Its not an Australian tour, but an Australian man’s incredible solo charity ride through New Zealand and the Cycling Tours Australia team are keen to acknowledge it.
While all focus and attention is on the world’s professional cycling elite during the Tour de France, Australian Cameron Nicholls is completing an equally impressive solo ride on the other side of the planet. From 18 July to 29 July 2017 Cameron will ride the length of New Zealand, from Cape Reinga at the top of the North Island, to Bluff at the very bottom of the South Island, covering 2,417 kilometres in 12 days.
The contrasts to the world’s biggest cycling race couldn’t be more profound: while the professionals will be roasting in the French summer sun, Cameron will be experiencing the worst of New Zealand winter, riding through the mountainous South Island in temperatures as low as -10˚ Celsius.
While the cycling elite are nurtured by their entourage of support vehicles, mechanics, masseurs, doctors and chefs, Cameron will be followed by his wife in a campervan. The average daily distance of Cameron’s ride is 201 kilometres, dwarfing the Tour’s average stage distance of 168 kilometres.
His motivation for this impressive feat is two-fold: “Firstly, I’m just a bit of a cycling fanatic and someone who likes to push myself further than you would think possible. However, what prompted me to do this ride was my 13-year-old Kiwi cousin’s recent diagnosis with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. The illness really shocked the family and motivated me to do something to raise funds for other kids in my cousin Lachie’s situation”, said Cameron.
As part of the ride, he will be raising funds for CanTeen, a charity for young people living with cancer. He has set up a fundraising page for the ride and hopes to bring in tens of thousands of dollars for the New Zealand and Australian arms of CanTeen. The campaign has been named Ride the Long White Cloud after the Maori name for New Zealand, Aotearoa, meaning the Land of the Long White Cloud.
While Cameron spends eight to ten hours on his bike for 12 days straight, his wife and chief motivator Alice will form the one-person support crew. “The original plan was for my wife and I to enjoy a relaxing holiday away from the kids, but I have well and truly ruined that with this ride. Luckily, my wife is always the first to encourage me to follow through on my crazy ideas, so there wasn’t too much convincing to do”, said Cameron.
The itinerary below highlights the extremity of the ‘Ride the Long White Cloud’.
Day 1 – 18th of July; Ride from Cape Reinga to Paihia, (213km), 1,767 m of climbing
Day 2 – 19th of July: Ride from Paihia to Auckland (240 km), 2,375 m of climbing
Day 3 – 20th of July: Ride from Auckland to Rotorua (252 km), 1,220 m of climbing
Day 4 (plan A) – 21th of July: Ride from Rotorua to Taihape (222 km), 1,881 m of climbing
Day 5 (plan A) – 22st of July: Ride from Taihape to Masterton (206 km), 1,550 m of climbing
Day 6 (plan A) – 23nd of July: Ride from Masterton to Upper Hut/Wellington (80 km), 632 m of climbing
Day 4 (pan B) – 21th of July: Ride from Rotorua to Napier (220 km), 2,350 m of climbing
Day 5 (plan B) – 22st of July: Napier to Eketahuna (198 km), 988 m of climbing
Day 6 (pan B) – 23nd of July: Eketahuna to Upper Hut/Wellington (118 km), 803 m of climbing
Day 7 – 24rd of July: Ferry, Wellington to Picton. Ride Picton to Nelson (120 km), 1,428 m of climbing
Day 8 – 25th of July: Ride Nelson to Westport (224 km), 2,322 m of climbing
Day 9 – 26th of July: Ride Westport to Whataroa (242 km), 1,855 m of climbing
Day 10 – 27th of July: Ride Whataroa to Haast (175 km), 1,642 m of climbing
Day 11 – 28th of July: Ride Haast to Queenstown (207 km), 2,552 m of climbing
Day 12 – 29th of July: Ride Queenstown to Bluff (214 km), 674 m of climbing
Cameron Nicholls is a 36-year-old male from Melbourne, Australia whose passion for cycling permeates his life. He is the co-founder of Australian cycling marketplace Bike Chaser, a specialist online Bicycles Sales website, and spends his weekends in amateur races around Australia. He has a strong family and emotional connection to New Zealand, the birthplace of his mother. He is married, with two young daughters.
To learn more about the ride of the long white cloud visit this ride profile page: https://www.bikechaser.com.au/ride-the-long-white-cloud-campaign