MP Riding the Talk
MP Riding the
Trevor Mallard, Member of Parliament for Lower Hutt’s Wainuiomata ward, is one politician who likes to walk the talk. Or in Mallard’s case, ride the talk. A devoted recreational cyclist, Mallard can be seen riding to the Beehive most days and racing in many of New Zealand’s recreational cycling events. Next week he’ll be riding in support of the earthquake-torn Canterbury region when he lines up in the Armstrong Motor Group Festival of Cycling.
In just its sixth year Christchurch’s Armstrong Motor Group Festival of Cycling continues on its quest to become New Zealand’s premier cycling event. Scheduled this year for December 4th and 5th, Trevor Mallard is one of more than 1000 riders expected to line up for the annual event.
The 56 year old MP took up cycling eight years to lose a bit of weight. Speaking on BikeNZ’s Ridestrong recreational cycling website – www.ridestrong.org.nz – he talks about losing 16kg, meeting new people from outside his normal lifestyle and even receiving training advice from cycling legends such as Olympic coach Ron Cheatley.
And Mallard isn’t just happy making up the numbers either. Every times he races he wants to improve and last year he placed 15th in the RaboDirect National Recreational Road Cycle Ranking. But this will be the Wellingtonian’s first time at the Armstrong Motor Group Festival of Cycling, where he will compete in the feature 80k Harbour Ride on the Saturday and then back up on Sunday morning in the City Criterium.
There is much to look forward to in 2010 Armstrong Motor Group Festival of Cycling. Several parts of the course were badly affected by the Canterbury earthquakes, but event organiser Simon Hollander says that the cycle-savvy Christchurch City Council have worked hard to make the routes safe for the event.
On day one the 80k Harbour Ride will see recreational riders taking on the spectacular but challenging Lyttelton Harbour bays. The country’s best riders will also take on the same route in the separate Avanti Long Bays Classic. Last year’s inaugural mountain bike option will return, with the 30k course offering options for both experienced and recreational riders. The opening day concludes with the Benchmark Homes Kids Mini Bays, where hundreds of kids aged eight to 14 take on a fun 5k or 10k around McCormack’s Bay, with Olympians and New Zealand champions for company.
On Sunday December 5th the action moves downtown to the Oxford Terrace café strip for the Armstrong Motor Group City Criterium. In an action-packed day, events vary from kids’ events, BMX racing to celebrity tandem races, open events for keen punters to try the Euro-style excitement of criterium racing, to the feature invitational racing, which has been dominated by Kiwi Olympians Greg Henderson, Wesley Gough, Jason Allen and Marc Ryan. Or you can join the thousands of spectators taking in coffee and brunch while they watch some of the best cycle racing you’ll see on these shores.
Entries for the Armstrong Motor Group
Festival of cycling are open now. For more details: www.festivalofcycling.co.nz