Shane and Mitch Brookland will be undertaking the Central South Island Charity bike ride together this year.
Mitch Brookland was three years old when his father first tackled the Central South Island Charity Bike Ride – now he’s gearing up to pedal the 385 kilometres alongside him.
The 15-year-old Timaru Boys’ High School student has trained hard and raised close to $900 for a chance to join dad, Shane Brookland, and about 130 others on the annual three-day ride from Timaru, to Tekapo, to Kurow, and back to Timaru.
“I pushed myself more this year and I’m feeling strong enough, fit enough,” Mitch said.
“It will be good fun. It’s quite a cool thing to do, just because of where the ride goes. It’s not every day you get to bike around the Tekapo and Pukaki lakes.”
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The furthest Mitch, a member of the TBHS cycling team, had pedalled was 122kms during one of the charity bike ride’s group training sessions.
He had also completed “a dozen or so” 100km rides, so his main challenge when the ride rolled around would be doing that distance three days in a row.
“There will be a real feeling of accomplishment when I’m in Tekapo, knowing I biked there from Timaru.”
Mitch was “excited” to be pedalling with his father on what would be the senior Brookland’s 12th charity bike ride.
Shane Brookland said his wife volunteered him for his first ride, as she was part of benefiting charity Plunket – but listening to a 12-year-old multiple sclerosis sufferer describe her struggles and express her gratitude to the cyclists was what kept him coming back.
Brookland was even ride chairman from 2014 to 2018.
“It’s about having a good time with a good bunch of people, and raising money for charity along the way.
“There are all cross-sections of the community riding, and very few racers.”
Brookland said Mitch had been keen to do the last ride but “ultimately I stopped him” because he did not feel he was ready.
“Mitch has stepped up quite a bit and got pretty good fitness. He’s built up his power, strength, and endurance.”
Three or four high school students were taking part this year with the youngest, a 14-year-old, pedalling alongside Mitch in the fastest group.
Meanwhile, Mitch’s 11-year-old brother was already talking about doing the ride one day.
“We’re a cycling family,” Shane Brookland said.
The charities benefitting from this year’s ride are South Canterbury’s Hospice, Family Works, YMCA, Heart Kids, Graeme Dingle Foundation, MS Society, Child Restraint Rentals, and Riding for the Disabled.
The ride kicks off from Timaru on February 18, 2021.