One of the great things to come out of Wairarapa’s Huri Huri Bike Festival is the celebration of all things biking and that includes personal achievements both past and present.
Brian Lambert is a cycling legend in Wairarapa. He retains a claim on the record for the fastest non-stop cycle ride from Auckland to Wellington, a journey he undertook in 1984 on his beloved aluminium-framed Vitrus bike, in just 19 hours, 59 minutes and 27 seconds.
He is a stalwart of the sport having cycled for 60+ years, was also the owner of Masterton’s Lambert Cycles until it became Avanti-Plus a few years ago. The veteran rider can frequently be spotted as part of the support team assisting national cycle promoter Jorge Sandoval with his international road cycling events.
Now into his golden years, Lambert still likes to tackle the region’s toughest hill climb, Admiral Hill in Gladstone. What’s really remarkable about his determination to take on the 18km climb, is the fact that he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease more than 15 years ago.
“At this stage of my Parkinson’s, I’m having trouble balancing,” explained Lambert. “But on the bike I don’t need to worry about anything.
“With Parkinson’s, exercise is better than taking a bottle of pills,” he said.
Next summer, Huri Huri will be into its third year and the festival has been a wrap-around event for both Sandoval’s Women’s Tour of New Zealand and the New Zealand Cycle Classic. Local cyclists warmed up the roads for these top international events as part of the cycling festivities, and nominated Parkinson’s Wairarapa as their charity of choice in honour of Lambert’s achievements and continuing contribution.
For the last two years cyclists have converged on the Gladstone Vineyard prior to Stage Four of the professional race, to ‘Pedal for Parkinson’s’: a fun ride that includes 18km, 45km and 72km options, culminating in the infamous Admiral Hill climb.
Naturally, the fiercely-independent Lambert once again took to his 30-year old Vitrus bike to take up the challenge.
Pedal for Parkinson's looks to return in 2017. Keep an eye out on our facebook page: Facebook/HuriHuriBikeFestival.