Actress inspired to ride length of NZ
Sat, 13 Oct 2012 12:38p.m.
Outrageous Fortune actress Aidee Walker is one of a core group of eight cyclists who set out from Bluff this morning to ride the length of the country in a bid to raise awareness of mental health issues.
Walker, who played Draska in the cult television series, said she was so moved by last year's inaugural Ride Out of the Blue and the work of organiser Alison Blyth that she was determined to help repeat that success.
Others will join the eight cyclists, two men and six women, on the 21-day, 2300km ride to Cape Reinga.
"I was so inspired by what Alison and her crew of riders achieved that I was determined to make sure Ride Out of the Blue happened again," Walker said.
"It sure is one challenging and unique way to raise awareness and funds for something that affects so many New Zealanders."
Ms Blyth, a lawyer and mother, was motivated by the death of family members and her own experience of depression to organise the 2011 Ride Out of the Blue, a 27-day journey that raised $30,000 for the Mental Health Foundation.
Mental Health Foundation chief executive Judi Clements said last year's ride was hugely successful in raising funds and in promoting positive mental health messages.
The 2012 riders left Bluff's Stirling Point, the southern-most point in New Zealand, this morning in good spirits and reported around 10am that Bluff to Invercargill had "been a breeze" despite foul weather forecast for the South Island.
They will ride via the West Coast and expect to reach Picton on October 21. Their biggest day will be a 157km slog from Westport to St Arnaud and they plan to be at Cape Reinga by November 2.
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