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?
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.
Yey! A rest day! Well… I did cycle just over fifty miles today but it really did feel like a rest. Hooray!
What a difference a day makes! Despite staying up late to get a couple of blog posts sorted out, I had a great sleep and woke up feeling refreshed and still hungry! I’m conscious that my phone is stupid and I’m not getting any good pictures, so instead I am going to supplement the beautiful views with random pictures of me in the tent… sorry about that folks!
*pictures tomorrow* *Donation Link*
So… My longest ever ride! 83.9 miles and two countries taken in. I have to say that it felt good and it was stunning. I felt slightly cheated out of those last 1.1 miles, though. I should have turned around and pedalled a little bit more, just to add up to that magical 85 miles!
So far, riding my bicycle for a long way has mostly been about eating. This morning was no exception and I managed to consume an unhealthy amount of carbohydrates before nimbly boarding my steed. Onwards, onwards and into the unknown!
“Freedom camping has been outlawed in New Zealand.” These were the upsetting words I heard so long ago that I have forgotten their source. The words which have seen me frustrated, looking at holiday parks which cost around £20 for a single night and wondering how on Earth I was actually going to be able to fund this trip. And also thinking I would miss out on views like this:
Oh internet, for I assume it was you, how you failed me with your false words. Now I know it to be true that ‘freedom camping’ or wild camping is perfectly legal! Granted, it is preferred that you are in a self-contained vehicle but it is not a necessity. There are just new laws intended to fine those who ignored the existing guidelines. Read on to discover my findings.
I don’t really know where to start with this weekend, but I do know that a couple of things held true: Use your clips! That’s what they’re there for. Every time I remembered this stalwart piece of advice, I performed better. It really does help. Secondly, nothing feels as good as sealed tarmac after a few miles of off-road activity. I would also like to take this moment to post a full retraction to my earlier pants verdict. They’re out. It’s a commando life for me. Hey! I might even buy some chamois cream soon!
This weekend saw me take to the roads (and bridleways) of Dorset for a spot of cycle camping. The rides were short in comparison to my recent training rides but I didn’t want to overdo it with all of my luggage. It has been one of the most incredible weekends and has helped me remember to enjoy every second of my training.