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Cancer Society’s Tranz Alpine Scooter Safari attracts 250 riders for this weekend’s event

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Participants of the Tranz Alpine Scooter Safari riding through the Southern Alps.

Affectionately known as “a pain in the butt with purpose”, Cancer Society’s Tranz Alpine Scooter Safari is being held this weekend.

More than 250 riders will push their 50cc scooters to the limit as they tackle the Southern Alps, riding from Christchurch to Hokitika, on Saturday.

The 250km fundraiser ride started in 2009 when a group of mates needed a way to support their scooter-enthusiast friend who had been diagnosed with bowel cancer.

Participants are asked to raise a minimum of $500. However, most go well beyond this. The annual event typically raises around $300,000 in total.

Riders will travel more than 250km during the Tranz Alpine Crossing this weekend.
Riders will travel more than 250km during the Tranz Alpine Crossing this weekend.

Although it features “pimped” scooters, costumes and high energy – it’s a gruelling scooter endurance test. Previous events have involved snow, hail and gale-force winds and the discomfort of sitting on a scooter seat for 10 hours.

Bridget Chamberlain has taken part six times.

The 33-year-old was born with a mild brain injury, meaning she can’t drive a car. Having driven a moped scooter for years, she was eager to give it a go.

Chamberlain was 21 years old for her first safari.

“We live in Sheffield, and one day I just saw all these scooters zooming past. I wondered what it was and found out later it was the Scooter Safari and they were headed for Hokitika. I told my parents I had to do it next time,” she recalls.

Bridget Chamberlain has participated in the Tranz Alpine Crossing six times.
Bridget Chamberlain has participated in the Tranz Alpine Crossing six times.

Her grandfather Kaye is the reason she takes part each year.

“He was always there for me, encouraging me to give everything a go and not let my disability slow me down or prevent me from taking part in things,” she said.

Kaye died in 2013. Chamberlain now rides in memory of him and to raise money for the Cancer Society, which supported him throughout his illness.

“Yes it’s a fun event and a great challenge but really it’s all about fundraising at the end of the day. My grandad always taught me to be part of something bigger than myself … so that’s why I take part in this event,” she said.

Donations can be made to Bridget’s fundraising page.



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