Hardy Timaru cycling pair brave the bike

ROAD TRIPS: Phil Brownie and Phil Clapham are both off on bike fundraising adventures.
ROAD TRIPS: Phil Brownie and Phil Clapham are both off on bike fundraising adventures.

Two keen Timaru cyclists are both off on separate adventures, of which neither appears for the faint-hearted.

Experienced mountainbiker Phil Brownie is taking on the Kiwi Brevet, a tough but fun 1100km event, based around the top of the South Island.

Phill Clapham will join more than 150 others riding close to 900km, in seven days, from Wellington to Auckland to raise money for multiple sclerosis.

Both men have spent a lot of time on their bikes.

Brownie is back from Himalayas where he pedalled his way across four of the highest road passes in the world.

Clapham has also had his pedal to metal, having ridden the Wellington to Auckland twice before and chalks up about 12,000km a year on his bike.

The 64-year-old dairy goat farmer also intends to ride coast-to-coast in the United States this year, covering 5000km in 50 days.

He estimates he would ride about 250km a week, recreationally and at the back of the field when it came to club racing on Wednesday nights and Saturdays.

One of his tougher rides was the 3000km he rode from Cairns to Darwin.

He however took it his stride.

"I had a guy that every morning wanted to race me and we did, but I don't think I ever beat him."

Clapham said he does the events because he loves the camaraderie and socialising as much as the riding. "It's a personal thing, I love meeting new people, having a new adventure."

Brownie said it was his first Kiwi Brevet, an event which stated the certain points or places a rider must go but doesn't prescribe how to get there, or in which order.

Brownie said it was generally off-road riding, with some tough stuff thrown in.

While some competitors may choose to stay in motels overnight Brownie had packed his tent in the 5kg load he was cycling with.

"It's an adventure really, it should be fantastic, we are covering some spectacular country."

He was also trialling a new bike, thanks to Cyclery owner James Smith, who didn't think his old one might cut it.

There was no entry fee for the Brevet but they liked competitors to make a donation and Brownie had made a "koha" to the rescue helicopter - joking just in case he needed it.

"It about challenging yourself, there is no finish line, no winners or crowds to meet you at the end."

A second Timaruvian is also entered, Russell Shanks.

Brownie said he was an ace when it came to this sort of event and he expected Shanks would be one of the first to the finish.

"He texted me ‘great men think alike, fools never differ'."

Both Brownie and Clapham admit they also have great wives, which helps when it comes to getting away on the adventures.

Brownie's is a keen mountainbiker so understands his passion while Clapham said his was just happy to have him out from under her feet.


The Kiwi Brevet is a cycle touring challenge. The rules are:

1. Do it all yourself, under your own steam.
2. Riders must carry all their own gear.
3. No outside support except prior to the race. You may only post supplies to post offices.
4. Follow 100 per cent of the course.
5. Riders must not complete the course in less than 4 days (maximum 8).
6. Every rider must spend at least one block of at least six hours not travelling, each day.
7. Text-ins are to be made from designated towns along the route

The Timaru Herald