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Fri, 6 Mar 2009 – Current events in my two-wheeled adventure

July 1, 2009

I am currently passing the time in Christchurch awaiting spare parts for my bicycle – about a third of the component parts need to be replaced. It’s been an eventful few weeks bicycle-wise. Since I last wrote I took to the road on my bicycle with all my current possessions plus borrowed camping gear. Here’s a quick run down on the happenings on my cycle tour:

Half hour on the road and reduced to 16 gears, day 2 after being rained on for 2 hours and a few miles from my destination my tyre had a 2.5 inch split and I was rescued out of the rain by sympathetic Kiwis with a truck and warmed up with hot chocolate. Day 3 I was let into the local mechanic’s workshop to find my own spare parts and enjoy the luxury of decent tools. Day 4 I whizzed around a forest and enjoyed sunny weather. Day 5 I chose to ride over a very hilly mountain pass and drank all of my 3.5 litres of fluid before my destination and wondered why I was so shattered. Day 6 my rear wheel had loose spokes that I had to tweak, day 7 my front mech’ (the thing that moves the chain) breaks and I am now reduced to 8 gears! Day 8 I find a garage to weld the brokenness so I have 16 gears back. Day 9 is a gorgeous day cycling round Lake Pukaki with views of Mount Cook, it’s a shorter ride but I am terrifically tired and the wind is against me, I nearly set the camp-site on fire trying to fry some sausages. Day 10 I ban myself from bicycle and instead fail miserably at Sudoku. Day 11 I am soaked after half an hour on the bike but have another four hours to ride and both my cranks (the bits with the pedals on the ends) decide to make a bid for freedom (thankfully I have the appropriate tool to tighten them). Day 12 it’s also pouring but a fellow cyclist with an estate car gives me a lift to my next destination. Day 13 I attempt to do a day cycle trip to see Rakaia Gorge but a second rear tyre splits a mile or so from home so it’s a long walk back. I enjoy some Dutch hospitality instead and then day 15 I attempt to head through the Canterbury plains on my handy folding road tyres but something is wrong with my rear rim and so I have to put my fat mountain bike tyre back on the rear wheel which is more forgiving and after chatting to a local farmer on the back lanes I finally make it to Christchurch. At present a third of the bicycle will be replaced as soon as my rescue package of spare parts and chocolate arrive from England (thanks to my brother who perhaps feels a bit guilty that the parts he gave me broke?). See the photos for the scenic parts of the journey.

I have had a lot of fun in Christchurch meeting lots of people but I also missed close friends terribly. I have been quite tired and in need of a familiar face, a comfy sofa and a friendly hug. To make up for lack of the aforementioned I have been making myself busy! I am a little bored of prose for now so I thought I’d put together some interesting and hopefully fun statistics from the last few weeks:

Odd objects spotted on the side of the road (aside from the normal beer bottles and squashed possums):
Teaspoons: 3
Odd shoes: 2
Odd Wellington boot:1
Odd ladies leather boot:1
CDs:2
Sunglasses:1

Typical daily intake of food on a long ride day:
Breakfast: Porridge and banana, 2 slices of toast with peanut butter and jam/jelly
Lunch: Sandwiches with cheese spread/peanut butter (4 slices of bread)
Snacks: Apple, banana, snickers bar, rocky road slice/some other delightfully sticky creation (the Louise slice is very nice), 2 cereal bars – minimum
Dinner: At least a one and a half-sized portion of a good hearty balanced main meal (or something and chips from the local take-away if particularly tired and hungry)

Nationalities of folk met and talked to:
14 Natives of NZ, 3 Australians, 6 Canadians, 7 Germans, 2 Swiss, 4 Swedes, 1 Israeli, 4 English, 1 American, 1 Chilean, 1 Bolivian, 1 Argentinian, 2 Dutch, 2 French, 1 Italian, 2 Danish, 1 Slovac, 1 Polish

Activities:
International Twenty20 over cricket match NZ versus India (NZ won)
Super 14 Rugby, Christchurch vs Wellington (Welly won)
Latin dance workshops and evening show
5 mountain bike rides (yes, even with a failing bike)
2 indoor climbing sessions
3 Couchsurfing meetings (meeting locals who host travellers or other travellers who “surf” their couches)
Chilling in Cathedral square to the local buskers music (check out
http://www.youtube.com/user/craigsmithkiwi)
3 books read

No go with jobs yet. If I don’t find one I will move on to a new place once bicycle is fixed and try somewhere else for a job. The worst case scenario is that I’ll have no money to get home and I’ll have to stay until I’ve earned enough or fly to Australia where the job prospects are better and the pay is higher!

Photo links:

Cycle tour Queenstown to Christchurch
http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=222560&id=847665248&l=c007d54e3a

Fun in Chch
http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=229271&id=847665248&l=7606eaf81e

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