By Rosa Kent -
Glistening blue lakes, cascading rivers, and dramatic fiords. Rugged coastlines and subtropical jungles. Breathtaking sunrises and soft golden beaches.
These are some of the sceneries from 3000 kilometres across New Zealand that Gretchen, Heidi, Jen, and Megan will be filling up the end of their summer with this year…by bike!
The team of four – known as team Grit - are setting off on The Tour Aotearoa on 29th January. This world renowned 3000km bikepacking trail will take them from tip-to-tail of Aotearoa in one month – cycling an average of 100km each day.
Team Grit has set up a registry with The Good Registry, to raise money for The Wellington Women’s House while they ride. This charity provides low-cost, temporary housing for women on low incomes or who need a safe place to stay.
Although Jen says the team don’t have a set fundraising target, 40 generous donors have already gifted $2,145 to the registry. “We’ve already raised more than we could’ve imagined!” Jen says.
In preparation for this great feat, Jen spoke with The Good Registry about some of the motivations, plans, and other details for their adventure.
What inspired them to ride The Tour Aotearoa?
Jen says the idea for the trip came from Megan and Gretchen, who called up their two keen cycling buddies to form the team of four.
Megan and Gretchen were previously training for the 2021 BDO Lake Taupō Cycle Challenge before it was postponed due to COVID-19. So, Jen says, the team was looking for another cycling challenge and, “this seemed like the perfect chance. The thought of doing an extreme and physical challenge, and having fun along the way was really attractive to us…We thought, ‘Let’s go hard, right?'”
Where did the team name, Grit, come from?
Jen says they tossed around a few different names amongst themselves and with family and friends. “We came up with some rude ones,” she says. “One suggestion was ‘The Fanny Packs,” said Jen, with a snort. But the team eventually landed on Grit. “Grit is short, tough, and it gives us a boost. The name talks to determination and strength…it encompasses all of our feelings,” she says.
Why is team Grit supporting Wellington Women’s House during their ride?
Jen says the idea was originally posed by Gretchen, who has spent much of her career supporting women in difficult circumstances through her work for Oranga Tamariki and the NZ Police. “Wellington Women’s House support women who are likely facing adversity that we can’t even begin to comprehend. It’s a very well-run organisation for a great cause that we really wanted to get behind,” Jen says.
Why did they choose to set up a registry through The Good Registry?
Jen is a long-time supporter of The Good Registry and says that the Good Gift Cards have always been one of her favourite ways to gift.
“I was really pleased we could raise awareness for both Wellington Women’s House and The Good Registry through this bikepacking tour and get people to go, ‘Oh, that’s a cool thing!” she says. “The Good Registry makes it so lovely and easy for people to make donations and takes the extra work out of it for us.”
Where will they stop off along the ride?
“We’re mostly camping, but we have a couple of hotels booked so far…we have lots of places to stay,” Jen says. “We’re all foodies as well, so we plan to stop for lunches and wine and dine pretty well,” she says.
Who will be cheering them on throughout the ride?
The team has a long list of enthusiastic ‘guest riders’ sprinkled across the country who will join them on the trail, Jen says.
What are they most looking forward to?
“That’s hard to say, it’s such an interesting trip to do, I can’t pick one out,” Jen says.
The trail will take them along tracks you can’t normally see without being on a bike, she says. “Every single day will be completely different…there will be a mix of all kinds of trails and we’re looking forward to the surprise.” This includes coastal trails, mountain bike tracks, backcountry, road biking, and plenty of hills.
Jen says that above all, “We’re really looking forward to supporting our team mates through thick and thin and tackling this epic ride together.”
After the 30-day grunt, Jen says “I really hope we have a bottle of champagne at the end.” Which will undoubtedly be well deserved!
How can you follow and support team Grit’s journey?
Request to follow team Grit’s Facebook page to stay up to date
Support team Grit by gifting to their registry for Wellington Women’s House.