Intrepid journey to Cape

By Abi Thomas

Two cyclists biking the length of New Zealand for Youthline made it all the way to Kawakawa before crashing.

Wellington friends Ben Riley, 25, and 24-year-old Tom Lynskey are on their way home after completing the ride to Cape Reinga in just under two weeks.

Fuelled mainly by Ben's grandmother's fruit cake, the pair set off from the bottom of the South Island on January 2, looking to raise money and awareness for Youthline, a telephone help and counselling service for young people.

Cycling through chilly 6C weather in Oamaru, 39 degrees in Waipukurau in Hawke's Bay, and hail and lightning storms, the pair made it all to way to Northland before their first crash.

"We were coming into Kawakawa and it was a bit wet, and I skidded on the railway lines," Tom said, meaning he was a bit sore over the last 200km or so to Cape Reinga.

Ben had done a bit of road riding before as a triathlete, and Tom was mainly a a mountain biker, so covering distances of up to 200km daily was a challenge which got easier as they got fitter.

Their main impressions of Northland were that it was "hilly" and "windy", and the people they'd met were great.

Having Tom's dad driving alongside in a support vehicle was also crucial.

"For logistics, and dinner ... things you don't want to think about when you've just ridden 200km," Tom said.

Tom said he wanted to focus on Youthline because it was relevant to their age group, and he knew several counsellors who worked hard and helped fundraise on the side.

"If people hear about something, they're more willing to support it, so that's really the goal, to raise awareness of Youthline," he said.

They had also set up online fundraising and have so far raised just over half of their $2000 target.

You can read Ben and Tom's good-humoured blog at

- Northern Advocate

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