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Sideline support . . . Albury School pupils line up to cheer on the riders during the Central South Island Charity Bike Ride last year. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

by Greta Yeoman

South Canterbury cyclists are counting down the days to next month’s Central South Island Charity Bike Ride.

Ride chairman Max Munro said almost 120 riders had signed up for the three-day ride, which circles from Timaru, through Tekapo and other Mackenzie townships and back to Timaru.

The event would run from February 21-23 and about a quarter of those riding would be taking part for the first time.

“We’re really happy with that response.”

Riders will loop from Timaru to Tekapo to Kurow and back to Timaru over the three days, clocking up about 380km by the time they arrive back in Timaru.

The charities set to receive funds raised through this year’s event are the Mid and South Canterbury YMCA, Hospice South Canterbury, Moreh Home in Fairlie, the Life Education Trust, Alzheimer’s South Canterbury, MS South Canterbury, Heart Kids South Canterbury, K2 Youth, and Presbyterian Support South Canterbury’s Family Works services.

Mr Munro hoped this year’s ride would add to the more than $1.7million raised for South Canterbury organisations since the ride began in 2005.

He said volunteers from all of the groups receiving money from the event took part in the ride, and members of a Timaru-based offshoot of the Rapid Relief Team helped provide the meals throughout the event.

“They’ve been a huge help to us,” Mr Munro said.

For now, however, it is all about preparation as the countdown to February 21 begins.

Mr Munro said riders had been taking part in weekly group training rides and were all continuing their pre-ride fundraising efforts.

“It’s such an exciting time of the year.”