Louise Bailey is not a cyclist. She hasn't owned a bike since she was 12, but on Saturday she set off from Cape Reinga on the biggest challenge of her life - cycling the length of the North Island to raise funds for St John. And she's doing it alone.

With Cape Palliser 1500km away, she is relying on the generosity of local communities to help her.

Determined to prove that "human beings are fundamentally very good people", she said, even before she started, that she had been "blown away" by the support she had received from complete strangers, the cycling community and ambulance stations.

"I believe, when there's a good reason and good backing, the impossible becomes possible," she said.


"Growing up in a small town taught me the value of community - strangers and friends helping each other out - knowing you have the support you need when you need it most.

And this is exactly the reason I decided to cycle an insane distance, to prove that amazing things can happen with the support of others."

Her fundraising marathon, 'No Gear, No Idea', was inspired by her desire to 'give back' to people who had been dealt a tough hand.

She hoped to raise $10,000 for St John and another charity close to her heart, CanTeen, and has set up a Givealittle page for those wanting to give their support.

"I moved to Auckland from a small Leicestershire village, and I love getting to know people and building relationships," she said.

"St John is at the backbone of New Zealand, there when people most need help. I know St John is as reliant on people like me as we are on them. I wanted to highlight the great work St John does, and to help them continue to do so through the fundraiser."

Louise now works for St John in a fundraiser relationship development role, but she was already planning her epic fundraising initiative under her own steam when she accepted her "perfect" job.

"Having no cycling experience means I've been completely reliant on cycling enthusiasts, cycle clubs, stores and experts for advice on equipment, training and routes. I even have other cyclists keen to join me along the way," she added.

"When I'm done I'll donate all my equipment to charity to raise more money, which will again contribute to saving lives."

Louise is scheduled to reach Cape Palliser on December 17, having prepared herself with daily rides of up to 100km from her home in Parnell.

She and her cause can be supported via her website (www.NoGearNoIdea.co.nz), her Facebook page (www.facebook.com/nogearnoidea/, and www.givealittle.co.nz/fundraiser/nogearnoidea.