Saturday, March 10, 2018

North City Shopping Centre Good Friday Criterium

It's been quite a few years since I rode past North City Shopping Centre's carpark one Easter, and, having noticed it devoid of cars, wondered how awesome it would be to hold a race there.

Well, my dream is about to become a reality.

Thanks to the foresight of North City's management, I've managed to secure permission to hold an event there this coming Good Friday, 30 March.  The Wellington Masters Cycling Club have kindly endorsed the event, which has helped immensely in gaining permission to race, and others have provided input and assistance, notably WORD's Ashley Peters, and Capital Cycles' Gareth Warnock.

Race on!

The carpark consists of three levels: two covered, and one uncovered.  We'll use the top (outside) deck for parking, and the course will consist of a loop on each of the two covered levels.  Each "lap", riders will descend and then climb the vehicle ramp between the two levels.

This is a fundraising event, and all money collected will go to the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand.

Event programme

The day is going to run as follows:

  • 8am - 9:30am:  course set-up
  • 9:30am:  top carpark and registration desk open
  • 10am - noon:  Fun ride
  • Noon - 12:30pm:  Lunch break
  • 12:30pm:  Kids race on full course top level of course only.  
  • 12:45pm-4pm:   Open races using full course.  MTBs with fat tyres first, followed by B grade men, Vets, Women, A grade men.  
  • 4-5pm:  thanks and pack-up
The fun ride will be open to bikes, scooters and roller blades, and access will be by gold coin donation.  Racers will be welcome to ride the course, but should be mindful of other users, and open the taps only when the course is completely clear.  

The precise programme in the afternoon will depend a bit on demand.  Gareth and I think a maximum field size of 25 riders is appropriate, with a controlled first lap.  The demand for spots will determine the race durations, and we'll try to squeeze in as many riders as possible with approximately 30-35 minute races (think cyclocross, but with no hurdles, and no MUD!)

With luck, we'll have a BBQ running for most of the day with snarlers and hash browns...

Keep an eye on the day's Facebook event for updates.  

Entry fee and process

There is no pre-entry for the Fun ride, nor the kids race after lunch.  Turn up on the day with cash for a small donation.  A gold coin is fine, but more is welcome at your discretion.  If you're racing in the afternoon, you don't need to pay for the Fun ride as well.  

Entry to an afternoon race is a two-step process.  
1.  Register using the Wellington Masters Cycling Club online portal.  Indicate which grade is your first preference, but be aware that I reserve the right to move folk around to ensure as many people can race as possible (e.g. Vet women from Vets to the Women's race, or B grade male to A grade male).  
2.  Make a donation directly to the Mental Health Foundation at my fundraising page.  The minumum donation to secure your place is $25, but of course, you are welcome to give more.  Please mention the North City Criterium in your comment.   

Being involved in other ways

I have high hopes that many who go for a spin around the course in the morning will hang around to watch the afternoon races, and also that people will come down to cheer even if not interested in riding themselves.  Closer to the time, I'll aim to dig out a suitable cyclocross video on youtube to get everyone in the mood.  It should be spectacular to watch, and a decent crowd could create a wonderful atmosphere for the racers.

I'll also need a team of volunteers to help the event run smoothly.  If you're interested in helping, please get in touch via email ( or via comment here, or the facebook event page.

Thanks to...

This event would not exist without the generosity of North City Shopping Centre.  And, its unlikely I'd have had the energy to confront the Traffic Management hurdles to hold an on-road event.  So, we all owe the a huge debt of gratitude.  They're also covering some security guards for the day, and donating some gift cards for race winners.  

Similarly, the Wellington Masters Cycling Club are providing invaluable support.  It's unlikely I could've done without them either.  

WORD is helping with the kids event in particular, and with community liaison in general, saving me a huge effort (and probably doing a much better job to boot)!

Bunnings Porirua didn't flinch when I asked them to donate course marking tape, and a few other goodies.  Nor did Kilbirnie Pak'n Save when asked to donate some food for the BBQ we'll have running during the day.  

Similarly, Capital Cycles have been super supportive and will sort out some spot prizes.  

If your business would like to be added to this list, please get in touch by commenting on this blog.  

Here's the event poster - if you fancy printing it off and displaying it prior to the event, flick me an email for a pdf (and my appreciation).

For a pdf version, email


The concrete has a nice bit of grip to it, and we're able to avoid all but a couple of judder-bars.  The only tight turns on the course are into and off the uphill ramp.  The race course is almost everywhere much wider than a single lane of a standard road.  There are no curbs, but there are very unforgiving concrete poles at regular intervals.  The course will be designed to give you as much width as possible, gentle turn radii, and run-off if things start going pear-shaped.  But, common sense should prevail at all times.  This is not the world-champs.  The winners will be those that turn up and have a good time, enjoying both the novelty of the event, and knowing that the money raised will go to a good cause.   

* * * * * 

This blog describes a fundraising project for the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand.
  • Nearly 50% of New Zealanders will experience a mental health problem in their lifetime, and one in five will have experienced a mental illness this year.
  • Depression is set to overcome heart disease as the biggest global health burden by 2020.
  • The Mental Health Foundation (MHF) is a charity that works towards reducing stigma and discrimination associated with mental illness. We provide free support, training, and resources for anyone who is going through a difficult time, or for people who are supporting loved ones.
To make a donation, visit  Any contribution, big or small is greatly appreciated, and will be put to good use by the fine folk at MHF.

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