Bikes give good blokes healthy cause

Members of the Phat Bastards biking group (from left) Ash Flannery, Dion Gordon, Dean Harrison, Pete Summerfield, Dayle Jemmett and Matt Fine before the 2019 Longbeach Coastal Challenge.

A group of like-minded sports enthusiasts are jumping on pushbikes, enjoying regular rides and giving back to mountain bike groups in Ashburton and Methven.

The fun-loving, social group known as the Phat Bastards was started up in 2019 by local businessman Dean Harrison.

It’s grown from a few mates that were persuaded biking was a good low-impact way to exercise and be sociable at the same time, into a group now numbering 40.

Riders enjoy Wednesday night rides on the Ashburton River Track and also tackle trails at the Mt Hutt Bike Park.

An upcoming four-day trip by group members to the North Island will explore the redwood forests and tracks around Rotorua by bike.

The group features mostly local business owners and includes Matt Fine, Greg Lysaght, Pete Summerfield, Ross Leadley, Andrew Morgan and a number of Jemmetts.

Mr Harrison said Phat Bastards were a group of mates getting outdoors and having fun. “We’ve all been involved and are still involved with the likes of cricket, rugby and squash clubs, but we’re not a club. We’re also not bikers, although some of our group are pretty useful, but we’re having a lot of fun together and getting out on the trails.”

Each ride was usually followed by a beer, food and a good chin wag, but there was no business talk. There was a mini bus for more sociable gatherings and one recent get together in Methven had featured upwards of 70 people, including wives and children.

Mr Harrison, known in the group as the “general”, said there was no visible lycra allowed and no e-bikes, although the e-bike rule had been relaxed of late.

The Phat Bastards supported Mountain Bike Ashburton and Bike Methven with donations of $1000 each annually and were very happy to answer the call to help the clubs at track working bees, he said.

The group has an average age in the mid-40s and riders sometimes go out two or three times a week.

By Mick Jensen