Heart week gets cy­cling boost

Matamata Chronicle - - News - By LAURA MCLEAY

To cel­e­brate Bike Wise Month and Na­tional Heart Week the Mata­mata Ped­dlers are invit­ing res­i­dents to join them on their Ride for Heart tonight.

The ride, which will con­sist of a 21 kilome­tre road cy­cle around some of Mata­mata’s flat and pic­turesque coun­try roads, starts off from Founders Park at 6pm. It is rec­om­mended for in­ter­me­di­ate age and over.

Mata­mata Ped­dlers found­ing mem­ber Dale Er­tel said they are en­cour­ag­ing peo­ple to give cy­cling a go as it is a great way to stay fit and healthy.

‘‘ Cy­cling is some­thing peo­ple can do to­gether and you can go at your own pace, take your time and en­joy it. There is no need to feel in­tim­i­dated that you can’t make the 21km be­cause once you get go­ing, a lot of peo­ple find they can make it, even with­out much train­ing,’’ he said.

‘‘Cy­cling is so en­joy­able be­cause you get to re­dis­cover New Zealand as you go down roads you would never nor­mally drive on and you see new things.’’

The Mata­mata Ped­dlers came to be in 2005 not long af­ter Mr Er­tel suf­fered a heart at­tack.

He knew it was time to make some changes in his life and start ex­er­cis­ing reg­u­larly so when some­one sug­gested cy­cling, he took it up and never looked back.

‘‘When I was train­ing for the Lake Taupo Cy­cle Chal­lenge, I no­ticed there were a lot of peo­ple out on bikes.

‘‘It dawned on me there must be a lot of peo­ple in Mata­mata who ride and I re­alised I didn’t know much about cy­cling. So I set about call­ing for cy­clists and at the first meet­ing we had be­tween 30 and 40 turn up – it was in­cred­i­ble,’’ he said.

‘‘Af­ter 12 months we made the club an of­fi­cial one and now we have nearly 80 mem­bers signed up.’’

The club rides to­gether twice a week, on Wed­nes­day nights and Sun­day morn­ings.

‘‘ We are no Lance Arm­strongs but we still re­ally en­joy cy­cling, it is a re­cre­ational club,’’ he said.

Since tak­ing up cy­cling, Mr Er­tel said he has no­ticed his health im­prove a great deal be­cause it has helped his fit­ness and is a low-im­pact form of ex­er­cise. Af­ter Ride for Heart there will be plenty of healthy food op­tions avail­able for din­ner in sup­port of Na­tional Heart Week.

Each par­tic­i­pant needs to sup­ply their own bike and hel­met.

Pho­tos: KA­T­RINA LINTONBON

Ready to roll: Dale Er­tel from Mata­mata Ped­dlers will be com­plet­ing the Ride for Heart tonight.

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