She wanted to do the entire Taupo Cycle Challenge before she was 40. Now 46, Whanganui's Debbie Cain has done it eight times.

She started cycling to lose weight.

She had first tried it with the encouragement of work colleagues, to prepare for the 160km Taupo challenge.

On her first attempt, she was only aiming to do 40km, and initial training was modest.


She lives on Tayforth Rd and would cycle down the hill to a friend's place, have a coffee, and get her husband to drive her back. After a while she started cycling back herself.

Then she did blocks and joined the Wanganui Cycling Club.

The whole of the Taupo Challenge was within her grasp, and what had been on her bucket list has been done eight times.

Last year, Mrs Cain also did the BDO Wellington to Auckland Cycle Challenge - for her it was 900km over seven days.

She's on it again in the coming week, one of three from Whanganui to do the whole thing.

Last year, during six weeks in Europe, she pedalled 1000km.

It was so amazing that cycling in New Zealand seemed tame for a while.

Now she's back into it, and bikes from her house to work at Whanganui Prison.

By adding an extra 10km she does 45km a day that way, plus a club race on Saturday and sometimes a club ride on Sunday.

She said she was a lazy cyclist who cycled for enjoyment - so training could be difficult.

"You just have to dig deep and find motivation."

Last weekend she did some training with others that involved 3km of gravel. She didn't want to go, but is glad she did.

"When you finish the ride you are on top of the world. You just feel good about yourself."

She has no qualms about riding state highways.

"I make sure I wear high vis, with a very good front and back light, and I stay completely on the left."

What she doesn't like is the to and fro cycle lane on Dublin St Bridge, gravel from road works left on the lefthand side of roads, and broken bottles.

No one else in her family bikes, but her daughter is her support driver in the BDO challenge.

Mrs Cain is a keen advocate of the Wanganui Cycling Club.

"It doesn't matter what grade you are in - everybody's welcome. I like staying with the new people, to encourage them, because I know what it's like to start."