Our first glimpse from the Western Access Road of Lake Taupo – triumph at 2000 feet.
Just 60km today, from Tihoi to Turangi, but we did it in style – gently, powerfully, enjoyably, with inspiration and fun. Despite/because of the hard work.
It was as far as we wanted to go, knowing that a big 90-km ride awaits us on Monday morning, first day of Week Three on the Tandem Tour Aotearoa, as we grind up into and through the Tongariro National Park, around one of New Zealand’s biggest volcanoes of the same name.
The view down over Lake Taupo from nearly-Turangi. One weary but pleased stoker.
We’re nearly 800 km into the ride now, and after re-oiling Daisy’s salt-compromised gear cables for her fabulous Rohloff 14-speed integrated SpeedHub (there are NONE better – ask any long-distance cyclist), the tandem is behaving almost as well as her riders.
We’re keeping in close touch with our daughter Katie and partner Mela (fund-raising for a Kiwi young people’s cancer charity), as they await their own start on the TA on Tuesday from Cape Reinga.
They’re among 300 officially-registered riders from NZ and abroad doing the proper tour, including all the difficult off-road mountain-bikey bits we’ve had to avoid because of our weight and length.
Also, as you can see below, Katie’s bike is much more delicately loaded than Daisy, and just admire those 29-inch wheels!
As ever, as to our own 14th day on the road, let the pictures and the captions speak for themselves – and thanks to many friends and colleagues for the enthusiastic comments on how much they’re enjoying travelling vicariously.
Note, however, that just reading this blog does nothing for your thighs. You have to do the trip to get the effect…
Volcanic hotpools at Tokaanu – these ones at boiling point, but the customer-friendly ones a delightful 40 degrees or so – our third natural springs hotpool experience of the trip so far.
They clearly don’t only play rugby in New Zealand. A cricket match spied from above from a winding Lake Taupo road. Note how the boundary is where the grass isn’t mowed. Neat.
Mark wearing his official Tour Aotearoa Merino cycling top, with thumbnail map of New Zealand positioned right on the nipple. Curious lighting effect – and I thought I was losing weight on this trip. Approaching the junction off the Western Access Road that takes us left and east to Turangi.
We get through a LOT of this stuff. Up to eight half-litre bottles a day between us. Means carrying a lot of watery extra weight, as there are virtually no cafes or rest stops on the way where one can buy a drink. Photo also illustrating the excellent Western Access Road along Lake Taupo, cut through the contours to give bicycles a most friendly set of gradients, even if some go on for ever.
More typical North Island riding.
Proudly boiling our first pot of water for cups of tea at last night’s camping spot. A lot of weight to carry for the return on investment, but worth it.
Typical central North Island upland pastures. Daisy proudly at home by now – her picture to round off today’s report.