New Cycling Southland development officer Nick Longworth has arrived in Invercargill via Twitter.
The energetic Englishman was living in Singapore, organising conferences and events for pharmaceutical companies and contemplating a return home to study for a PhD focusing on the damage done to cardiac health by ultra-endurance events, when he spotted the Cycling Southland vacancy on the social media site.
"I'd always done event work and the main thing is to get more people cycling. I'd do this for free, it's a privilege to be here," he said.
Longworth, 27, was a late but enthusiastic convert to cycling, taking up the sport after university when he found himself desk-bound by work.
He was involved in club racing in Singapore and previously competed in the 3500km Transcontinental Race, an unsupported adventure bicycle race from London to Istanbul.
"The winner did it in less than eight days, which works out to be about 450km a day. There are some killer days in the Alps and you are carrying all your own kit as well. It's incredible."
Longworth has a lot of ideas about ways of energising the local cycling scene and he has been buoyed by the big, noisy fan base he encountered at a Sharks basketball home game at ILT Stadium Southland.
He's keen to provide further coaching courses for local coaches to give them some payback for their volunteer time, and he's keen to market the sport more through social media and develop events at the velodrome.
Many of those ideas will be showcased at the Cycling Southland awards dinner on June 6, where Longworth will be the guest speaker.
Article and photo courtesy The Southland Times