Double Happy has made its maiden voyage in Whangārei, and thank you community for making that happen.
Kyren Andrew is "ecstatic" after riding his own tandem bike for the first time on Thursday, and his pilot rider Kurt Coetzee is equally delighted to ride with his stoker.
Kyren's mother Raewyn Andrew says having his own bike means he will be able to continue cycling with more determination.
The 16-year-old started out in the cycling club last year and went on to win bronze at National para cyclists 2021 in Rotorua on a loaned bike.
His determination to keep cycling gave birth to the idea of buying his own tandem bike.
Raewyn said if he wanted to continue cycling, he needed his own bike.
Through a givealittle page, some private donations and pleading their case to Unity syndicate charity fundraiser, the family raised more than $11000 in four months to get the bike, and a new helmet too.
"[Having his own bike] will make him feel included in a sport he hasn't been able to participate in before.
"He feels good when he participates in something and achieves something."
For Kyren's training, Raewyn was initially planning to do trips to Hamilton or his pilot/trainer Kurt Coetzee would come to Whangārei to ride with him. Coincidentally, Coetzee had a homecoming to Whangārei soon after their introduction.
What started as a long-distance arrangement has turned into regular bike training sessions for the last four months.
Coetzee said Kyren was very motivated and his training load was going to increase now.
"He never had a bike of his own, so it put a lot of restrictions on when we could ride and where we could ride.
"Having his own bike means now we can ride anytime that works for both of us and not having to ask someone else."
The duo's short-term goal is to "at least podium" at the nationals in April this year, and "hopefully win".
"Long-term, his goal is to go to Paralympics. It is still early days for that, but he's got big dreams."
Kyren said he was "excited" and training to compete at the nationals.
"Excitement levels are pretty up there, but nervous? I don't feel very nervous, maybe a little bit."
Kyren essentially rides with Coetzee but is constantly guided by his mentor and volunteer at Northland Parafed, Kerry Reyburn.
Reyburn said Kyren had come a long way in only a year, and had a long way to go.
"When we first started, he would barely ride for five minutes and then rest, but now he spends up to an hour with the trainer and also [training] at home.
"Now that he's got a good bike, we would ride out on the roads where he could hear the traffic or to the shore ... and the different smells. It's really cool."