Three is the lucky number for a trio of cyclists, including a Rotorua doctor, who are biking around New Zealand on a three-seater tandem bike.
Hinemoa House GP Byrdie Johnstone is one of three cycling enthusiasts who are taking part in a three-week trip from Auckland to Christchurch, raising money for charity along the way.
Dr Johnstone said the ride was the idea of her friend, Richard Steane, a doctor from Christchurch, after he found the bike on Trade Me. He invited Dr Johnstone and their friend Jimmy Griffiths from Nelson along for the ride.
They set off on November 26 and plan to arrive in Christchurch on December 15. "He found the bicycle and thought it would be a good idea to ride it from Auckland to Christchurch. I got roped into it in February and Richard's been doing all the hard work. I chose the charity Big Brothers Big Sisters and I'm doing the Auckland-to-Rotorua leg."
She said she chose the charity because they do great mentoring for young people. "Big Brothers Big Sisters have a great mentoring programme where adults volunteer to be paired up with a younger person of the same sex. It's kids who need one-on-one time with an adult. My brother has been a big brother, I think mentoring is the way to go."
Although she has taken the lead on parts of the journey, Dr Johnstone said it was "tricky" trying to control the three-person bike and she preferred to be at the back where she could admire the view.
"Richard's got a lot of experience with tandems. It's pretty scary actually being the driver. I really like to be on the back so I can see all the views; you can just completely relax and pedal, you don't have to control where you're going. When you're riding with a friend on separate bikes you can't really chat to each other. On the tandem there's no worries about running each other over."
Dr Johnstone will arrive at the Rotorua Lakefront tomorrow, sometime about 5pm, after travelling from Matamata. She would then be going home for a "nice hot shower" and another rider would take her spot on Saturday, leaving from the Lakefront about 9am.
Along the trip, people will have the chance to bid on Trade Me for a chance to take a ride on the bike, for a few hours or a few minutes depending on their preference.
Check out the Rotorua to Taupo leg bidding by searching for auction number 535227227 on www.trademe.co.nz