Club riders extol benefits of biking
New figures reveal that more than one million New Zealanders will be on their bikes as the New Zealand Transport Agency launches their annual Bike Wise programme this month. Teresa Hattan caught up with members of the Matamata Peddlers.
On a Sunday morning, you’ll often see a brightly dressed group of people sitting around tables at Robert Harris.
In front of them will be delicious treats - from lolly log and strudel to smoothies and the odd flat white. There will also be a lot of lycra.
The Matamata Peddlers weekly Sunday rides culminate in a social gathering at the local cafe.
They deserve it though, because they’ve been out traversing the roads around the district.
The Peddlers is a local club of about 100 members – road and track cyclists, time trialists and even the odd mountainbiker.
Club member Wendy Mackereth rides in the ‘‘C’’ group, which on a Sunday covers roughly 25km.
A group of Peddlers also ride together on a Wednesday evening during the summer.
Mackereth said when you move to a new town, joining a group is a way of meeting people.
‘‘I can remember going on a course and they said always do something physical, something social, emotional, something spiritual and something mental. If it ticks two things like this [cycling], which is social as well as physical, that’s why I do it. I’ve always done some sort of exercise.’’
She got on a bike about eight years ago and hasn’t looked back.
She does have a piece of advice for those keen on cycling.
‘‘You wouldn’t go out there [on the road] by yourself but in a group you learn the roads. You can choose if you want to do hills or flats.’’
‘‘There are some [of us] that go out for the speed and really push, but our group, our ethos is to go as fast as the slowest.
‘‘Often we’ll stop and wait for them all to catch up and have a drink.’’
Mackereth said the club always welcomes new members.
‘‘A lot of people think ‘ I’m not fit enough, I’ll have a practice by myself’ but it’s better to come, bring a drink bottle and the Peddlers will look after whoever turns up.’’
Club committee member Stu Edgecombe said, for the most part, cycling is easier on the body than other sports.
The social aspect also appeals to him.
‘‘It’s about challenging yourself and having fun with like-minded people.’’
But he does admit when he first got on a bike he was ‘‘hopeless’’. ‘‘There are hills you don’t even notice now but to start with you were in absolute bottom gear and wondering if your lungs were going to come out your mouth.’’
Joanne and Simon Belton, who are also committee members, got involved with the Peddlers with their children and said cycling is
club certainly a great family sport.
‘‘ You mix with people you wouldn’t normally interact with,’’ Joanne said.
PASSION FOR CYCLING: Matamata Peddlers members, from left, Simon and Joanne Belton and Stu Edgecombe are passionate about cycling.