Riders spread word on health

By Lawrence Gullery

The group of cyclists riding from Cape Reinga to Bluff to raise awareness of men's health are hoping this week's windy weather will shift to their backs, setting them on course for Palmerston North this morning.

The group, led by Napier man T Taufale, rode into Bay View about 1pm yesterday after battling severe wind conditions on the Napier to Taupo State Highway 5.

Mr Taufale's wife, Meriama is one of the team leaders of the cycle project, called the national USO (brother) Bike Ride.

"They left about 7am from Taupo [yesterday]. The wind was assisting them most of the way but they had really strong crosswinds which was quite dangerous and the rain that hit them hard which was cold on their hands and toes. It was particularly tough going on those downhill sections."

Four members of the Hawke's Bay Ramblers cycling club travelled to Taupo on Wednesday to ride with the group to Napier. When they arrived at Bay View, more local cyclists joined the group and they used the Hawke's Bay Trails and Hastings iWay tracks towards Hastings.

The group then moved onto the motorway to cycle to Oak Avenue where primary school pupils were waiting on their bikes to ride with them through to the Flaxmere Cook Island Community Centre.

"I know the boys' spirits were really lifted when they saw all of the kids standing there waiting for them to arrive."

The cyclists were to meet with the community last night to give people a chance to talk about how they can improve the health of their families. They were also encouraged to talk about what health programmes or agencies worked well with their communities and how the work they provided could be improved.

The cyclists held similar meetings with every community they visited during their ride down the North Island. "People in Tokoroa have good health providers and just want better ways to make connections with different health organisations," Mrs Taufale said.

"Other communities have started their own men's health groups to support each other."

Mrs Taufale said the cyclists particularly wanted to encourage men to have regular health checks and to see the value of improving their health for their families.

"A lot of people have already been inspired by the boys and their journey. Men see them and realise the cyclists are just the same as them, just a father or a brother, who want to lead healthier lives for themselves and their families."

The cyclists planned to set off at 7am this morning with a break in Dannevirke and an overnight stop in Palmerston North.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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