Cranking it to Akaroa for SPCA
‘‘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
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.