Charity ride covers 363km over 3 days

The wheels are in motion for the Central South Island Charity Bike Ride. Entries are now open for the three-day annual event, in which cyclists will pedal 363km.

Cyclists will cover the Upper Waitaki hydro lakes and McKenzie Basin from Timaru via Waimate, Kurow, Omarama, Tekapo, Fairlie and back through Pleasant Point to Timaru between February 24 and 26 next year.

The charity ride is now entering its seventh year, with the last event raising more than $136,000 for local charities and $573,000 raised in the past six years.

Ride organiser Morrell McFetrich said that all of the funds would be passed on to local charities.

"The funding makes a big difference, particularly for those smaller charities with limited resources."

He said novice riders were encouraged to enter the event and would be coached on fitness with regular weekend training schedules.

The event caters for 180 riders who are split into seven groups selected on ride speed to ensure that all groups contain riders of similar ability.

Each of the groups have two or three experienced riders as group leaders to train the new riders.

The ride's key objectives are to raise money for small local charities/groups, bring about attitude changes to people with disabilities, motivate people to participate and increase their health and fitness, and raise awareness of local support and service groups.

The ride is funded by the riders, who each pay an entry fee of $150 to participate, covering meals and accommodation, on top of a minimum of $350 of fundraising and sponsorship expected of each rider.

The first ride was held in 2005 with 56 riders raising $27,000. The event evolved after several of the organisers had taken part in a similar event in Northern Queensland, where riders raised money for local charities by riding for three days from Townsville to Cairns.

This year's charities are the South Canterbury Hospice, Plunket South Canterbury, Motor Neurone Disease Association South Canterbury, Parkinsons South Canterbury and the Life Education Trust.

The Timaru Herald, Computer Solutions, Aoraki Web Design, Port FM, Fulton Hogan, Trust Aoraki, Presbyterian Support Services, Totalpos, Canon, Tripp, Rolleston and Co and H C Partners Timaru are sponsoring the event.

Ride 2011 Information:

Day one: Timaru to Kurow via Waimate, Waihaorunga and Ikawai.

Day two: Otematata Saddle to Omarama and on to Twizel for lunch. The next leg is from Twizel, past Lake Pukaki and the Tekapo B Power Station and on to the Army barracks at Tekapo.

Day three: Tekapo through Fairlie and on to Cave for lunch. The last leg of the journey goes through Pleasant Point into Timaru, finishing at the SBS Events Centre. A charity dinner is held at the Phar Lap Raceway at 6pm.

The Timaru Herald