‘I need extra padding’

Broadcaster Paddy Gower’s saddling up in Queenstown next month to help raise money for the Lakes District Air Rescue Trust.

Among the other 99 riders tackling the 230km Chopper Bike Ride, which ends in Invercargill on May 10, are former All Black and Westpac ambassador Richie McCaw, his wife, Black Sticks champion Gemma McCaw, 2012 Olympic gold medal-winning rower Nathan Cohen, and seven members of the Lakes District helicopter crew.

All funds raised will go to the trust to support its life-saving work — last year, the Lakes District and Otago Regional rescue helicopters flew 2123 missions between them, saving countless lives with rescues and medical transfers.

Gower reckons he ‘‘must be crazy’’ to commit to the ride.

‘‘It is brutally long and starts at a ridiculously stupid hour in below freezing temperatures.

‘‘I know it is going to cause me issues — I will need extra padding in the bike shorts.

“But it is absolutely vital that we raise money to keep the rescue helicopter out there, so it can keep saving lives of people of the Deep South.

“I love the people of Otago and Southland and I want to help keep them safe.

“If that means slogging my guts out on a bike, so be it.”

This year’s ride has been dubbed the ‘‘million dollar bike ride’’; organisers hope to raise the $80,000 needed to push the total funds raised since the first Chopper Bike ride, in 2011 which attracted five riders, past the seven-figure mark.

To donate, visit ‘The Million $$$ Ride’ Givealittle page.

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