Sallies rider on island tour

By kelli.hooks@age.co.nz, Kelli Hooks


While many of us are relaxing in the summer heat, Wellington man David Smith will be spending his February cycling the North Island to raise money for charity.

Mr Smith, 53, a Salvation Army public relations coordinator, began his 23-day, 2600km Tour de Sallies cycling fundraiser yesterday by completing the 120km from Wellington to Masterton, where he stopped for the night.

Mr Smith is aiming to raise $40,000 for the Salvation Army's community ministries centres around the country which provide families with support.

"I was hoping to raise $40,000 through my own efforts but time will tell whether that's achievable or not," Mr Smith said.

He has raised $1125 so far.

It took Mr Smith four-and-a-half hours to cycle from Wellington to Masterton and he said he found the Rimutaka Hill easier than he had anticipated.

"It was actually better than I thought, it was nice coming over the Rimutakas with cloud over it and being a light southerly had the wind behind us," Mr Smith said.

Mr Smith was inspired to cycle the North Island after spending several months working in Christchurch following the Canterbury earthquakes.

"I got to see first-hand a lot of the things families were having to deal with and I got to thinking that I could make a difference."

He has been a recreational cyclist for about 15 years and said doing the ride also tied in with his role at the Salvation Army.

"It moulds my employment role with my enthusiasm for cycling."

This is not the first time he has participated in cycling challenges. Mr Smith also cycled in the 100km Le Race, Christchurch, the 100km Great Ride, Marlborough and the 160km Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge.

Mr Smith has been getting up at 5am every day, for the last two months, to prepare for Tour de Sallies, riding 30km a day.

He has 20 days of riding, in which he aims to cover about 130km a day and three rest days.

Mr Smith said the hardest part would be cycling the Far North. "[It'll be] long, hilly and presumably quite hot".

He has been accompanied by his wife, Tracy, and brother Malcolm in a Salvation Army community care van and will be joined, on bike, by Kaitaia Salvation Army lieutenant Phil Mellsop for the Whangarei to Kaitaia and Kaitaia to Dargaville sections.

"I've got some other support riders riding different legs along the way which will be really helpful."

Donations can be made at www.fundraiseonline.co.nz/tdes/

David Smith's facebook Events Page has information, daily blogs and photos: https://www.facebook.com/events/501891486518753/

- WAIRARAPA TIMES-AGE

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