Going the distance for the kids
A 70-year-old Athenree man has taken a long cycling adventure to raise funds for sufferers of a impaired vision problem.
Kevin Evans cycled 3000km in February from Cape Reinga to Bluff along the Te Ara Road Trail to fundraise for the Irlen Syndrome Recovery Programme at Katikati Primary School. Irlen Syndrome is an eye perception disorder which affects the brain’s ability to process visual information, creating distortions.
Kevin trained all year, covering more than 4000km to prepare for his journey.
Cycle Te Ara Roa is known as a Brevet ride — a ride over a predetermined course with checkpoints at different locations throughout the country.
“The slower you go the more you see,” Kevin said.
He had to take 30 photographs at set locations to verify he that he had done the ride.
Riders aim to complete the course within specified time limits and are expected to be selfsufficient between control points.
Alone with his 15kg bike — a Scott hard-tailed 29er — he carried 8kg of kit with his tent and sleeping bag. The choice of equipment for such a journey is critical, he said. He followed a manual a course that took him off the beaten track with many detours along the way. He carried a spot tracker for safety and to verify that he had stayed on course. He rode 3000km along cycle trails and backcountry roads through stunning scenery and challenging terrain. His days were often 12 hours of riding and in total it took him 25 days and five hours, he said.
The weather was on his side — in 25 days he only wore his storm jacket twice. There were 600 registered riders, and 100 started with Kevin, who was in the last release. The fastest finished the ride in 10 days and one minute riding 309km a day.
Kevin said the more challenging parts of the course included steep terrain, floods and icy cold wind and sleet. Ninety Mile Beach was the hardest 100km he had ever ridden. Haast Pass was one of the worst days riding uphill in sleet and he then got cold riding downhill, he said. Facing the flooded Whanganui river was another challenge.
“One of the joys of the ride is that you have no idea what was happening in the world. You live in an isolated cocoon of biking that you live and breathe for 25 days,” he said.
Reaching his destination, Bluff, he felt “overwhelmed with a sense of well-being”.
Kevin was presented with a medal by Invercargill mayor Tim Shadbolt.
Will he do it again? “No — I don’t need to,” he said, but “everything went well and I didn’t hurt myself.”
Kevin raised more than $4000 for his charity. His daughter also set up a Givealittle page which raised $2200 and Apata kiwifruit company matched the money raised. Waihi Beach Focus also donated, and Kevin visited the group last month to talk about his adventure. The proceeds will help fund a screening programme for Year 3 children at Katikati Primary School and a teacher trained in this area.
Kevin Evans of Athenree, 70, cycled 3000km across New Zealand.