Right, NZ ahoy. This bike trip’s for real…

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Raven ready for ANZ check-in

So, after the disappointment and nerve dramas of the RTW bike ride that wasn’t last Easter, Raven and I (doesn’t it irritate when cyclists anthropomorphise their bikes!) are on our way to cycle the South Island in New Zealand.

And this is also my first attempt at blogging with WordPress direct from my mobile. Hope it works.

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Waiting for the Cirencester bus to Heathrow

Raven is packed up in a big CTC plastic bag, which did the business when I flew her to NZ last year (only to pedal a pretty paltry 60 miles from New Plymouth round Mt Taranaki to Mela’s [Kat’s partner’s] home town of Normanby.)

This time the ambition – having tested knerves and knees on the tandem with Sue through France in the summer – is altogether more ambitious.

Namely to cycle some 1000 miles solo, with 25kg of gear inc tent and cooking stuff, up the beautiful, empty and wildly mountainous (and glacial) West Coast of the South Island, starting in Queenstown on Fri/Sat, and heading gently (and probably wet-ly, as the NZ summer can be very English) for Picton and ferry to the North Island just after Xmas.

There to meet daughter Kat, and Mela, for a week’s slow trail riding around Napier and Hawkes Bay. Oh yes, and three days remote kayaking down the Wanganui river, which is said to be as fabulous as it is remote, or as the Germans say, JWD (Janz Weit Draussen), or in Russian U Cherta Na Rogach (on the devil’s horns).

I.E. even more middle of nowhere than applies to the rest of NZ. Where normal traffic is one car an hour, and a tourist rush is two.

Sue laments that I think I’m still 20. Not quite true, but unlike last time, I’m as confident as I can be (being 62) that this ride will go well.

It’s one of those deathbed tests. You’re lying there breathing your last, or have just heard the bad diagnosis from the doctor (I wasn’t far off that this spring, it felt), and you ask yourself:

– I wish I’d spent more time at the office?
– I wish I’d earned more money?
– I wish I’d packed every week full with clientwork?
– I wish I’d cycled more?

Yes, correct answer.

So – with warm appreciation for those I so rewardingly work with in therapy for their patience while I work through my dreams, and especially for Sue, who keeps the home fires burning at our newly redecorated

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Lovely Mastex lads @ work today on Wychcroft exterior

Wychcroft – here’s heading out.

Hong Kong for first brief stopover, then an ungainly trundle between terminals at Auckland for onward flight to Queenstown. Unfortunately sans my Primus stove fuel bottle, which despite being empty didn’t make it through airport security. (Trace vapours from my last aborted ride would have sent the airport sniffer machines bonkers, apparently.)

Still, delightful Air New Zealand folk are keeping the bottle safe for collection on my return – having confusingly charged me double the necessary for the bike. Swings and roundabouts. Life.

Oh yes – and how might a huge flight back and forth across our heating planet mesh with my passion for awareness on climate change?

Fair question, to which I shall return in posts from the coast.

But at this point, let me just say that I am sadly certain that humankind will prove – is already proving – unable to reverse
our destruction of the ecology that supports our present civilisation.

We as a species are already in the hospice preparing to die. There might be a miracle cure (which I regrettably doubt) but the Looming End is no reason to give up trying to be the best, the most loving and the kindest person one can be. And to have fun.

Posted from WordPress for Android

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