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The Rennie family about to embark on their 1300km cycle trip. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

Cycle tour strengthens BMX family’s bonds

Watching his friends take part in BMX at his childhood hometown track in Paeroa showed Grant Rennie how inclusive the sport was for all age groups.
Now an adult, not only has he obtained his first podium finish at a major BMX meet – down at the New Zealand South Island Titles in Christchurch – his wife Sonja and four children are all racers themselves.
They recently completed a mammoth 1300km feat by cycling from Hamilton to Christchurch for the competition on January 7 and 8, but it was not without its roadblocks.
A fire broke out at a storage building the very night the family handed in their BMX bikes, helmets and clothing.
“We considered just going to Wellington because touring was our number one thing – and without our bikes and all our gear, we thought there was no way we were going to do [the South Island champs],” Grant told The Profile.
“But that night, we had an amazing response from the Christchurch community… and so the decision was made for us. We had to get there.”
The family – made up of Grant and his wife Sonja, as well as children Morris, 13, Jared, 11, Nessie, 10 and Perrine, 8 – all performed well at the competition, which made the trip well worth it, Grant said.
“Nessie came away with a fifth in her class; Sonja got a fifth as well, and I was very fortunate to get my first ever podium at a major meet and came away with a third,” he said.
It took 26 days for them to reach their destination, and Grant said not only had the sport of BMX strengthened family ties, but being off the beaten track had, too.
“The best part about it for me was the fact that we got to spend 26 days together as a family with no other distractions. I wasn’t going to work, the kids weren’t going to school… we just did stuff together,” Grant said.
It’s not the first time the Rennies have done a cycle tour of this proportion.
They’ve also ridden from Cape Reinga to Hamilton, and along the way, they rode the Hauraki Rail Trail from Kaiaua to Te Aroha.
With Grant and Sonja both originally hailing from Paeroa, Grant said they often came back to participate in local meets at the BMX track on Taylor Ave.
But the family’s two-wheeled adventures aren’t stopping anytime soon.
“We’ve done Cape Reinga to Hamilton, Hamilton to Christchurch: there’s only one logical conclusion to this,” Grant said, “and the kids are already asking how long it will take to get to Bluff.”