Bike-a-thon for Special Olympics

19:03, Jul 17 2013
Andrew Oswin
GOLD SUCCESS: Christchurch athlete Andrew Oswin, who won gold medals in the shot put, the first track and field medal of the games for New Zealand at the 2011 Special Olympics in Athens, will take part.

Tour de France fans are being asked to take to their bikes during the next 24 hours to raise money for the Special Olympics.

Ideal Electrical Sydenham are holding a 24-hour bike-a-thon to raise money for the Special Olympics Canterbury team.

Participants are invited to visit the site and cycle over the 24-hour period while watching and following the Tour de France on a big screen.

Ideal Electrical spokesman Mike Lowden said the "Tour de Montreal" was created because of a huge interest in the Tour de France.

"Biking fans love the tour so we decided having our own one would be a good way to get people into helping out the team. Riders don't have to do the whole 24 hours but we will be open the whole time for people to pop in and give it ago."

Riders will be sponsored for their efforts and the money will go towards the Special Olympic Canterbury team attending the National Summer Games in Dunedin late November 2013.

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Canterbury has a team of 109 athletes and coaches attending in athletics, aquatics, equestrian, power lifting, ten Pin, basketball and bowls.

One of those athletes, Andrew Oswin, 23, was excited to take part in the bike-a-thon. He has previously won two gold medals at the World Summer Games and was named Athlete of the Year two years in a row by Special Olympics Canterbury.

"I'm really looking forward to it. It's pretty hard to fundraise so it's good they're doing this to help."

Oswin and his father would be biking for "as long as the pair could handle" over the 24 hours.

"We'll do as much as dad wants to do."

Lowden himself was aiming to cycle for as much of the event as possible.

"We'll see how I go. I've done some carbo loading this week so I should have a bit of energy."

Last year the company raised over $11,000 for the team and hoped to match that this year.

"Once you see how special these kids are you just want to do anything you can to help," Lowden said.

"We hope everyone gets in behind this."

The Tour de Montreal event is running at Ideal Sydenham, 118 Montreal St, from 5pm today til 5pm tomorrow. For $20, participants get entry, a T-shirt and refreshments. Riders are welcome to bring their own bike or use one of the sponsored spin bikes provided.

The Press