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Cyclists ride 236km for Westpac Chopper Appeal


There were sore legs, sweaty backs and big smiles as cyclists in the Westpac Chopper Appeal sped into Invercargill on Friday.

Having completed a 236km bike ride to raise funds for the helicopter and its services, there were hugs, tears and congratulations all around as riders happily dismounted their bikes.

The 236km ride was a tough day for the cyclists but many were pleased with how the weather turned out, as rain and low temperatures had been forecast.

Rider and Southland  district councillor John Douglas said it had been an excellent ride, though he did down a can of Coke about 30km outside of Invercargill for a much-needed energy boost.

"We love supporting the Westpac Chopper, it's a fantastic cause," he said.

Cyclists-ride-236kmLeaving Frankton at 6am, the group rode in the dark for the first part of the morning.

"We were in the dark till Kingston," Douglas said.

This year's bike ride was the third one for cyclist Hayden Rankin.

Having a tail wind for most of the way had been good, but there were some moments when the weather looked like it might be taking a turn.

"Lunch at Riversdale was looking terrible because it rained as we arrived but it eased off when we left," he said.

The riders  had stops at Garston, Lumsden, Riverdale, West Gore and Waimumu schools along the way before arriving to a cheering crowd in Invercargill at the Westpac carpark in Kelvin St.