The Dingle Pedallers, made up of four gentlemen with an average age of 70, are cycling the length of the country to raise funds for the Graeme Dingle Foundation.
The distance of 3000 km is expected to take them about 40 days.
“They will be raising money for local kids,” says Dan Allen-Gordon, Bay of Plenty regional manager for the Graeme Dingle Foundation.
“We’re reaching 3600 kids every week in the Western Bay of Plenty, Tauranga and Mount Maunganui, across Kiwi Can, Stars, Career Navigator, MYND and Project K programmes.
“We’re reaching every vulnerable kid in 11 communities, and transforming lives through our programmes. These gentlemen are helping us do that.”
The group, made up of Phil Wolfe, Clive Chester, Graeme Rodley and Liam Dunne, will be leaving on February 15, taking the Tour Aotearoa route, which was designed by New Zealand cycling guidebook writer Jonathan Kennett.
In February 2016, he organised a Brevet event designed to highlight the best New Zealand Cycle Trail Great Rides, Heartland Rides and quiet back country roads
“A good friend of mine kept talking about the TA,” says Clive. “I thought ‘gosh I could do that’.”
“We’ve been preparing for this for about ten months,” says Graeme.
Each of the men have been cycling 250-400 km per week.
Starting at Cape Reinga lighthouse, the group will journey along many of the cycle trails to Wellington. After crossing the Cook Strait, they will continue down the West Coast through Greymouth to Bluff.
“We’ll be carrying our own sandwiches and be unsupported,” says Graeme. “We have a very good friend - Cliff Kingston - who is a cyclist with a big van, and he’ll take us up to the lighthouse.”
“We initially thought it would be 30 days,” says Phil, “but we extended it to 40 days because we don’t want to rush it. This is not a race. We want to enjoy it. This is just a great experience.”
They plan to cover 80-100km per day, travelling very light.
“You’ve got to make the seat fits your bottom,” says Graeme. “We’ve done 9-12,000 km just on the seat, making sure it’s comfortable. We’ll be sitting between 6-10 hours per day.
“We don’t wear a backpack, because that’s more weight on your bottom. We won’t be going flat out because you’ve got another day the next day. You’ve got to be relatively fit and be of a mind that you’re going to finish.”
The group has a Givealittle page for the public to ‘ride in tandem’ by sponsoring them via: www.givealittle.co.nz/cause/riding-in-tandem-with-the-dingle-pedallers
“We are doing it this year because if we waited ‘til next year we’d be older,” jokes Graeme.