Almost 2000 people packed a central Christchurch car park building to watch the inaugural Urology Associates Car Park Cannon Ball event on Sunday night.
With a DJ, band and very energetic MC Bevan James Eyles providing a party atmosphere, spectators enjoyed the event’s hospitality as 120 riders battled it out as the sun set over the city skyline providing a spectacular night of entertainment.
“It really was something very special,” organiser John McKenzie from enthuse media & events said. “There hasn’t been an event quite like this ever held in New Zealand and to do it to raise awareness for men’s health and Movember made it even better; it exceeded everyone expectations.”
Held in the eight story Innovation Car Park building many of the male rider’s sported moustaches in support of Movember. The fastest riders took just over a minute to reach the ‘party on the roof’ with racing starting with an individual qualifying time trial before moving on to exciting head to head knock out rounds.
Cyclists competed in male and female fixed and geared categories with Flavio Vianna winning the male geared, Donna Head won the female geared, Abe O'Donnell took out the male fixed and Josie Shum was the best female fixed gear rider. The winners all took home one hundred dollars, a Champion System Urology Associates Car Park Cannon Ball podium jersey, a Kathmandu jacket, SMITH optics and a funky Hipster drink bottle hip flask.
The event was part of the new aBLOC world series, and at this stage is the only southern hemisphere round after two successful events in the Netherlands. The next event in the series is in May in London.
“It was great to see the inner city buzzing with the event with so many people coming down to watch, and many of them weren’t’ cyclists or cycle fans,” McKenzie said. “Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel came to watch and really loved it. We are already planning next year’s event and we know there’s lots we can do to make it even bigger and better. The feedback we have had has been very positive and that’s really encouraging as we think it’s a pretty special formula that makes for a very exciting, energetic event.”
McKenzie said he was passionate about using cycling as a key tool to sell Christchurch as a destination, as the city and region has some of the best cycling terrain in the world. “We have a huge opportunity right now to use unique events and cycling to sell the city as a mecca to ride to attract visitors. There’s a number of cities overseas doing it very well so we as a city have to take the opportunity that’s right there in front of our noses to position Christchurch as the cycling city of the southern hemisphere. If we can, the benefits will be huge.”
The event also featured Dutch craft beer aBLOC, a bicycle beer targeted at the cycling market that is not yet available in New Zealand but was available at the event as a market tester.
“Riding a bloc is a cycling term that means going flat out,” McKenzie said. “aBLOC is made by cyclists for cyclists and it isn’t really a beer at all, but more of a lifestyle brand and it was very well received at the event.”
McKenzie was quick to pay tribute to the Christchurch City Council who provided seed funding for the event and to the events sponsors, saying many of them went well beyond their sponsorship to support the event.
“The support we had was outstanding, with some of our sponsors physically rolling their sleeves up to step up and help out to make the event the success it was. We just couldn’t have done it without the support of Urology Associates, Fulton Hogan, Opus, Hirepool, NZME and Radio Hauraki, Specialized and Chain Reaction Cycles, Kathmandu, SMITH optics, Champion System, Revbox NZ, NZ Cycling Journal and Innovation Carpark Limited/Lichfield Lanes development. Bring on next year."