Cyclist chalks up a first for her 60th

Waitaki Mayor Alex Familton (on footpath, left) congratulates Dorothea Lewis, of Auckland, on becoming the first person to complete an official tour of the Alps 2 Ocean cycle trail. Photo by Andrew Ashton.
Waitaki Mayor Alex Familton (on footpath, left) congratulates Dorothea Lewis, of Auckland, on becoming the first person to complete an official tour of the Alps 2 Ocean cycle trail. Photo by Andrew Ashton.
While most 60th birthday parties might be stately affairs, Aucklander Dorothea Lewis wanted to celebrate hers a little more adventurously - and becoming the first person to complete an official tour of the Alps 2 Ocean cycle trail seemed just the ticket.

Ms Lewis and seven friends took six days to complete the 312km ride from Mt Cook to Oamaru, and were met on arrival in Harbour St yesterday with a civic reception from Waitaki Mayor Alex Familton and a rendition of Happy Birthday by staff at Tourism Waitaki and the Criterion Hotel.

Ms Lewis said the ride was ''hard in places'' but a ''wonderful experience''.

''I wanted to celebrate [my birthday] by doing something that was a bit adventurous and exciting, and something that felt like an achievement.''

A2O Cycle Tours guide Sara Leadbetter said although the trail was not ''officially open yet'', people were already queuing up to ride it.

''We will be running two trips a month, every month until winter, and half of those are already fully booked.''

A2O Cycle Trail marketing and sales officer Jason Menard said some off-road sections of the trail had still to be completed, but the trail was fully rideable.

''All sections are rideable, but there are various detours on to some main roads.''

He said he would be providing daily updates on the cycle trail and the progress of each section on the A2O website.

- andrew.ashton@odt.co.nz