Tuesday 10 May 2011

A Racing Sardine with a Hairy face

  So, this is the big city, a bit different from the backcountry towns I have been riding through for the past week or so. After Taupo I headed without event through to Papamoa spending a night at Lake Rotoiti on the way. The road wound its way to the coast and the beach at Whangamata before tracing the firth of Thames into the sights and sounds and most certainly the traffic in Auckland.  While there was also a lot of traffic to deal with in Wellington there were lanes and routes put in place to try and keep the bikes and the cars apart but this was not the case in Auckland. So I took a number of different approaches and I found arrogance and knowing I am right was by far the best tactic.  I basically pretended I was a car when I needed to. I question weather or not this will work in a city of 16 million people where road rules are about as popular as Don Brash at Hone’s house.

Rotorua bubbling mud
   In a complete change of fortune I have been riding through beautiful east coast native bush with some amazing climbs and brilliant free wheeling downhills all the while being bathed in lovely north island sunshine. Its true, it happens.  It seems that there are three different reactions that people give me when they discover I am heading to Europe, or for that matter when they find out I have biked from Nelson.  The first and most common is the “you’re crazy, what’s wrong with you, you need to be shot” followed closely by the “wow, that will be a great trip” while hopelessly trying to disguise their complete lack of motivation to do the trip themselves. The third response I tend to get is a really negative “you know Europe is not like NZ”. I don’t know if these people have a distinct lack of adventurous spirit or they cant fathom cycling through a flurry of trucks, cars and busses on the busy streets of crowded cities. Either way it makes me keen to get out there and have a good trip. I was also referred to as a racing Sardine with a hairy face by the lovely clerk at the Kawakawa Bay store.

Whangamata Beach
I have recently been browsing over adventure books written about bike trips to all corners of the world. A couple of note is ‘Cycling home from Sibera’ and ‘The man who cycled around the world’. Both are contrasting in many ways, notably the reason for the trips in the first instance however both stand out in one way as very different from the trip I am embarking on.  That is to say both of the adventurers from the above books were very well organised and knew exactly what they were doing and where they were going before they set out. I feel I am lacking in any real direction once I get to Turkey three days from now. How do I make this better? I have no idea. Thus nothing will change and I will figure it out as I go. Oh shit…Im in trouble.

Rainy morning at Lake Rotoiti
 Doris is running at about 80% but I have every intention of sorting her out before we leave. I gave her the old spa treatment, cleaning and oiling her up, making sure she was all happy after running though all the crap wet weather tends to bring. I have decided to replace the front tire as it is starting to show some wear cracks and I don’t want a repeat of the blow out in Napier. Something tells me I will have trouble finding what I need in a Turkish Bazaar. 

A good piece of advice.
Best of luck with the next part of the ride and may your spokes stay strong and your wheels spin true!  Seb Jones

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