Participants can expect spectacular views in this year’s Pedal for Parkinson’s ride. PHOTO/CATHERINE ROSSITER-STEAD

ELISA VORSTER
elisa.vorster@age.co.nz

A record-setting cyclist and champion wool presser from Masterton is embarking on a charity ride like no other this weekend.

Brian Lambert will be joined by 130 other cyclists in Huri Huri’s Pedal for Parkinson’s charity ride tomorrow, which will have the participants take on new ground.

Now in its fourth year, Pedal for Parkinson’s is moving from its usual uphill road race in Gladstone to a 58km mountain bike race from Pahaoa to Cape Palliser Lighthouse, featuring stunning coastal views, a river crossing and an abandoned shipwreck.

“Brian Lambert, who has Parkinson’s himself used to take his mates and do a social ride along the coast, and this year he decided to open it up as a charity ride,” said event organiser, Catherine Rossiter-Stead.

Lambert became a bit of a legend on the cycling scene back in 1984 when he set the record for the 650km ride from Auckland to Wellington, which he completed in 19 hours, 59 minutes and 27 seconds.

His diagnosis, which he received over 30 years ago, hasn’t done anything to hold him back.

“I found that cycling and keeping fit helped deal with the Parkinson’s,” Lambert said.

“It’s a disease, not a life sentence.”

He is joined in his quest by fellow cycling legend, Rod Sutherland, who decided to assist Parkinson’s Wairarapa after his wife, Ruth, was diagnosed with the disease.

Lambert and Sutherland along with many other volunteers have worked hard to make the event happen, which wouldn’t be possible without support from the residents who have generously allowed their private land to be accessed as part of the course.

“A ride such as this doesn’t just appear out of thin air,” Lambert said.

“There have been many people involved, not just cyclists, but other members of the community.”

Among the inspirational participants, is a blind rider who will be on a tandem cycle, a lady with Parkinson’s, and many riders wearing high-vis vests to look after other riders.

The event takes place this Sunday with spots still available through Eventfinda, however, participants yet to enter will need to find their own way to the starting point and from the finish line as all bus tickets are sold out.

The 64km long course starts at Pahaoa and is joined by the short course riders 18km out from Ngawi. The finish line is in the paddock to the right of the Cape Palliser Lighthouse.

Proceeds from the event will be donated to Parkinson’s Wairarapa.