Olympic speed skater Blake Skjellerup may be more comfortable on skates but the openly gay athlete will be cycling from Melbourne to Sydney next week while training for the 2014 Winter Olympics.

Based in Melbourne for his training, the 27-year-old will ride about 900km in seven days with just one rest day planned.

The New Zealand-born ice skater is pledging to donate half of any money raised to the Christchurch Earthquake Children’s Trust (CECT).

In a YouTube video, he said he was excited about the ride but also “a little apprehensive” about the weather.

Skjellerup said his pledge to the CECT had already begun and would run until he finished his bike ride, expected around Sunday, June 24.

He is also an ambassador for the Federation of Gay Games with fellow Olympic athlete Matthew Mitcham.

Skjellerup came out publicly in 2010 and is one of few openly gay athletes, such as Matthew Mitcham and Michelle Ferris, in the region.

The Gay Auckland Business Association began an online fundraiser this year to assist Skjellerup with his training for the 2014 Olympic Winter Games to be held in Sochi, Russia.

He began speed skating at the age of 10, has broken national records in New Zealand and came 16th at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada.

DONATE: www.givealittle.co.nz/cause/blakeskjellerrupforgold

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