OPINION: Ah, cycling.
A wonderful way to relax provided you're not worried about having a sore posterior for a while, or having to keep a sharp lookout for traffic, should you be indulging in the practice in town.
But I'm not on about the somewhat tetchy debate between motorists and cyclists here. That's already been addressed in the last few days, and continues to rumble on in the adjacent letters column. More about that later perhaps, because there are more letters to come.
What I'm thinking about is the annual Central South Island Charity Bike Ride, the ninth edition of which finished on Saturday.
What an amazing event! When one considers that it's three long rides - Timaru-Kurow, Kurow-Tekapo, Tekapo-Timaru - on consecutive days, the fact that 169 cyclists took part this year is quite remarkable.
Significantly, it was the biggest field yet and many of the cyclists taking part will have been repeat entrants.
Those participants I've come across typically seem to get right into the spirit of the event, and keep coming back year after year.
Not that I've delved too deeply into it, but it certainly seems like a reasonable commitment is required from participants, with team training rides taking place over a number of weekends before riders set off.
And then there's the reason for the whole event, the charity aspect.
As our front page story yesterday reported, the tally from this year's ride is expected to be $180,000 to $185,000, well up on previous years and a healthy average of around $1100 per rider.
All that's going to local charities, detailed in yesterday's story. For each of them, from South Canterbury Hospice, with its 40 per cent share, right through to the six charities getting 5 per cent each of the tally, the donations they receive will be a huge leg-up.
There's a neat symmetry about the whole event, in truth. People going out of their way to help others - in the form of charities - whose goal, in turn, is to help others in need.
The world's eyes were on Hollywood yesterday, trained on the glitz and glamour, the elegant and the exorbitantly expensive, as awards were handed out to those considered the best in a whole range of categories.
If there'd been one for best production by a local community, I can't help wondering if the most worthy recipients wouldn't have been back here in South Canterbury. All 169 of them, along with the huge team of organisers and support crew needed to pull it off.
Another hugely successful event. Well done team!
- The Timaru Herald