Keen cyclists brave wet, wild weather



So what's a bit of rain and a chilling southerly wind?

Nothing but a bit of a nuisance - nothing that's going to stop you having a bit of fun, if you're like 9-year-old Lara Watson from Hastings and her friend Francesca Janke (also aged 9).

The conditions were far from kind for the Tour of the Bay cycle event yesterday, and while it knocked the numbers down a little, those who did don the helmets and gloves were not going to let it spoil the day.

The youngsters took part in the 10km ride, with Francesca's aunty Marija Helena, and enjoyed the slightly adventurous experience given the conditions.

"We had a few stops and we weren't really ready for the rain, but hey, we pushed on," Ms Helena said.

It was the same for Havelock North's Kelly James and her budding young cyclists Hamish (8) and 4-year-old Holly.

While it was Hamish's third cycle tour it was Holly's first.

She cycled behind mum on a trailer-gate system, where her bike was attached to mum's, and the rain and chill was eclipsed by the fun of being out on the big roads with lots of people and seeing lots of things.

"She loved it," Mrs James said.

"Both did - they didn't mind. We do a lot of cycling and we were always going to take part, absolutely."

That was how Ms Helena saw it too.

"We wanted to do it," she said.

It was her niece's friend Lara's first outing at the Tour of the Bay and when asked if she would do it again, she smiled and simply said "maybe".

If the sun shines next time?

"Oh yeah, for sure."

Event director Vanessa van Kampen said she could not believe how bad the conditions became, but was overwhelmed by the determination of the participants, young and not-so-young, sporting and recreational, who shrugged off the foul weather to take part.

"I promised them fine weather but it did not happen - it will be fine next year," she said philosophically.

She said temperature gauges which took in the chill factor at some parts of the course showed just 4C.

"Quite a few riders had to pull out which was a shame, but understandable."

Quite a few were not prepared for the conditions.

She said in the wake of Saturday's warm temperatures many thought the miserable conditions might burn off early, but they did not.

Having promised fine weather, she felt bad when she spotted young Lara looking a bit cold as she prepared to set off with Francesca and Ms Helena.

"So I gave her my jacket to wear," she said.

In its 22nd year, the event kicked off the 2012/13 BikeNZ Summer Series as the first of 11 rides through New Zealand - although it was far from a summery start.

Riders took part in 105km, 50km and 20km events, as well as the 10km family ride.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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