Thursday 28 April 2011

Pushin 'shit' uphill

Nelson the day I rode out
If there is any truth to the suggestion that a person should 'make hey while the sun shines' then I have no hay, my grass has gone to seed and there will be no feed out this year. It has been a character building couple of days to say the least and I have certainly found short commings in my character. I was pushed to my wits end by the incessent wind, the driving rain and the freezing cold temperature and to top it off my bike would be better suited to a scrap yard than an attempt to ride 6000km around Eastern Europe!! Conditions were favourable when I left Nelson although I quickly learnt why tour bikers are so particular about the weight they are carrying. The first hill up to around 100m named Gentle Annie had me swearing and spiting and I wasn't 20km out from home. The Whangamoas and the Rumatuckers were straight forward enough but I took my first tumble on an inconspicuous incline not long out of Masterton. The gusts were coming at my face all morning but this one caught me off guard and completely killed my speed. The following gust simply caught my panniers and pushed me off my bike and over the guard rail. While I was trying to save face and turn it into a sexy dance my front rack caught the rail and snapped the brace at the bottom. Go the cable tie!! I had more chances to get stuck into some bike repairs the following day when I broke a spoke on the back wheel which resulted in 3 more breaking yesterday despite my efforts to remedy the problem. Somewhere in amongst all this I noticed a wobble in the back end and investigated to find the bolt holding the back pannier rack had also sheared off. Off to Mitre 10 for some more long term fix it solutions. Obviously I cant ride a bike with 4 spokes broken so I had the day off in Palmy North to get the wheel rebuilt with a whole set of new and stronger spokes and so far so good ( I have only ridden 300 meters on the new one). Even looking back over the last couple of days I am struggling to remember why it was so challenging but my body is telling me it was. Apparently I have some quad muscles, or maybe I dont and thats why they hurt so much, must be all the pushin shit uphill.

Outside the Tui Brewery. Note the socks on my hands

Yesterday the southerly was pushing me along quite nicely but with the temperature dropping away I improvised with socks on my hands which in itsself was a trade off as gearing and break useage was compromised. Who needs breaks anyway? Add to all this one flat tire and we are just waiting now to have a good day.

Met a couple of the young local riff raf in Featherston and while they were curious of me they kept their distance. That was until the majority left and one young lad saunted over. He produced a bag of raro and throwing some down his gullet he poured the rest over the picnic table I was eating at. What happened next astounded me. As if I was only a fly on the wall he said "Im going to smear this" and proceeded to breakdance (robot and running man) on the now slippery surface. The nice kid asked if I wanted some raro but looked somewhat bemused when I said said I was out of fresh dance moves.

The Dancing Riff Raf Table

Looking over the farm  where I spent many a summer, out the back of the Manawatu I climbed the hay stack and pondered the ride. I feel it is a race between me and the bike to break down first and at the moment the bike is winning. Bum is good as gold unlike the mouse's tail I ran over in a last second avoidance attempt. Heres hoping for some love, sunshine and happiness.


  1. Oh Ben. Things can only get better. I love the photos. Ang

  2. Keep up the good work over there! I hope you've got your woolies on 'cause it looks frikin' freezin'. Keep warm with thoughts of rocky mountain trails and me kicking your ass at Settlers. :)

  3. I love it! only a few days into it and youve had it all, appart from a good day with great weather and no break downs haha.
    Great reading, cant wait for more! go hard ben! - Soph :)