From Blenheim to Bluff by bike, and still raring to go


A 79-year-old Clutha man has just returned from an almost 900km journey across the South Island on a bicycle.

Kaitangata resident Graham Storer travelled from Blenheim to Bluff over 12 days, and said, ‘‘I don’t exactly know why I did it.’’

Mr Storer’s friend, Les Patterson, who was visiting from Perth, cajoled him to join the adventure.

‘‘Originally, we were going to start in Bluff and go the other way . . .but the wind meant it would be easier for us to go down.’’

Support driver Kathy Renton said, ‘‘I don’t think he will enjoy the attention, but he deserves some recognition.’’

Mr Storer said he took a couple of months to get himself prepared for the trip.

‘‘But it really wasn’t a lot of time.’’

He said the greatest difficulty had been the ‘‘coarse chipped seal’’ on the side of the road for much of the journey.

‘‘I didn’t expect that. I thought traffic would be the biggest pain but it wasn’t too bad.’’
His favourite part was successfully reaching the end.

‘‘The finishing really. It was a big challenge.’’

Mr Storer had spent his entire life in Kaitangata, working much of that time as a farmer, and had no plans to shift away.

‘‘It was emotionally challenging coming near Kaitangata and knowing I still had a way to go,’’ he said.

‘‘But it felt good to push myself.’’

Mrs Renton said the exercise junkie took the opportunity to treat himself to a massage on arriving in Balclutha, before the last leg of the journey.

‘‘I think that loosened him up a bit . . .he was able to carry on to the end.’’

The mammoth experience had not deterred the weary traveller from climbing on to the pedals again.

Having returned to his home last Friday, Mr Storer had already been back on his bike for ‘‘one or two rides’’.