Cycling trip to give young Tauranga man his wheels

Nick Dowson, left, and the team meet Nathan. Supplied photo.

Nick Dowson's return to bike riding has been fraught, with a first-day crash and magpie attacks blotting the path.

However, the cause he has chosen to cycle the 3000km route from Cape Reinga to Bluff in aid of will keep him in the saddle for the duration of his trip.

Dairy farmer Nick and his friend Josh Wheeler embark on their journey Monday, January 31, with the hope of providing Tauranga resident Nathan with the wheels he needs to get by.

Nathan has cerebral palsy and is reliant on mobility taxis to get around. Having his own wheelchair-accessible vehicle could dramatically improve his quality of life.

Nick is happy his initially reluctant intrepidness is going to benefit a good cause.

'Taking the month off to cycle the country is a bit of a selfish activity,” says Nick.

'So we thought we better do something worthwhile with it.”

Nick spoke to his sister Jane, who works at Support Net, a Tauranga-based disability services and support service, and asked if she knew of anyone who needed a boost.

'Hands down she said that Nathan is our guy,” says Nick.

Nick has been texting with Nathan, who communicates through eye gaze, and this week got to meet him for the first time. Nick and Josh will also swing by on Monday, when their adventure begins, to say farewell.

'Considering the cards he has been dealt he is a pretty inspiring fella,” says Nick.

'He is so grateful and keeps his chin up and is a pretty impressive young guy who just wants to live his life like anyone else.”

Nick had not cycled for 45 years until he started training in July. Supplied photo.

The training has been treacherous for Nick. He ditched a bike into the water on the Omokoroa Cycle Trail on his first day back on two wheels. He has also been the victim of an aerial threat on his regular training trips along Esdaile Road.

'I do get attacked by a magpie on a regular basis,” he laughs.

'I guess it must be their nesting period because every time I went near there he just gave me absolute assholes attacking my helmet.

'Walkers were going by and he took no notice of them I think he just took a bit of a disliking to me. He bloody hated me.”

Nick's training pitfalls will pale in significance to the toll the trip will take on his body. However, Nathan's situation and the positivity around it will put things in perspective.

'It will actually help us get through the trip,” Nick admits.

'If my bum, which I suspect will be the biggest problem, if that gets sore I can think at least I can get up and walk around. Nathan has to deal with that the entire time.”

Esdaile Road has proved a tricky training spot, with magpie bombardments commonplace. Supplied photo.

Nick and Josh, who will be accompanied by Josh's father Rodney in a support vehicle, are hoping to raise money that Nathan can use toward buying his own wheelchair-accessible van.

'If Nathan has his own vehicle he would then employ someone to drive it for him and it gives him a bit more control over his life,” says Nick.

The team, which originally also included Nick's brother-in-law Andre who had to pull put due to work commitments, have been helped on their way by Koops Cycles. They built the bikes for the tour and gave Nick and company tuition and advice on maintenance.

Nick is grateful for their help, and others, with donations already promised should they reach certain points on their journey. Although Josh, ten years Nick's junior, appears to have inspired more confidence.

'I have a friend who, for Josh, is giving him $100 for the first four towns and on the sixth, he will top off and give us 500 dollars each,” Nick explains.

'But I only get $5 for the first four towns. I only get the rest of the money when I get to Bluff, so I guess he is hedging his bets.”

For more about the ride visit the Givealittle page here or the Instagram page at two_cyclists_and_nick.


Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to make a comment.