Charlotte competing in the 42km Graperide Taster event.

The Graperide Challenge


Local father and businessman, Steve Roberts along with his thirteen year old daughter, Charlotte, and colleague Keith Ballisat headed off to Blenheim recently to compete in the annual ‘Forrest Graperide’.

The race, held on April, 7th was a fantastic opportunity for father and daughter to do together what they love, cycling.

Steve, Charlotte and Keith joined around 1,500 other riders on the day to take on the challenge through the stunning picturesque landscape.

This year’s race saw 300 more entrants than last year, when numbers dipped following the 2016 earthquake.

The race offers a range of options for entrants of all skill sets and abilities.

Event organiser Duncan MacKenzie said, “our event is about everyday people proving themselves to themselves.”

For thirteen year old Charlotte, this was her first road event, having previously taken part in several mountain bike races.

It was a sunny warm day for the event which saw Charlotte finish the 42km ‘Taste’ event in 1hr 31min, for second place in the 13 to 18 year-old girls and 43rd place overall from a massive 196 starters.

“It was a fun event, and I am keen to have another go next year. It’s a bit scary at the start with so many other cyclists around, many who have never bunch ridden before,” Charlotte commented.

Fortunately Charlotte, who rides with the Darfield Sunday bike group, was used to riding in a bunch.

“I would like to thank the Darfield group for their support and encouragement, as well for the loan of bikes and other equipment,” Steve said.

Steve and Keith rode in the ‘Graperide’ event, a 100km ride from Blenheim to Picton around the Sounds to Havelock and back to the start. This event was also a qualifier event for the Grand Fondo World Champs (an event for amateur riders).

Steve finished in the lead bunch in 2hrs 34min for fourteenth place overall and third in the 34 to 39 age group.

“It was a good day out and although I didn’t ride as well as I would have liked I was still happy with the result,” Steve said. “Keith took nearly an hour off his time from last year, so that was a great result as well.”

The whole day finished up with the traditional grape crush which is to be made into Rose wine for next year’s competitors.