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Bicycling . . . Central South Island Charity Bike Ride organiser Shane Brookland said the official inclusion of electric bikes in the ride emphasised the fact anyone of any ability could take part in the charity ride. PHOTO: GRETA YEOMAN

Electric bikes are now officially allowed in the Central South Island Charity Bike Ride.

Bike ride chairman Shane Brookland told The Courier that while “e-bikes” probably would have been allowed in the ride in the past if anyone had asked to ride one, officially confirming their inclusion would again emphasise the all-abilities inclusiveness of the event.

He said there had been several “expressions of interest” from people about taking electric bikes for next year’s multi-day ride, which runs from February 22-24.

Another change in the 10-year-old event, which has raised more than $1million for charities over the years, would be the switching up of the ride’s route, he said.

“There’s nothing like change.”

The ride normally looped from Timaru through to Fairlie and Tekapo, on to Twizel then Kurow, Waimate and back to Timaru.

But this year organisers had decided to do it in reverse – for the second time.

Riders would now go from Timaru to Kurow via Waimate on the first day, camping at various places around Kurow, before tackling the Otematata Saddle in the morning of the second day, stopping at Twizel for lunch.

Cyclists would then travel on to Twizel, past Lake Pukaki and the Tekapo B Power Station and on to the army barracks at Tekapo for the night.

The final day would bring the participants through Fairlie and on to Cave for lunch, before riding through Pleasant Point and back to Timaru.

Mr Brookland joked that last time organisers switched the race route they ended up cycling in a storm, so he was hoping for better weather.

He insisted the 369km journey was for all levels of riders, from 15 to 70 years old.

The ride drew 120 to 150 riders per year, along with 30 support crew.

The event raised more than $150,000 last year, he said.

Registrations for the Central South Island Charity Bike Ride open on Saturday, with an open day at Caroline Bay Community Lounge, 10am to 1pm. Visit www.csicbikeride.co.nz for more information.