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Eighty and still racing

Eighty years. It’s a milestone held by a cyclist, his bicycle, and a challenging race across Banks Peninsula. Octogenarian John Winkie is aiming to raise $80,000 for research to help those with debilitating spinal cord injuries get back in the saddle again.


John will be cycling on his trusty 1940s bicycle from Christchurch to Akaroa, to raise funds and awareness for The CatWalk Spinal Cord Injury Research Trust.

Originally an entrant in the now-cancelled Le Race, John will still tackle the course with his cycling buddies.

John’s desire to help came after his biking buddy Jim Dollimore took a debilitating tumble while cycling in February.

“It was a tribute to him and a tribute to the people at Burwood hospital” he says of his close mate’s recovery. He was totally paralysed, but is now back on his feet and on the mend.”

Only ever breaking a couple of bones himself, two more of John’s fellow cyclists have also bounced back from serious spinal injuries, through the amazing help and support they received.

However, some are not so lucky. New Zealand has one of the highest rates of spinal injuries through accidents in the world.

The CatWalk Trust is supporting very promising research worldwide and locally at the Spinal Cord Injury Research Facility (SCIRF).

Every year in New Zealand, close to 80 to 130 people suffer acute spinal cord injury, the majority occurring in males between 25- and 45-years of age.

A global body of very promising evidence is that a cure will be found. John was aware of the funding needed to for this critical research.

East London born, he bought his Duckett Superlite bicycle for his paper round and a London to Wales cycle marathon at the age of 12.

It has since had the gears modified for hill rides, spokes replaced, and it’s repainted black. Immigrating to New Zealand with his wife Maria in 1973, he now resides and cycles regularly in Omaha Beach, Auckland.

“My daughter rode my bike in club races in the ‘80s, but it has since been gathering dust under the house. It was just by chance that it was still hanging around, so I took it out a couple of months ago.”

The superstar octogenarian is a national bike-industry legend, and holds the title of Masters World Mountain Biking Champion, and will be hopefully competing in the Masters Games next year in Japan.

John invented the revolutionary Keywin Speed Pedal when he was General Manager at Franklin Machinery – a twist-out release principle, now a standard by pedal makers worldwide. His innovation is a lifesaver at traffic lights.

The six foot, slim 80-year-old attributes his eternally fit agility to “a very balanced lifestyle, no fads and drawing from the theories of Kiwi Olympiad Arthur Lydiard. I just keep going, I’ve always been naturally damn fit!”

“I’ll be travelling down to Christchurch with our riding group, The Warkworth Riders, and I’m looking forward to meeting up with my old racer buddies in Christchurch as well. I know there will be some really big hills, but I should finish in around five hours, going at a speed of 20 to 25km/h.”

Despite no official race, John will still be a big winner in the race to get people up and out of their wheelchairs.


The Pedal Pusher

Rat Race: The Pedal Pusher

Christchurch is well known for its cycling history. Its flat landscape has always been ideal for recreational riding.


The Pedal Pusher

As far back as the 1870s, cycling clubs encouraged enthusiasts to take to the streets on the new machines. One such group decided one day to ride to the small railway junction of Rolleston. During the trip, one of those riders burst a tyre – a newly invented pneumatic tyre – and ended up taking the train back to town.

Times have changed, but the passion for cycling remains for many. The Pedal Pusher in Rolleston gives a respectful nod to those glory days. It’s a great place to escape the rat race and enjoy a friendly, casual atmosphere that maintains an element of finesse. There’s a great gastro-pub menu and a spectacular line up of beers, wines and cocktails. Located in South Point, in the heart of Faringdon, The Pedal Pusher is the ultimate local.


There is outdoor dining for balmy summer nights, TV screens for sports fans, a kiddie’s corner and cycling themed décor throughout, including the lighting and even the children’s highchairs! It also has a new summer menu and some exciting things on the drinks menu. Slushy and Tiki cocktails, craft beers, and you must try Purple Angel, a Chilean red wine from Montes.

Next month, February, will be Beer Appreciation Night, a chance to sample great Asian street-style food cleverly matched up with a selection of Tuatara craft beers. This and other events at the Pedal Pusher are very popular, and you will need to book via the restaurant’s Facebook page.


The Pedal Pusher is at 55 Faringdon Blvd, and there’s more info at


Southern Lakes Cycling

Trailing behind: set about seeing the Southern Lakes by bike or foot

Autumn is often rated as the most picturesque time of year in the Southern Lakes region, and Queenstown Trails Trust Chief Executive Mark Williams says it’s the perfect season to explore the area by bike or on foot.

Southern Lakes Cycling

With the trees now displaying the full spectrum of golden-bronze to rusty-red hues, mild temperatures and plenty of daylight hours, Mark believes the pre-winter conditions and stunning scenery are ideal for both cyclists and walkers. He’s on his bike most weekends in the 120-kilometre network of trails and tracks that make up the Queenstown Trail. And, after a year in the job, he is more passionate than ever.
“The Queenstown Trail is very multi-purpose,” Mark says. “It’s a fantastic ride experience for visitors from out of town, but also a great commuter trail for residents. With Queenstown under a bit of infrastructure pressure, it means people can use a different mode of transport to get to work. So it serves a wide range of users.”
From April to June, the views along Queenstown Trail are breathtaking. It traverses two impressive suspension bridges, crosses three rivers (the Kawarau, Shotover and Arrow) and circumnavigates Lake Wakatipu and Lake Hayes.
“At this time of year, you get a beautiful mist. It’s pretty spectacular seeing the mountains poking out from the mist. And you get the first snowfalls, so it looks like a dusting of icing sugar on top of the mountains. With the golden trees and snow, it’s a really nice mixture of colours.”
Mark recommends trying Arrow River Bridges Ride during autumn. For more information, visit