Posted by Ron Taylor
The Rotary Presidents’ Charity Cycle Challenge on Saturday 23 February 2019, offered cyclists the opportunity to take part in a challenging yet fulfilling cycling event with the option of taking on the 160km from Te Anau to Invercargill or a shorter ride of 100km starting from Mossburn.
The idea for this event was instigated by the President Elect’s in June 2017 at one of the changeover nights, when it was revealed that most of them plus the 2 ADG Elect’s rode bikes, so this activity could be the catalyst for a combined Rotary Clubs’ fundraiser. 
 
The event was organised by recreational cyclist Ron Taylor, immediate past president of The Rotary Club of Invercargill South, and this was the second time this fundraising event had been held.   The first year there were 23 riders and $17k raised for charity.

 
As the name suggests there was a focus on the 10 Southland Rotary Clubs in Zones 6 and 7 of District 9980, but it was also open for members of the public to participate.  It was not a race but was a fun, endurance ride so it encouraged members of those Clubs and their families, friends and others to ride their bikes and gain sponsorship for this year’s charity, Hospice Southland.
 
 
A total of 47 cyclists of various ages and experience took part, with 34 of them riding the full 160km from Te Anau.   In the group were 19 Rotarians from 9 of the Clubs, including a number of current or past presidents, with other Rotarians and family members plus Hospice staff assisting by driving safety vehicles, or being photographers and marshals.
 
 
The weather throughout the day was quite pleasant with a gentle tail wind for the first 60km section and mostly blue skies and sunshine.  A lunch stop was held in Mossburn, where we were joined by the other 13 cyclists for the 100km ride, and the day continued along the route to Invercargill without any accidents or incidents.  Dinner that evening was held at Hospice Southland followed by an auction, with proceeds from both activities going into the fund, so a jovial night was held by all that attended.
The total amount raised for Hospice Southland was just over $40k which made the event an absolutely resounding success and it will be held again in February 2020.