Kids’ fun ride buildup to big round-the-mountain race

The kids’ version of the annual, giant Karioi Classic bike race is fast approaching.

The non-competitive fun ride for kids aged 5 to 15 years came about a few years ago because so many youth were keen in taking part in the round-the-mountain cycle race that is held every year on the last Sunday of July.

“We decided to establish the first annual Kids Karioi Classic Bike Ride in 2014 because children from the area kept asking at what age they could participate in the adult version, the Karioi Classic bike ride,” says organiser Keri Bolton Oetzel.

She says she approached Karioi Classic organisers Dirk De Ruysscher and Lisa Thomson and there’s been no looking back. “This is the fourth annual kids’ version of the ride.”

The event, which will be held at Raglan Area School’s playing fields and along part of the Kaitoke Walkway, includes three tracks: a special inside track provided by Sport Waikato for 5-year-olds; a 3km track for 6-10 year olds; and a 6km track for 11-15 year olds.

“This is a fun ride, not a competition,” says Keri.

“The event simply is to provide an opportunity for children to come out and give it a go, and in a safe, cooperative environment.”

Keri says the event, which gets financial support from the Raglan Lions Club, happens thanks to a real community-based, grass-roots effort.

Parents, Lions members and local teenagers all volunteer to help with registration, being track marshals and cheering on the riders as they come through the finish line.

“Raglan Area School teacher Kylie Hollis always brings a group of students who practice for the ride together as part of the classroom curriculum.”

The date is purposely scheduled for during the school holidays so that holidaymakers staying at the campground can also take part.

Inger Vos

*The Kids Karioi Classic bike ride is on Saturday, April 22 (backup date is April 23). The cost of entry is $5. Register at Raglan Cyclery or to race organisers on the day. Registration on the day is at the Raglan Area School Hall from 8.30am to 9.30am. For more information, please contact Keri Bolton Oetzel: ph 027 508 4844.