Friday, April 9
We ten members of Team Ākina gathered late today in Arrowtown from Auckland, the Bay of Plenty and Mackenzie Country. Tomorrow morning in Glenorchy, we start our eight-day, 530-km Tour of New Zealand cycling event, to raise funds for Bikes in Schools.
Paul McArdle, the founder and director of Bikes in Schools, is joining us tomorrow at the end of our first stage and then accompanying us to the first peloton party of this Tour at the Skyline Restaurant at the top of the Queenstown Gondola. There he’ll meet the riders of other teams supporting this excellent programme to thank them for their fund raising. The money we all raise will help some schools around the country build and equip tracks in their school grounds to teach kids how to ride bikes.
A very big thank you to all who’ve donated to Team Ākina so far. We’re almost half-way to our goal of $15,000…and we have high hopes of reaching it. If you think some friends or family might like to help, please do mention our Givealittle page, which has more information on Bikes in Schools and an easy way to make a donation. The page is at https://givealittle.co.nz/fundraiser/helping-kids-learn-to-ride-bikes-1
We got an welcome boost yesterday for our fund raising from Jacqui Dean, the National Party MP for the Waitaki constituency, through which our Stages 2 and 3 run on Sunday and Monday. Here’s her subsequent Facebook post.
The connection? Teammates Leonie and Kieran farm near Fairlie, and their four children had gone to St Joseph’s. I’d stayed the previous evening with them, having driven our rental bus and bike trailer down from Christchurch. Before we drove down to Queenstown today, we went to the dedication of the rebuilt school with their children plus lots of other school families. This is just the sort of close relationships among families and communities, friends and professions which I love about our nation.
Our stage tomorrow is not long but it is quite hilly…37km with 595m of climbing as we ride along the shore of Lake Wakatipu to Wilson’s Bay outside Queenstown. But it is a Team Time Trial, with all members of a team expected to work together in a tight formation, with the Team’s time taken on the third member across the finish line. This requires good teamwork to hum along like a well oiled machine…which is very satisfying when you do. However, on the downside the weather could be rather wet, forecasts suggest.
We celebrated our gathering this evening with a delicious dinner cooked by several team members under the guidance of fellow rider Geoff the Chef. Well fed and with a good night’s sleep likely tonight in our very comfortable accommodation, we eagerly anticipate tomorrow’s adventures!