On yer bikes, Tony and Luke
MAYBE it was the news helicopter soaring above the riders that dropped a hint to the public this was much more than just another bike ride.
Federal Coalition leader - and the man hotly tipped as Prime Minister in waiting - Tony Abbott came, saw and conquered today's NAB Coffs Coast Cycle Challenge.
The blue Pacific Ocean and the surroundings of Coffs Jetty turned on a pearler of a morning as Mr Abbott joined Nationals Member for Cowper, Luke Hartsuyker, as the highest profile pair of riders in the event.
Mr Hartsuyker said he and his Opposition partner were often seen on their bikes around Canberra and it was only natural to extend an invitation.
"It is well known that Tony is a keen cyclist so I was delighted he agreed to be part of the 2012 ride," he said.
"I registered a Riders On The Hill team which is what the federal parliamentary cycling group is called and all riders on the team will complete the maximum distance.
"The cycle challenge continues to go from strength to strength and raise much needed funds for many community based organisations.
"It has been successful because it offers something for everyone."
This is the third year of the challenge which keeps on growing.
The field left the Jetty Foreshores just after 8am for the first stage to Sawtell.
An appreciative crowd farewelled the competitors.