ON YOUR BIKE: A family group takes part in last year’s Cycle Queensland tour of the state.
ON YOUR BIKE: A family group takes part in last year’s Cycle Queensland tour of the state. Contributed

Kiwis come over for big bike ride

A RECORD number of New Zealand entrants will bunny-hop the ditch in September to take part in the 2014 Cycle Queensland Adventure Tour.

When the 1100-strong contingent of riders and support crew arrives in Agnes Water on Saturday, September 6 for the start of the nine-day, 540km cycling adventure, 30 New Zealanders will be lining up for the cycling holiday of a lifetime.

Among the New Zealand visitors will be regular participants, the McCullough family from St Mary's Bay in Auckland, who will be working on their tan lines as they chase the endless summer on Bicycle Queensland's annual spring-time cycling holiday.

John and Tina McCullough will be participating in Cycle Queensland for the eighth time in 2014, while daughter Emily will be lining up in her seventh edition of Bicycle Queensland's annual, family friendly, cycle tour.

"Every year in February I ask the same question, 'are we going to Cycle Queensland this year or are we going to lie on a beach in Fiji?'," Mrs McCullough said.

"Every year I get the same response from Emily, 'Cycle Queensland', so we book early and start anticipating the challenges ahead."

When they first took part in Cycle Queensland, the McCulloughs' daughter Emily was just four and enjoyed an armchair ride in a bike trailer.

When Emily turned nine they bought a tandem bike with 20-inch wheels that could fit both adults and children.

The McCulloughs say they enjoy the relaxed but challenging ride, the new experiences (with wildlife thrown in for good measure), morning tea stops at little schools and faraway places, the ability to switch the mind off from school or work worries and the overwhelming feeling of wellness at the end.

"And last but not least, the tan lines that come with cycling in a warmer climate," Mrs McCullough said.

Cycle Queensland 2014 will start with a 38km loop around Agnes Water and the Town of Seventeen Seventy on Saturday, September 6.

From there it's a pirate's treasure as the ride sweeps through a smorgasbord of Central and South-East Queensland's coastal gems, visiting Bundaberg along the way.

Rest day trips to Lady Elliot Island, the Bundaberg Rum distillery, Bundaberg Brewed Drinks factory and the Hinkler Hall of Aviation will be among the many attractions riders get to visit along the way.

The support crew will put up the tents every day and prepare meals for the riders.