Cyclist takes on global challenge

ALEXIA JOHNSTON
Last updated 05:00 11/12/2012
Garth Lezard
MYTCHALL BRANSGROVE/Fairfax NZ
TWO-WHEELED MISSION: Garth Lezard has arrived in Timaru as part of his world cycling tour. His aim is to raise awareness of Leonard Cheshire Disability, a hospital service established in England.

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It is going to take more than punctures and dangerous drivers to put one intrepid traveller off completing his world cycling expedition.

Garth Lezard, of South Africa, arrived in Timaru yesterday, two years after setting off on his epic 30,000-kilometre cycling journey.

His aim is to raise awareness of Leonard Cheshire Disability, an organisation established in England that supports people with physical impairments, learning difficulties and long-term health conditions. Mr Lezard's journey was also prompted by his love for travel, photography and endurance sports.

By the time Mr Lezard completes his journey, he will have cycled through 24 countries.

He came up with the idea while he was at university in Swansea, Wales, studying photo journalism. As part of his studies he did a case study of Leonard Cheshire Disability, visiting 20 of the homes on five continents.

"That's when I started the bicycle journey."

Now he has extended that project to raise more awareness of the organisation, he said.

He said his love of endurance sports had helped him along the way.

Mr Lezard, a Sharks rugby fan, said the sport has also played a role in his travels with stadiums being his main ports of call.

Mr Lezard said his experience of cycling on New Zealand roads has been good. His worst experience was in China, where drivers were not inclined to stay on any particular side of the road, he said.

He has also had his fair share of punctures along the way, including five in one day.

"You start to feel a bit paranoid after five. You think there's something wrong with your wheels."

Mr Lezard said his travels were about raising awareness of Leonard Cheshire Disability, not money, but welcomes any support people were willing to offer to the cause.

He believes his plan is working.

"I've definitely met people that didn't know about Leonard Cheshire Disability and that there was a home in New Zealand, but now they do."

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- The Timaru Herald

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