The rules – my route must begin and end in Auckland and must take in the (broadly recognised) most northern and southern points of the islands, Cape Reigna and Bluff respectively. In addition, I must carry with me all of the kit that I require – no support vehicles, just my legs. In the interest of making things especially tricky for myself, I must not cross land using alternative transport – feet and the bicycle only.
Some people will be aware that I have now actually finished cycling and am actually on my way back to Blighty after a few days in Australia, visiting family and seeing the sights.
It’s a bit of a spoiler as far as the blog goes but I am trying to still keep things in chronological order! This was one of the toughest weeks I faced and I wasn’t even sure I was going to make it through.
One of my favourite things from this week was the silver poplar trees. I can’t remember which day I first noticed them and apparently they’re seen as a weed but I thought the silver undersides of the leaves fluttering in the breeze were absolutely stunning.
On with the blog! Don’t forget to sponsor!
Right! I am really trying to get up to date here but I have let things go to the bad a little! Looking back, I seem to remember this being an incredibly hard week but there were lots of great views and fantastic people. Again, I might not do it full justice but I feel an account of the first few days back on the North Island should be completed nonetheless!
Just to note that a number of people have mentioned to me that this has been one of the windiest summers they have known. It’s my arch-nemesis.
Also, I am at the library and have managed to get a picture of the route according to Garmin.
I have received some lovely questions from children at the school where I teach in London. I haven’t been able to answer all and I thought some might be answered better in person and with photos but I promise to answer any questions when I get back! Thank you so much to the children and teachers involved. You might not believe me but I really am excited to get back!
I can’t see how to embed the video on my phone…
Wow! You’ll have to forgive me if I’m not very accurate on this blog. I’m sure I’ve forgotten heaps of details since I’m halfway up the north island as I write this. One thing I do remember clearly is the wind! Jeepers it was tough.
So, I broke my laptop charger this week and this is a trial using my mobile to blog. Maybe it will help me to be more brief… I doubt it!
A leg that began slowly, feeling rather unwell but that ended with me reaching Christchurch, my friends AND the half way mileage point! Woooooo!
The first downfall of the mobile is that I can’t create the overview route maps, which is a shame. I know my Grandma particularly liked them. Sorry folks.
Well. What a leg it has been – from my hilliest day to my flattest day, my most effective cycling day to my worst. It has been eight days without a stop and I was definitely feeling it by the end. My new friend Neil said he wouldn’t sponsor me without seeing some real human suffering and I definitely feel like I have had that but, to compensate, the generosity of folk has been in abundance.
I do have to say that one thing that has been upsetting me for the duration of this ride is the amount of roadside litter. I’m cycling and I still carry away any litter from food I’ve eaten on the road. You managed to find space for the packaging when it was full – how difficult can it be to take the empty stuff home and put it in the bin?
**Don’t forget to sponsor**
I have been cycling for over a month! This seems crazy to me. It’s one of those situations where all at once I feel as though I have just begun but also like I have been doing this forever. Each day brings with it fresh challenges and entertainment, I feel set in some kind of routine and aware of my capabilities yet I am always exited to see what the next part of the adventure will bring.
This week has been the most diverse so far and I am only a few days away from southern tip of the South Island now! If you are time limited, head straight for the pictures nearer the end of the blog. So exciting!!
Sorry for the delay but I haven’t been able to get internet at all.
Well! It’s been a very industrious week in terms of cycling. The Google map isn’t quite accurate, I don’t think. Though I have cycled 364 miles (ish) this week, I have climbed a massive 24578 feet (7491m). I definitely feel stronger – my legs feel like steel – and I have been feeling more positive generally! AND I HAVE HIT 1000 MILES!!! Hooray.
The overall feeling for Leg 4 is probably wet. I’m not sure I have really had any philosophical awakenings this week. Though I am now contemplating the possibility of short term Warmshowers/Couchsurfing hosts on my return to London while I try and work out where in the city I want to live… Maybe I’ll remember something super exciting as I am typing! It’s probably going to be a bit briefer than previous posts but some fun photos anyway 🙂 I did read this funny article about passing wind whilst running… work for cycling. If so, I should definitely keep eating the dried apricots…
Oops… A couple of confessions or articles missed from the last instalment.
Firstly, I forgot to say about my significant increase in falls in comparison to my rides pre New Zealand. Well. You may remember me saying about being able to unclip as Bree and her husband were proffering ‘Side Challenger Mix’ out of their open window. This was intended to lead nicely into my realisation of my own stupidity. As I began to explain to the travellers the details of my problems, all became clear… ‘it just seems that if I clip in one side, it’s impossible to unclip!’ I began… ahhh. That would be because you bought two sided pedals, dear, but only turned the tension down on one half. Ooops. My old boss, Janet, referred to situations such as these as, ‘talking to Grandma’ – no sooner do you voice the details than you work out the solution. Obviously, I turned down the tension on the remaining halves and have had fewer problems – if my bike is tumbling, I am able to clip out and leave it to its own devices.
Secondly, I completely forgot my milestone! By the time I reached Waitarere Beach, I had covered over 500 miles, over 800km!
Also. I apologise profusely for typos, incorrectly placed punctuation and glaringly obvious repetition of words. I’m under time pressure and also the laptop casually moves the cursor to random places within my writing on occasion and I miss mistakes. It infuriates me when I do cast an eye over previous blogs. I’m sure you’ll forgive me!
I’m going to try and embed a Strava widget on my blog but if you want to follow me, I think you can use this link.
Some notes on the blog – I am converting to legs rather than weeks as I am not sure how many days will be in each! Then I will keep the cycling days numbered consecutively, which will be fun for me! Also, my writing style will vary from blog to blog, paragraph to paragraph depending on the mood I was in as I started tapping away.
Over the week, my mind has wandered and I wanted to note the following things… Do not judge a nation of people by the way its people drive. Silage and manure smell the same here too and it makes me feel such a country bumpkin that the smells make me happy. Anything is possible if the view is good enough. Wind is the most terrifying and challenging of the elements. What goes up must go down, must go up again ad infinitum. Biting creatures love biting me and I am bad at not scratching. ‘Passing lane, 400m ahead’ can roughly be translated to, ‘don’t even think about enjoying that descent, just pedal as hard as you can because we’re going up again soon’. Sometimes, not that much happens and that is OKAY.