‘Epic’ NZ ride raises money for refuge

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Cathrina Lynch made a smart move when she swapped her mountain bike for an e-bike during her epic journey the length of New Zealand.

The Gore woman is back home after completing 2850km.

Retiring at the end of 2017 after working as a resource teacher of learning and behaviour based at Longford Intermediate opened a door of opportunity for Mrs Lynch to follow some of her dreams.

“I wanted to do something epic. I enjoyed it,” she said.

Given the opportunity she would “do it again”.

Mrs Lynch, who followed the Tour Aotearoa route designed by New Zealand cycling historian Jonathan Kennett, was accompanied on the journey from Cape Reinga to Bluff by husband Ron.

The couple started the journey on January 7.

“We rode together from Cape Reinga to Dargaville,” she said.

Then Mr Lynch travelled by vehicle, providing support, she said.

She did not ride through Auckland. That particular feat did not appeal to the couple.

The decision to buy an e-bike was made after hiring one to do a separate trial.

“It certainly made a difference on the hills.”

The excellent summer weather nationwide made the journey even more pleasant.

“We had absolutely stunning weather.”

Temperatures mainly ranged from the high 20s to the high 30s, Mrs Lynch said.

Northland was particularly hilly and the temperatures were in the high 30s, she said.

“It was high humidity.”

The Waikato River Trail was her least favourite part of the journey, while her favourite was the Timber Trail in the central North Island.

The highlight of the journey was meeting people.

It was amazing how many people the couple met who had either lived in Gore or knew someone there, she said.

She was surprised how many tourists she met more than once on the journey.

Falling off her bike was one of the hazards. She frequently had bruises and bumps from her tumbles, she said.

“I’m pretty good at falling off, really.”

Traffic was not a problem as most motorists were considerate.

After she decided to make the trip, it occurred to her it was a good opportunity to raise money for the Gore Women’s Refuge.

“We made $1300 in a Givealittle account,” Mrs Lynch said.

She thanked all those who gave money.

Mrs Lynch was a Gore Women’s Refuge board member for about six years.