Cyclist doing it for the children - again
96-day cycle tour of the countryELTON SMALLMAN
A Hamilton man is about to set off on a bike ride that will take him more than 6000 kilometres around the country to raise awareness for children's charities - for the second time.
Karlyn Connolly, 41, completed his first Cycle4Life tour in 2010 and wants to continue sending a message of support to children's charities.
"I want people to donate their time to these organisations because they need help," Mr Connolly said.
He has left his job in Hamilton and has sold everything he owns to set out from Picton on Friday, February 1, for a 96-day tour of the country.
He will follow the coastline around the South Island before crossing the Cook Strait and doing the same in the North Island, ending his tour in Wellington.
"It's hard," he said. "I start in Picton and I follow the coast around.
"In a car everything looks flat but on a pushbike you know every single hill."
He will not be accepting donations saying "it is not about money".
Mr Connolly grew up in the foster system and remembers the help of organisations and workers gave him through tough times. He wants to give something back.
The son of former All Black Graham "Moose" Whiting, Mr Connolly did not know his parents until he was in his 20s and said his need to help the charities comes from his childhood.
"Because of how I grew up with organisations and people who cared about me, I wanted to do something for somebody else," he said.
"I caught a couple of kids - one of them was lucky to be 12 - sleeping in a bus in the [Frankton] carpark. They deserve a chance."
Inspired by a woman who ran 60km on her 60th birthday, Mr Connolly decided he wanted to do something extraordinary.
"The idea went from doing it for one day, then two days, to the length of New Zealand, so the idea was formed."
He weighed 142 kilograms when he started his 2010 trip but lost 23kg riding his home-built mountainbike on his 6237km journey, towing a trailer loaded with gear.
He is fitter and better prepared this time, and has learned from the mistakes of the first trip.
"I had 40 or 50kg of gear in the trailer when I left Picton. I had changes of shoes, changes of clothes, magazines in case I got bored and I had 1 months worth of food.
"I know what I need to do this time. I need to carry less stuff, I need to be prepared as far as water and things are concerned."