Accessibility Skip to Global Navigation Skip to Local Navigation Skip to Content Skip to Search Skip to Site Map Menu

Cycling professors finish their ride

Tuesday, 24 November 2020

cycling professors image
An early group of Phantom riders on arrival in Nelson: Professor David Lont, Chris Latta, Richard Fogarty, Neil O’Fee, Steve Rate and Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Enterprise) Professor Richard Blaikie.

Made it! With those two words Otago's cycling professors celebrated the completion of their 1400km fundraising cycle tour for Pūtea Tautoko, the student relief fund.

After slogging over the Lewis Pass on the penultimate day, the final day was a shorter final run to Nelson (a mere 120km!) for some well-deserved toasted sandwiches and coffee.

“We’re pleased to be here. Everyone’s a bit tired and there’s a few injuries and niggles picked up along the way,” Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Enterprise) Professor Richard Blaikie says.

He and his fellow professors Gerry Closs (Zoology) and David Lont (Accountancy and Finance) spent nine days on the road cycling from Dunedin to Nelson via the West Coast as part of a larger team of riders and support crew from the Phantoms cycling group.

“Hopefully this gets into people’s psyches that giving and fundraising are good. If it’s around an event or an achievement, you can also use the goals you set to help someone else.”

They posted regular updates on their Givealittle page detailing their adventures in the saddle as they cycled ‘coast to coast to coast’, twice, through some of the South Island’s most spectacular scenery.

The route tracked the spine of the Southern Alps, crossing five passes along the way.

“Arthur’s Pass was the really hard day where we had a blustery headwind going up some very steep climbs. But, apart from that, we were blessed with the weather. There was no persistent rain or horrendous conditions to deal with, which was great.”

The sense of shared purpose helped them push through the tougher sections, he says.

“There was that camaraderie of a group setting out to achieve something and getting it done.”

Professor Blaikie enjoyed the flight home as he had window seat and was able to pick out some of the sections of the route.

While the hard work is over, their fundraising page will stay open until the end of November.

“Hopefully this gets into people’s psyches that giving and fundraising are good. If it’s around an event or an achievement, you can also use the goals you set to help someone else.”

Ride stats

Total Distance = 1419 km

Total Time (in saddle) = 50h 22min

Av Speed = 28.2 km/h

Total Climbing = 14,886 m