Pedal power will generate cash for IHC
Warren Erickson is a beef and sheep farmer from Gore who hasn’t done a lot of bike riding since he left school. That’s about to change.
On 16 February Warren left the farm in his son Nathan’s hands to travel to Cape Reinga. There, he got on his bike to spend however long it takes to cycle to Bluff to raise money for IHC.
His wife JA (Judith Ann) is his support crew. She’s travelling in the couple’s ute, tracking her husband by phone and posting progress reports and photographs on their Facebook page.
Warren says he got the idea for a cycle ride when he and JA were doing a road trip last year, travelling the country in a rental car. Their present project is more ambitious by a country mile.
Now semi-retired from the farm, Warren had the dream of doing a long cycle ride, but he wanted it to count for something. He chose to raise funds for IHC, an organisation he and JA have been supporting for 35 years. Those years have been spent working on their local Gore committee and taking their turns with others to lead the group. Warren is Chair of the IHC Gore Association.
“I want to average a minimum of 100 kilometres a day, but that is dependent on weather. My other concern is traffic. I don’t know the roads in the North Island,” he says.
“The aim is to try and ride every day, even if one day is only 50 kilometres,” he says. Warren has set a target for the first three days from Cape Reinga – 175 kilometres for day one, 180 kilometres for day two and 140 kilometres for day three.
“The ride is approximately 2300 to 2400 kilometres using a road bike – all pedal power,” he says. And he’s been training hard.
Warren and JA have been part of IHC since 1988 when their daughter Hannah was born with Down syndrome. Hannah, the eldest, is supported to live independently in Invercargill by IDEA Services and she has just started a new job sorting plastics with Recycle South.
Hannah has three younger brothers – Nathan, Ayden and Ash. Warren says raising their children was like having several sets of twins, as each of the boys would catch up with Hannah and be at the same stage of development for a while, before going past. “Hannah didn’t walk until she was three,” Warren says.
Ayden, living in Oamaru, is handling the social media posts on the ride’s Facebook page and he plans to cycle a section of the ride with Warren once his dad gets near Oamaru. The family have set up a Givealittle page for donations.
“This is all done by us as a family. We are taking all the costs on board,” Warren says. “All funds raised will go back into the local IHC community Associations, made up of local people who know the local needs of people with intellectual disabilities and their families the best.”
Caption: Warren Erickson cycles into Beaumont, near Raes Junction, Otago, on one of his training rides.
This story was published in Strong Voices. The magazine is posted free to all IHC members.
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