Crank­ing it to Akaroa for SPCA

The Tribune (NZ) - - FRONT PAGE - RICHARD MAYS

‘‘We do four train­ing rides a week – 160km on ’’ Sun­days.

– Rob Ryan

Sad­dle up. 20 lo­cal road cy­clists are putting their met­tles to the ped­als in a long dis­tance ride for the re­gion’s aban­doned and ail­ing an­i­mals. They’re plan­ning a 640km bike ride, for fun, with the added ob­jec­tive of boost­ing the cof­fers of the SPCA.

It’s all be­cause of Le Race, an an­nual 100km bike race from Cathe­dral Square in Christchurch to down­town Akaroa on Banks Penin­sula in March. As it warns in the Le Race pub­lic­ity blurb – this not your usual race with ‘‘amaz­ing views and more hills than you can shake a pump at’’. Hills, oh yeah!

Lo­cal road cy­clist, Rob Ryan reg­u­larly rides with a pelo­ton of mates, and had al­ways wanted to give Le Race a crack.

‘‘We’re a pretty so­cial sort of bunch. I said I wouldn’t mind do­ing it one year, and they said, ‘so why don’t you or­gan­ise it?’ – and it evolved from just do­ing the race, to rid­ing down there to do it.’’

Along the way it also evolved into a fundraiser for the SPCA, with the group set­ting it­self a tar­get of $5000, or $300 each.

To up the ante, the rider who raises the most money gets ‘‘The Magic Cup’’ for the week­end.

‘‘It means they don’t have to pay for their drinks,’’ Rob grins.

Orig­i­nally 18 in the squad, the num­ber has grown to 20. While most of us were con­sum­ing the good things the fes­tive sea­son brings, Rob and his mates had train­ing on their minds.

‘‘We do four train­ing rides a week – 160km on Sun­days. Com­ing up we’re do­ing a ride to Pon­garoa, which is 200km re­turn.’’

Ac­com­pa­nied by a sup­port ve­hi­cle and crew, the rid­ers will leave on their fundraiser from Palmer­ston North and ride to Welling­ton on March 15, sleep aboard the Blue­bridge ferry, and ride the 160km from Pic­ton to Blen­heim the next day. The long 190km leg from Blen­heim to Christchurch is fol­lowed by a lay day, be­fore they take on Le Race.

And no, they will not be not rid­ing all the way back, pre­fer­ring in­stead to fly. Con­tri­bu­tions for in­di­vid­ual team rid­ers can be made via givealit­tle.co.nz/cause/ sp­ca640bik­eride

PHOTO: DAVID UN­WIN/FAIRFAX NZ

Off to an... um fly­ing start. Mem­bers of the SPCA 640 cy­cling group pre­par­ing to ride to Christchurch in sup­port of the SPCA don’t quite get their pic­ture pos­ing right. It may have been ‘put down’ but no bikes were ac­tu­ally harmed dur­ing this photo shoot.

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