Para-athlete Hannah Pascoe, who was born with congenital glaucoma and lost her vision at the age of 25, along with her tandem bike pilot Kara Roderick-Wandless and support rider Janet Willis, all of Invercargill, cycled into Oamaru yesterday.
Having started at Cape Reinga Lighthouse on November 8, the group have been cycling for 16 days, clocking up 1800km to raise money for blind athletes.
The support team includes "the aunties" — Marcia Te Au Thompson and Ora Barron — and driver Nobby Roderick.
Setting out from Geraldine yesterday morning, they were joined by cyclist Alistair (Red) Burnett and, after battling head winds, made it to Oamaru at 2pm.
"We’ve had an amazing team with us — our aunties, Kara’s dad, we’ve got Red with us today and Janet — and we’ve had a lot of support along the way," Pascoe said.
"You can’t do it without a good support crew," Mrs Roderick-Wandless said.
There had been plenty of highs and only a few lows on the trip, Pascoe said.
They had a minor crash in Wellington and being in a confined space presented its own challenges, but they had found the positives.
The support from school pupils had been a highlight.
At Bulls Primary School, where pupils welcomed them on the side of the road, she met a 7-year-old vision-impaired girl who "just gave me a hug", Pascoe said.
"I was brought to tears."
The cyclists have met groups from secondary schools and spoken about women in sport.
"We’re all mums here and we all work full-time pretty much," Mrs Roderick-Wandless said.
"We’re showing them that you can do it all, if you want it."
The group attended a fundraiser at the Oamaru Club last evening.
Today, they are cycling to Dunedin.
Pascoe and her team plan to finish the tour at Stirling Point, in Bluff, on Sunday.
- By Jules Chin