A Waipahi farmer is climbing into the saddle for a cause close to his heart.
Waipahi local Warren Erickson will be cycling from Cape Reinga down to Bluff starting on February 16.
The farmer, who is in his mid-60s, is raising money for the IHC which looks after people with intellectual disabilities.
Mr Erickson has a 35-year-old daughter who has Down Syndrome and is assisted with supported living.
‘‘Our family has been involved with IHC ever since she was born, and we’ve just had so much support and assistance from them over the years,’’ he said.
‘‘I felt it was a good way to give back to the organisation for all they’ve done over the years for us. I enjoy biking, so I felt raising money that way was appropriate.’’
He said the family might wind down and move on from the area, including leaving the Gore IHC branch of which he is the chairman, so he wanted to do something in support of the cause and to give back to the people who had assisted his family ‘‘for so long’’.
Mr Erickson will be cycling the approximate distance of 2200km on highways and public roads.
His training has consisted of a 100km circuit through Clydevale, Balclutha, Clinton and back to his Waipahi home.
He has held various board positions for his local IHC branch in Gore and completed countless volunteer hours with IHC, but he felt it ‘‘still wasn’t enough’’.
His wife Judithann is coming along in a vehicle as his support crew.
Mr Erickson said he is nervous but excited.
‘‘I’m pretty keen to do it, but it’s definitely still nerve-racking. I think the sooner I get started, the better.’’
He said he has had a ‘‘couple of people keen’’ to cycle a part of his trip with him for support.
‘‘Once I start getting through the journey it’ll get easier, and it’s nice people are offering to help out.’’
So far Mr Erickson has raised over $5000 and plans to raise as much as he can for the cause.
Mr Erickson has a Givealittle page called ‘‘Cycling top to bottom for IHC’’ if people are keen to donate.