Tough part to come for charity cyclists

Pedal power has set them on track to their goal of raising $130,000, but there are still a couple of hills to climb.

The Central South Island Charity Bike Ride set off yesterday from Timaru at 7am, with the 173 riders Kurow-bound.

Spokesman Bruce McDougall said the first day's 125 kilometres had gone well. "The weather was kind, it was a nice warm day, a bit of a headwind into the last stretch before Kurow but other than that, no major problems.

"The last group arrived in Kurow about 4pm. We have booked the whole town out, hotels, motels, camping ground, some are even staying in the hall.

"Tomorrow [today] we cycle 133km with two hills on the way, the Otematata Saddle and the Tekapo B Power Station hill."

They will spend the night at Tekapo army barracks before cycling to Timaru tomorrow to complete the 369km journey.

"Day three will be the easiest - it is downhill. We are on track to raising $130,000, with $125,000 already in the bank. Since the bike ride began in 2005, more than $550,000 has been raised for charity."

This year the charities to benefit are South Canterbury Hospice, Arthritis NZ South Canterbury, Timaru Senior Citizens, Speld South Canterbury, Cystic Fibrosis Association of New Zealand, Asthma South Canterbury, South Canterbury Ostomy Society and the Upper Waitaki Returned and Services Association.

The Timaru Herald