First, just as we’re about to head up the steepest incline towards the 1900-feet high Haast Pass, the gear cable frays so badly in the Rohloff changer that the only way to shift gears is to stop the tandem, for me to climb off and rotate the changer by hand with a spanner.
Then, once over the pass (phew, though with some pushing somewhat easier than Jutta had feared) and thanks to too-heavy pressing by both of us on uphill sections in too high a gear without wanting to jump off YET AGAIN and change down, the power of us two riders so thoroughly wrecks the gear-mount just after Makarora on the run alongside Lake Wanaka that we daren’t even turn the pedals with any pressure at all. We have to stop.
HOWEVER, New Zealand being the friendly place that it is, the very first “ute” as they call them here – utility vehicle, or pickup truck – that comes past with a trailer stops, and a lovely couple from Masterton up on North Island load Daisy on the back, and drive us the 50 remaining km into Wanaka.
Pictures explain it all, at the bottom of this post with captions.
Now, the task is to get the gears repaired – again with luck quickly effected with help, already arranged in typical Kiwi fashion even on a Sunday, from Chris Hodder in Wellington, Rohloff’s dealer down here.
And then, our next challenge is to enjoy almost a week resting in gorgeous Wanaka as the girls catch us up, perhaps retracing our pedals to fill in the gap sans luggage from Makarora once Daisy is retooled, and maybe, even, to take a flight out over Milford Sound when the weather clears on Thursday or Friday.
Yes, it has been a disappointment not to be able to cycle all the way into Wanaka, such a very special place for our family.
But with some 2300 kilometres behind us now, with only about 300 to go to finish up in Bluff, with perhaps twice the height of Everest climbed and barrelled down again, and with both of us at 65 rather chuffed to be able to do this at all, there really is little reason to complain.