Shane McNaught is cycling 250km as part of a charity ride but he says it is not about the fundraising.
McNaught will join 60 other riders cycling from Frankton, Queenstown to Invercargill to raise money for the Westpac Chopper Appeal.
It was his employers at the ILT who sent him an email looking for people interested in doing the Charity ride, he said.
"I sort of thought about it for an hour and... well I've got a mate who would have jumped at the chance to do it, and he can't do it."
His good friend Grant Toomey passed away in September 2013 after suffering a stroke.
McNaught remembers the day well.
"He rang me up earlier that day and said he'd done quite well at cycling, cause we would always talk if I didn't go to cycling."
Toomey had a stroke later in the evening and passed away, McNaught said.
That was a hard one to take cause I was actually there, he said.
Toomey, an electrician, and McNaught, a gardener, worked together for the ILT, he said.
They always used to go to the rugby together and they never missed too many matches, he said.
"He was a good mate who was fit and healthy. Loved his cycling, loved his family."
McNaught credits Toomey as the one who got him into cycling.
It all started six years ago with a corporate pursuit challenge, he said.
Toomey asked McNaught if he was interested in taking part in The Corporate Pursuit Challenge for the ILT, he said.
McNaught had no idea that Toomey had been a competitive cyclist in previous years, he said.
McNaught was quite happy to do the corporate pursuit and before he knew it he was buying a bike, he said.
Toomey had got 'a deal' buying two road bikes instead of one, he said.
McNaught bought the road bike, then new gear, wheels and disc wheels, he said.
"It just started from there and it was his idea, but I didn't know he used to cycle many years ago."
McNaught would turn up and race with Toomey, just hang at the back, and maybe do ok, he said.
"He was the kind of guy who would ring up and say lets go for a bike ride, but I'd make excuses."
McNaught would say it was a bit windy, or it looked like it could rain and Toomey would be around in five minutes to go for a bike ride, he said.
"He would always motivate me to go and put some miles on the legs, when I'd be quite happy to go and potter round the home."
Once McNaught and Toomey got going they put in the hard yards, he said.
"That's the kind of guy he was and that's why I want to do it for the chopper challenge. I know he would have jumped at the chance to do something likes this."
After Toomey passed away McNaught stopped Cycling, he said.
"I packed cycling in. It's taken me that long to get back on the bike."
The biggest distance McNaught had cycled was 100km, which he had done twice, he said.
"So 250km is a big challenge for me, so I'm hoping to hang in there and get through."
Hopefully the wind would be behind the riders, he said.
Since he started training McNaught said he has met some really nice people cycling.
He has been out for a couple of rides with the Westpac crew, but does a lot of training alone, he said.
"My wife thinks I'm mad. When I told her why I was doing it she said 'well you better get some training.'"
The ILT is looking at sponsoring him and he has a couple of friends with business interests that are looking at funding him, he said.
"I'm certainly doing it for the chopper appeal but I'm dedicating it to my friend who would have certainly jumped at the chance of doing it."
This year's chopper appeal will be held on May 8.
Photo and article The Southland Times