005.
"I get treated like royalty on the road," he said.
He said the unique bike had a real presence which people noticed, and could get up to speeds of about 95kmh.
Commuting to work by bike has been a part of Mr Avery's working life over the 18 years he had been living in the district.
Mr Avery said he rode about 180km in any given week and this increased if he was training for a specific event.
He said his commute also extended to holidays when he would often bike to the destination instead of joining the family in the car.
The 54-year-old said cycling provided him with a chance to keep fit and healthy.
"There's this amazing feeling about being in tune with your body," he said.
Mr Avery said riding his bike also gave him a unique insight into the environment around him. "There's that intimate connection that you miss when you are in a car."
Although the impending move over the Tasman would be an "emotional wrench" it opened up new possibilities in terms of cycle routes, not to mention new life experiences. He said he would miss Stratford and its people. "It's been a great ride."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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