Things got wheelie exciting for a group of special Northlanders when they cycled round Whangarei's Loop track to raise money and awareness of a charity that helps disabled people.
Just after lunch yesterday a group of Northland riders took to the Loop with Adrian McKenzie and his son Ted, aged 8.
Mr McKenzie, a father of three from Wellington, left Cape Reinga on Sunday on a 23-day ride to Bluff on a tandem bicycle to raise funds for the Halberg Disability Sport Foundation - the charity which enabled his physically disabled son Ted to enjoy the simple act of riding a bike.
The Wheelies Day charity bike ride around the Loop was a way of supporting the foundation and also showing other disabled kids that they too could learn to cycle, Mr McKenzie said.
His tandem bike has been specially modified so Ted can sit in the front to join Adrian and his family for bike rides.
His own epic journey - Adrian's Ride for Halberg - would also raise funds for the foundation to buy more tandem bikes and trikes to help get more disabled youngsters peddling. The machines can cost between $1500 and $7500, depending on needs and abilities.
Mr McKenzie said when the family got the tandem bike for Ted he could not walk, but after a few months on the bike he can now walk and even run.
"It's been great rehab for Ted and he really, really enjoys riding it. We've had great support from the foundation and these bikes show kids that they can get out and cycle normally with their family and friends," he said.
And judging by the smile on Ted's face, he was having a ball, even letting some of Northland's disabled youngsters have a go.
Reuben Leslie, 9, from Whangarei, got to have a ride in Ted's seat ahead of Mr McKenzie.
Mum Denise Pearson said while Reuben had his own trike he was excited at having his first go on a tandem bike.
"Reuben's always said he wants to cycle from the Cape to Bluff one day so we won't be able to stop him now," she said.
Whangarei's Josaiah Fue, 12, is totally blind and although he rides his own bicycle "in areas I know really well", he was delighted to get on a tandem bike for the first time with Mike Watson.
Ellie Weight, 11, from Dargaville came across to show her support by riding on her trike while mum Karen and grandfather Dood cycled along too.
Karen Weight said Ellie's bike is a great way for her daughter to get around because she did not have ball joints in her legs so could not ride a normal bike.
"The foundation and Parafed have been so amazing in helping and supporting Ellie," she said.
- Go to www.adriansride.co.nz for more information. -Go to www.adriansride.co.nz or text 'Halberg' to 8595 to make a $3 donation.