Cycling community grows with public event

BY COLLEEN SHELDON, VOLUNTEER JOURNALIST

The Gravel and Tar Classic draws international riders from around the globe dotted amongst teams attending the Palmerston North cycle event on Saturday, 27 January.

The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) 1.2 sanctioned event has elite riders vying for points which contribute to overall placings at the end of the calendar year.

Three supporting events open to the public attract junior, masters, sportive and arm-chair riders wanting to be part of the action.

A 70km Gran Fondo gives participants an opportunity to experience part of the course with its 2km Valley Road climb followed by two long gravel sectors. 

Race organiser Stephen Stannard advises to practice on gravel prior to the event so riders have a better feel for the surface.

A non-gravel ride which attracts recreational riders is the 30km River Path Challenge which heads out along Napier Road before riding through private land to access the Manawatu River near Ashhurst back to Palmerston North.

As for the arm-chair riders and side-line cheerleaders, The Big Bike Film Night, will deliver action, drama, plenty of humour and a hint of romance during the two-hour short film fest. 

Homegrown documentary “Muscles and Dreams” follows a keen group of men on the West Coast creating New Zealand’s longest continuous single track – The Old Ghost Road, an 85km-long former gold miners’ road from the 1800’s.

“There’s something here for everyone and Palmerston North will bring the cycling community together in a big way to experience our scenic spaces and hospitality,” Stannard said.
Steve Stannard