Alexandra pair cycle 30,000km for charity

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EMMA.PERRY

@alliedpress.co.nz

What began as a cycling holiday for one couple turned into a fundraiser through 33 countries.

Cameron Smith and Monique Nees have just arrived in Dunedin after an 18-month journey with only their bikes and each other.

Mr Smith estimates they cycled more than 30,000km, through all terrains and weathers.

From Alexandra, the couple lived and worked in London until their visas expired but wanted to keep travelling.

Deciding to use their trip for a good cause and fundraise along the way, the couple called themselves the “KiwiBums” and chose to support the Life Matters Suicide Prevention Trust.

Mr Smith said the organisation was close to their hearts and personal experiences with suicide cemented their decision.

“We both grew up in Alexandra and especially in small towns, it [suicide] is there but not talked about,” he said.

“For us, the purpose of our trip was not only to raise funds but also awareness for mental health. It’s something that people are often scared to talk about.”

Their trip was full of ups and downs as they cycled higher than Mt Cook and in freezing temperatures.

“We were tenting in China and it was -20degC. It was not the greatest night. We ate loads to try and keep warm and luckily our sleeping bags zipped together.”

The couple, who plan to spend Christmas in Alexandra, are already thinking about their next trip overseas.

To donate go to: givealittle.co.nz/fundraiser/kiwibums

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