Unicycling through Molesworth Station

Department of Conservation —  24/01/2018

Endurance sportsman Lee Griggs tells us about his attempt to cycle the Molesworth Station on a unicycle to raise funds for mental health.

Living in the Lower Awatere Valley, I often gaze up the valley in awe of its natural beauty, defined by its guardian like figure of Mount Tapuae-o-Uenuku. It’s a valley renowned locally for its picture perfect sunsets.

The Molesworth Station.

The Molesworth Station

Having travelled through the valley once before I have a fairly good idea of what lies ahead when the sun goes down. The Awatere Valley is the gateway to the Molesworth Station, managed by DOC as a recreation reserve.

Lee Griggs learning to unicycle.

Learning to unicycle

Molesworth is also New Zealand’s largest farm station, nearly equal in size to Rakiura/Stewart Island. It’s a place renowned for its extremes. Plummeting temperatures through the winter months and scorching temperatures during the summer, steep hills and vast plateaus. A place where true pioneering spirit was needed to settle and farm the challenging conditions.

This seemed like the ideal place to take on a challenge of my own, a challenge that would get people talking, and help raise awareness for mental health. Something that I had struggled with myself and seen a few too many others struggle with too.

So it was decided. I would ride a unicycle, from Oak Tree Cottage in the Lower Awatere, 182 kilometres over the Gravel Roads of the Molesworth Station to Hanmer Springs. Easy, but first I would have to learn to ride a unicycle.

Lee Griggs learning to unicycle.

Learning to unicycle

And so this is what I’ve been doing for the last 6 months, practice, practice, practice. With two and a half months to go until I take on the trip at Easter, my one wheeled friend ‘Gladys’ and I are well on task to accomplish the challenge. I haven’t set a time I want to achieve it in, this mission was big enough, besides I want to enjoy it, I want to take in the stunning country I will be riding through, not looking at a watch the whole way. I’m expecting it to take between 3-4 days, camping overnight at the DOC campsites along the way.

Molesworth Cob Cottage Campsite.

Molesworth Cob Cottage Campsite

If you wish to follow the progress or make a donation to the Mental Health Foundation, please follow the links below. And if you’re travelling through the Molesworth on Easter weekend, please drive safely as a crazy unicyclist could be around the corner.

Donate to the Molesworth Unicycle

Follow Lee’s unicycling attempt on Facebook. To support Lee with a donation head to the Mental Health Foundation website.

Healthy Nature, Healthy People

Time spent in nature provides positive effects for human health and wellbeing. We’re promoting the connection between the health of our environment and our people through our Healthy Nature Healthy People programme.