Members of the Phantom Riders (from left) support driver Rod Markham (Motueka), David Milne, Rob Cunningham, Neil O'Fee, Chris Latta, Richard Fogarty, Allan Sutherland, Brian Corson, Mark Dalzell, Geoff Anderson, Chris Yeats (Greymouth), Mike Doig and Graeme Buchanan (front) celebrate after cycling 2600km from Cape Reinga to Bluff. Photo supplied.
Eleven Dunedin men were enjoying the comfort of their office
chairs yesterday after spending the past 17 days cycling the
length of New Zealand.
The 2600km journey from Cape Reinga to Bluff had left them,
and a 12th rider from Greymouth, with ''tender backsides'',
group member and Mosgiel resident David Milne (56) said.
''There's been quite a lot of what we call butt butter used
to ease the pain.
''Most of the guys have gone back to work today and I would
say the office chair would be a lot more comfortable than
sitting on the saddle.
''It surprised us that we got sore backsides because we ride
all the time.
''We put in some high kilometres to train for the event and
none of us suffered from the tender backsides, but definitely
on tour they got sore because we were riding day in, day
The group of 47- to 62-year-olds, known as the Phantom
Riders, have ridden two South Island tours and a Southland
tour, and decided to make the gruelling tour across the
country in a bid to tick it off their personal bucket lists.
''The maturity of the group - that's where the bucket list
becomes more important.
''We've all got friends and family who have been terminally
ill. I've got a friend who is terminally ill, and I'm
thinking I can't leave it too late.
''Who knows what's around the corner. This may be my last
''None of us will probably do this again. Do it while you
Mr Milne said the group got its name from its practice of
riding on the Otago Peninsula early on Saturdays - something
the group had done since the early 1990s.
''We're a group of guys that go out early and virtually
vanish before anyone gets out of bed.''
Mr Milne said the tour was gruelling, particularly when they
were hit by the ''once in 100-year'' storm which lashed
Canterbury, and there were times when the group considered
pulling the pin.
The wind and rain was so bad, their average speed dropped
from 26kmh to 12kmh.
''It came in from all angles. Roofs were blown off, power was
out, there was flooding, and I'm thinking, we're riding in
''One of our members said, 'This is nuts, what are we doing
''It had frightened him and that was fair enough, because it
wasn't to be made light of. It was a very scary, frightening
period of time.''
But the group continued, with the help of support driver Rod
Markham, of Motueka, and were buoyed by the philosophy
''tomorrow is another day''.
Mr Milne said the highlight of the trip could have been any
number of the picturesque landscapes they cycled across, but
the group agreed the most memorable part of the trip was
cycling 2600km without any major injuries.
''Overall, the highlight was that we all achieved it. We all
''As a group, crossing the line at the end, a bond has been
created that will never be broken amongst this group.''
The riders completed their tour on Sunday and celebrated by
cycling up Bluff Hill - just because they could.
So would they do it again?
''Unlikely,'' Mr Milne said.