06 Dec, 2021
Local young bike riders will be a little safer on their two wheels this summer thanks to the generosity of a Mangawhai man who still bears the scar of his own childhood bicycle vs vehicle misadventure.
Cafe MAZ owner and community co-ordinator for the ‘Save Our Sand’ movement, Ken Rayward is playing Santa and giving away 55 brand new helmets ‘free of charge for kids to have a safer Christmas’.
“My heart goes into overdrive every time I see a kid riding a bike without a helmet,” he says. “After having taken on a car while riding a bike in my younger years, I know the car or the road always wins!”
Ken’s childhood collision, where he went ‘sailing over the bonnet of a car’ in one clear swoop before landing on his head, also has a curious quirk - the incident occurred on his 13th birthday, on Friday the 13th, and ended with 13 stiches embedded in his forehead!
“All the bone was actually showing and it was bleeding like crazy, the two ladies in the car took me home to my mother and were trying to mop up all the blood with some tea towels,” recalls Ken. “Being a nurse, my mother was also looking after them too as I think they were in more shock than I was… .”
Ken says he bought the helmets from a friend who imports them into the South Island.
“He was moving and they were excess to his needs so I paid a small price thinking I could find some needy homes for them,” he says. “All people have to do is call in at Cafe MAZ at Mangawhai Activity Zone, from December 11, ask for me and collect your new bike helmet.”
As they venture out on their bikes this summer, 55 precious young heads will be safely encased in a free protective helmet, thanks to an early Christmas gift from generous local Ken Rayward. PHOTO/JULIA WADE