THE WHEELS are turning for a keen Tamworth cyclist who has challenged himself to ride 466 kilometres to raise funds for the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service.
Chris Harris is putting his mountain bike to the test for the month of October as he attempts to ride the distance between the Lismore and Tamworth chopper bases as part of the 'Base to Base' challenge.
The fundraiser is a virtual fitness event that calls for people to cover the distance between one of the four chopper bases, with distances ranging from 42 kilometres to 1386 kilometres.
No stranger to a long ride, Mr Harris didn't hesitate to get involved and kicked things off with a ride from Tamworth to Nundle.
"I just finished the Starlight Foundation Bike Challenge where I did 540 kilometres over a month," he said.
"It [the Nundle ride] was quite challenging."
"By the time I got to going up the hill near Chaffey Dam I was done ... but I just kept pushing through."
Having worked in the media in the past, Mr Harris was inspired to take part in the challenge after witnessing some of the atrocities the chopper would visit firsthand.
"There were a lot of bad accidents," he said.
"That's where the chopper comes in.
"It's an absolute godsend for this area."
It's efforts like Mr Harris' that WRHS regional affairs officer Daniel Gillett said are crucial.
"We have always been very proud to be owned by the community," he said.
"It's important for us to have that fundraising because without it the level of service that we are able to provide would not be where it is."
The chopper provides world class care and transports the regions best medical personnel to patients who need them most in the fastest time possible.
Tamworth locals are encouraged to participate in any way they can and Mr Gillett said every dollar contributed to the service helps saves local lives.
In just one week, 1000 fundraisers have accepted the challenge and $167,000 has already been raised.