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Pedalling for Parkinson’s

Mike Havill - Pedalling for Parkinson's

After noticing some coordination issues in 2012, a then 51-year-old Mike Havill was referred to a neurologist.

A property valuer by profession, a diagnosis with early-onset Parkinson's was the last thing he expected.

Regardless, Mike was still determined to keep working for as long as he could.

Over the past few years, cycling has emerged as a way for Mike to keep moving fast.


Discovering Cycling

Mike on Bike

Mike had been experiencing a steady decline in his movement and realised that cycling would be a great way for him to travel and spend time with his then-teenage son.

“I sometimes struggle to walk in a straight line but don’t seem to have a problem pedalling in a straight line.”

In 2016, Mike first heard about the internationally renowned "Tour Aotearoa" cycling circuit which leads competitors from Cape Reinga in Northland to the Bluff near Invercargill. 

After visiting the trail in 2018, Mike has not looked back. 

Over the past 12 months, Mike believes he has racked up 5,000 kilometres of cycle training to prepare for “Tour Aotearoa” in February this year. 

At the start of the event, he was joined by 1,000 other riders from all over the world. 

By the time his cycling attempt is completed, Mike will have crossed over 10,000 kilometres on his bike. That’s comparable to cycling from Auckland to Santiago in Chile!

Mike has set up a Givealittle page to raise money for both Parkinson’s NZ and the Neuro Research Charitable Trust - https://bit.ly/2IkIVxp


Tour Aotearoa

Tour Aotearoa

”Tour Aotearoa", which runs from Cape Reinga to the Bluff, near Invercargill, is held every two years. 

The circuit is described as a ‘bikepacking odyssey’ that follows a 3,000-kilometre combination of cycle trails, off-road tracks and open country roads.

Starting along Northland’s stunning 90 Mile Beach, participants flank south to Auckland before coming down the centre of the North Island on narrow pathways, lush bush tracks as well as some unsealed roads. 

In the South Island, cyclists head towards the West Coast from Picton, crossing the Crown Range before finishing at Bluff, near Invercargill.

A race such as Tour Aotearoa would be daunting for even professional cyclists, let alone someone who has Parkinson’s!

The clock never stops and there isn’t any outside assistance available during the race.

For the top competitors in Tour Aotearoa, rest is often never an option. Other than brief breaks to catch some sleep, these riders eat on the move and rarely stop to soak in the views.

More relaxed competitors, such as Mike, look at Tour Aotearoa as an opportunity to immerse themselves in the rugged beauty of New Zealand, while also catching up with friends and family along the way.

Regardless, 3,000 kilometres in 30 days is no mean feat, translating to about 100 kilometres of cycling every day!

Bikepacking events such as Tour Aotearoa are often considered to be a race against the elements and terrain, rather than other people.

The levels of endurance and mental fortitude, however, is not found in even the best of cyclists, which explains why typically only about half the people who enter a bikepacking race go on to complete it!

Mike has set up a Givealittle page to raise money for both Parkinson’s NZ and the Neuro Research Charitable Trust - https://bit.ly/2IkIVxp


What Mike Expects

Mike Havill Tour Aotearoa

While Mike is the first person to admit that there are still a lot of uncertainties over how he’ll manage during the event, he exudes a cool confidence over his fitness levels now.

The fundraising aspect of the ride is very important to Mike because he’s determined to help find a cure for Parkinson’s.

Mike has set up a Givealittle page to raise money for both Parkinson’s New Zealand and the Neuro Research Charitable Trust - https://bit.ly/2IkIVxp

We're proud of Mike, and hope that he safely completes the trail as he pedals for Parkinson's!

Update: Mike has completed the 25% mark of his long ride, reaching the famous town of Paeroa on day 8 of Tour Aotearoa. If you were keen to track where Mike is now, use this tracker. Follow Mike Havill on Instagram for daily updates - @mikeonbike2020.


How can Parkinson’s New Zealand help?

Picture of Hand Holding

We offer professional support to people living with Parkinson’s

Our team of Parkinson’s Community Educators develop high-quality medical plans, while also providing in-depth information.

They connect people with Parkinson’s to speech therapists, occupational therapists, and physiotherapists.

Parkinson’s NZ also runs networking support groups and exercise classes, while also offering physiotherapy, hydrotherapy, as well as art/music therapy sessions to members.

"Parkinson's NZ is a non-profit helping New Zealanders with Parkinson's. We heavily depend on the generosity and empathy of Kiwis, so kindly make a donation!"


Get in Touch

Parkinson's Symptoms

If you’d like to contact our charity and avail of our free services, then give us a call on 04 801 8850 today!

If you’d like to show your support to the service we provide to people with Parkinson’s, then please make a donation!

To find out whom to contact and what services are available in your area, simply head over to Regional Support.