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Cycling with the Poor – the adventure begins!

Cycling with the Poor – the adventure begins!

This Monday, January 14, the Cycling with the Poor team will be at Colac Bay, near Invercargill, for the start of their epic mountain-biking journey through the South Island, raising money for World Vision. The group will traverse more than 1500kms of off-road terrain on a custom-built tandem mountain bike, ending their adventure a month later near Nelson. They hope to raise $100,000 for World Vision's Born to be Free projects.

Preparing for Cycling with the Poor has required huge amounts of planning and training for the Pawson family and their support team. Team leader Sean Pawson says that while the team is totally ready for the start of the race on Monday, the last-minute training sessions haven't been easy.

"We got a bit ambitious with some gnarly single-track on a training ride and had our first painful tumble. I took an ugly dive over the handlebars much to the delight of my training partner John, who was stoking on the back and escaped unscathed. Plasters and disinfectant fixed the cuts and a good ribbing sorted out the pride! We decided to back off pushing ourselves so hard and concentrate instead on keeping bike and bodies in one piece."

Sean has spent months plotting the route the team will take and is looking forward to traversing the Southern Alps.

"Just after Christmas, three of us took a flight in a small Cessna over one of the high sections of the route to check it out from the air and get some film footage. Our pilot flew us up one of the narrow valleys towards the mountaintops under a heavy cloud layer. I felt really nervous looking out the window at the side of the mountains slipping by seemingly within reach of my arm," he says.

While the team is busy with final preparations for the trip, Sean says they're all keeping the motivation for the journey in the front of their minds – the money they raise will go to World Vision's Born to be Free projects in India, which help to free children and their families from the cycle of bonded labour and trafficking.

"We had our final team barbecue last night and head down to Colac Bay this Sunday to begin the expedition. We'll dip our feet into the cool waters of Foveaux Strait near Oraka Point early on Monday morning before we throw our legs over the saddle and get riding for the children," says Sean.

Sean's wife Gill and their five teenage children are excited to get going, after months of training.

"I'm looking forward to seeing more of our beautiful country and promoting the work of World Vision. Let the adventure begin," says Gill.

To make a donation to help the Cycling with the Poor team reach their $100,000 target, phone World Vision on 0800 800 766 or visit www.cyclingwiththepoor.co.nz

The Cycling with the Poor team will also be collecting donations from supporters along their route. To view a map of the route and follow the team's progress online, visit www.cyclingwiththepoor.co.nz


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