Jao Zafra and his Auckland friends Arthur Diaz and Marlon Matias are three of eight cyclists who tackled the Tour de Coffee Culture pro-elite challenge of riding to 15 Waikato locations – a total of 115km – in one day.
Jao - who lives in Hamilton - is a passionate cyclist who was used to biking 50km a day in his home country the Philippines and his friends cycle in Auckland every day.
He says: "I saw the Facebook post announcing the challenge and as we love cycling, I told my friends to come down. But what got us hooked was the free cycling jersey after completing the challenge."
The three friends started their trip early last Saturday. "The first part was easy, but when we got to the Cambridge and Ngaruawahia part it was just a straight path for ages and we asked ourselves whether we are still on the right track."
However, they managed the whole 115km route within six hours, including breaks.
During the trip, Arthur and Marlon were loving the wider cycleways in and around Hamilton as in Auckland they would mostly have to share paths with pedestrians, Jao says.
"My favourite part was to figure out the most efficient route and navigating around Hamilton – and of course the thrill of finding a new location. So, it was not just mindless pedalling."
After completing the Bike Month challenge, he and his friends are dreaming big and thinking about a trip to the South Island.
"We think about trying the Alps to Ocean Cycle Trail. But we would definitely need to prepare properly for that."
Interested cyclists still have plenty of time to either try tackling the pro-elite challenge or to complete a tour to all 15 locations in their time until April 5.
For the pro-elite cyclists Jao has three tips: "I highly recommend starting early in the morning, bring and drink lots of water and it really helps to bring some friends to have some company."
For more details on the Tour de Coffee Culture click here.