Nelson man Tom Filmer is getting on his bike to celebrate his 21st birthday. Photo: Simon Bloomberg.

21 rides in 21 hours for Tom’s special birthday


Nelson cyclist Tom Filmer is certain to have some painful memories of his 21st birthday after deciding to celebrate the occasion by riding up the Barnicoat Walkway 21 times in 21 hours.

Riding up the track just once is enough for most recreational mountainbikers, who usually take around 30 or 40 minutes to climb the 451 vertical metres and 3 kilometres from the head of the Marsden Valley to the top of the Barnicoat Range.

But Tom wanted to “do something different” for his 21st and came up with the crazy plan for riding the Barnicoat 21 times in 21 hours. He also wanted to celebrate his birthday by helping a charity and is promoting his 21 ascents ride as a fundraiser for the Nelson Tasman Hospice.

“Lots of people have helped me out with my riding over the years so I thought it was time for me to give something back,” Tom says. “All the charities do a really good job, but we decided on the hospice because all the nurses and people behind it are so awesome.”

Tom will start his charity ride with head lights at 4am this Saturday. He will need to ride around 126 kilometres of the four-wheel-drive track, and climb a total of 9471 vertical metres,  in 21 hours to reach his target – that’s 623 metres more than Mt Everest.

“The fastest I’ve gone up there is around 16 or 17 minutes and I’ve ridden it really hard five times in a row in training, but this is going to completely different. It will be really important to pace myself and keep a close eye on my heart rate so I don’t blow up.”

Tom says he has been training hard for the challenge, completing an eight hour, 150 kilometre ride from Nelson to Takaka and back via the Rameka Track and Kaiteriteri Mountainbike Park late last month.

Tom says he is keen for riders to join him “on as many of the ascents as they like” and is encouraging them to make “a donation per ascent” to the hospice. Volunteers will be collecting donations for the hospice on the day of the ride, but donations can be made online to HospiceCharityRide account number – 12-3040-0572664-51 Reference  TOM.

Tom’s ride is being sponsored by Printhouse Nelson and the Rainbow Rage.