Temuka's Paddy O'Reilly is embarking on his ninth Central South Island Charity Bike Ride while Judy Wallace is onto her seventh, along with eight other local residents and about 120 riders in total.
The cyclists said their main reason for participating was to fundraise for charity. Each rider is sponsored.
"We raise money for local small charities which don't get government funding," Mr O'Reilly said.
He said the camaraderie and maintaining personal fitness were also positives.
Mrs Wallace said she found the event quite humbling even though it was hard and required a big commitment. "We are all in it for one goal. Riding alongside about 26 other people you make great friendships," she said.
So far for the 2013 ride nearly $80,000 has been raised with an aim of of $140,000.
At 62, Mr O'Reilly said he was not as fit as he was when he started in 2005 as his will to train had deteriorated. He said if he was not saddle sore at the end of the three-day 400km ride then something else usually hurt. However, other riders helped to motivate him.
"The highlight is finishing it. It takes me a couple of weeks to recover." Over the weekend the participants completed a 112km training ride to Opuha from Cave and back in preparation for the February 21 to 23 event.
- The Timaru Herald