Cyclist (88) goes the distance to promote heart first aid

Despite cycling 100km in just over four hours, 88-year-old Peter Grandiek is already thinking about how he will beat his own record next year.

"I’ll be 90 so I’ll have to do 120km."

The Southland cyclist took to the region’s roads yesterday with a support crew of about 20 riders, including ex-Olympians Glen McLeay and Barry Harcourt.

Riding on National Restart A Heart Day, his intention was to raise awareness of the importance of taking immediate action if someone goes into cardiac arrest, as well as raising funds for St John.

A few years ago he set a goal of riding 100km for his 89th birthday, which is on Tuesday.

"I was just going to do it and then it started to snowball ... when I left the house this morning we had raised over $6000 already."

The ride began at the ILT Velodrome in Invercargill at 9am. The team travelled through Roslyn Bush, the Makarewa Junction, on to Branxholme and back towards Invercargill, finishing at the ASB just after 1pm.

Mr Grandiek said while there were fairly strong winds, the other riders looked after him.

"The tail winds, the top speed I think was 48kmh.

"I had great support ... It was a privilege for me to have all those riders with me."

Southland cyclists (from left) Kara Roderick-Wandless, Nicole Avery and Nicola Stevens joined...
Southland cyclists (from left) Kara Roderick-Wandless, Nicole Avery and Nicola Stevens joined Peter Grandiek on his 100km ride around the region. PHOTO: ABBEY PALMER

The Netherlands native, who moved to New Zealand several years ago, returned to competitive track cycling in 2012 at 80, and was often the only one in his age group at events.

Southland cyclist Kara Roderick-Wandless, who met Mr Grandiek through track cycling and rode alongside him yesterday, said he did an "amazing job".

"The first 50km was the hardest but when we turned around we got a good tail.

"These old guys just keep going and they show us young ones up."

Fellow support rider Nicole Avery said Mr Grandiek had had a real influence on cycling, particularly in Southland.

"Pete was my first coach here. He always helps us out so we wanted to do this with him."

St John area executive officer Tracy Kilkelly said the organisation was "incredibly grateful" to him and his advocacy for St John.

abbey.palmer@odt.co.nz

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