Looking for a different challenge and some fun a West Coast couple riding a Unicycle are amongst the 1100 riders doing the Around Brunner Cycle event on the West Coast this Saturday.
"We've been riding unicycles for around three years now," Alison Dixon from Blackball said.
"It started off when I bought Ben a unicycle as a joke. We've always enjoyed all things wheely so it wasn't long before we were having some serious fun on the unicycle and it became a new hobby. That one joke gift has now resulted in nine unicycles between us."
Dixon says the couple fancied riding Around Brunner because "it's a fun event that encourages everyone to have a go. The route is great and the best way to see it is by cycle."
"We've ridden the course from Kumara junction to Stillwater but none of the Greymouth side, so there's some new stuff for us to look forward to on the day."
They plan on doing half the course each with Alison's husband Ben doing the first leg of the journey to Inchbonnie.
"We have done some training - our weekend rides have been focussed on Around Brunner for the last six weeks. So we've been riding the big wheels on longer road rides instead of bike riding or mountain unicycling (trail riding)."
"It's been a lot of fun and very rewarding in itself. This will be our first event on unicycles so we're really looking forward to it, with just a little apprehension."
Labour party MPs Trevor Mallard and Damien O'Connell have also entered the event which is in its fourth year.
Organisers say the 170 teams and tandems make the event the largest team's race in the South Island. There are almost 700 individuals entered in the recreational ride with a strong field of 50 entered for the elite race, which is the fourth race in the RaboPlus National Points series.
The Subway-Avanti Pro Cycling team has entered Ryan Willis, Eric Drower and Joe Cooper to support team mates Gordon McCauley and Matt Gorter that hope to extend their first and second placed lead in National Points Series.
The experienced Paul Oldlin, last year's surprise winner of the elite race Brent Allnut, recent Vital Signs Tour de Lakes winner James Gibson, and Benchmark Homes riders Josh Atkins, who is currently lying third in the National Points Series, Will Bowman, James Early, Brett Dawber and Alex Frame lead the male elite entries.
Other riders that should feature include former New Zealand representative Joe Chapman, 17 year old adn well performed junior Darcy Ellerm-Norton, Johno Gee and Marc Prutton who is returning after a serious recent crash.
Karen Fulton, Jeannie Kuhajek, Sia Svendsen, Aimee Burns, Cathy Hamer and Laura Thompson lead female elite entries.
Organisers are keen to encourage local Greymouth businesses to be open on Friday and Saturday nights and Sunday morning to take full advantage of the extra numbers in town.
"The cyclists all have supporters with them, and we have been encouraging local them to stay the weekend meaning there is a great opportunity to local cafes and restaurants to do really well out of the event," Event Director Coulter said.
"Adding to the weekends activities is a Sunday morning recovery bunch ride and an evening function."
Around Brunner covers 130 km starting and finishing in central Greymouth.
"It is a good honest West Coast workout that anyone can do," Coulter said.
Competitors can enter online at www.aroundbrunner.co.nz. Entries close tomorrow.