The Kids’ Karioi Bike Ride is set to become a permanent school holiday fixture.

Organiser Keri Oetzel said the second annual bike ride was postponed in late March due to bad weather and held instead during the first week of the school holidays, which turned out to be a blessing in disguise.

More than 50 young bikers, aged 6 to 14 years, turned up for the non-competitive bike ride, including some from as far away as New Plymouth, Hamilton and Te Kowhai.
Keri said the children were enthusiastic about the ride and some were planning to bring friends next time. “They all said they want to do it again next year.”

The event was promoted on Facebook and at the Raglan Kopua Holiday Park and held this time at the Raglan Area School, with the course taking in the rugby grounds and part of the Kaitoke bush track.

Riders aged six to nine years biked about 4km, while the older children rode twice as far. One enthusiastic parent who was holidaying in Raglan, biked around the course with the children to give words of encouragement.

This year Sport Waikato set up an obstacle course on the field and staff taught riders of all ages some technical skills on equipment such as balance beams and ramps, which was also a hit.
Raglan Lions Club also donated money so that all children who finished the ride received a special Kids’ Karioi Bike Ride water bottle and a certificate.

“It was really neat because some of the kids came out and did the obstacle course, then thought they’d give it [the bike ride] a go and then went right around the course ,” Keri said.

Helped by Dirk De Ruyssche and Lisa Thomson – organisers of Raglan’s annual adult bike race, the Karioi Classic – and a range of parents and teenagers, the whole event was a great family day out.
Keri said next year’s ride would be held during the school holidays, since it had been so successful in attracting riders this time.

Rachel Benn