Back to Blog

Reflections after cycling the length of NZ

All good things, they say, come to an end and so does this ride. I've cleaned my bike and put my gear away, the washing is done and the wind down rides are happening and I'll start dealing with the emails this week. So here is a mixture of final reflections and statistics as I look back....

February 22, 2021

Day 25: Mossburn to Bluff

The route for the last day of this trip: Mossburn to Bluff Distance 135km. No pies but a lovely bowl of soup.  It was lovely to spend the evening with Colin & Lynette. Being in a home makes packing so much easier too. So with an 8am start in mind, we drove off to Mossburn. The forecast predicted a good biking day but proved otherwise with drizzle settling in after half an hour. There was also a light head wind to keep things cooler still. I didn't realise how flat Southl...

February 16, 2021

Day 24: Arrowtown to Mossburn

Arrowtown to Mossburn via Queenstown & across Lake Wakatipu.Distance 139km biking. Ascent 1261m.1 pie at Ferg's Pastries, Queenstown. Best yet!The TSS Earnslaw was due to sail at noon from Queenstown 36km away via gravel bike tracks so I had plenty of time, but my body clock had me awake at 6am. With nothing else to do I packed and did a short loop through the historic heart of Arrowtown. The building style has been kept in the era that the town was initially constructed...

February 15, 2021

Day 23: Lake Hawea to Arrowtown

Lake Hawea to Arrowtown Distance 78km. Ascent 1056m. No pies.The Lake Hawea Family Fishing Classic got off to an early start with the sound of vehicles towing boats down to the launch ramp, waking me before 6am. Crews had been arriving all the previous evening from far and wide for this auspicious occasion. Unfortunately, my tent's sound proof qualities leave a lot to be desired. At least there no mosquitoes buzzing around. While I was slowly packing up, a young Fi...

February 13, 2021

Day 22: Lake Paringa to Lake Hawea

The route for Day 22: Lake Paringa to Lake Hawea Distance 180km. Ascent 2041m. Calories used according to Strava 6429cal Pies 1 at Makarora. Best yet! The decision to stay at Lake Paringa was an excellent one. I was able to get away just after 7am and while the ride to Haast was cool the mist slowly lifted revealing fresh snow on the mountains and clear blue skies. The road was almost deserted and I startled a deer browsing the road side.  I cleared the forest cros...

February 12, 2021

Day 21: Franz Joseph to Lake Paringa

The route for Day 21 (three weeks in!): Franz Joseph to Lake Paringa.  Distance 97km. Ascent 974m. No pies today. I was woken from my slumber at some unearthly hour with the noise of my bike being interfered with. Leaping out of bed I discovered that it wasn't my bike at risk but my muesli bars. A large buck possum was in the process of breaking into my food bag. I removed the temptation and headed back to bed....

February 11, 2021

Day 20: Ross to Franz Joseph

Day 20: Ross to Franz JosephDistance 108km. Ascent 808m. Pies 1 in Harihari 9/10 Today's forecast wasn't great, but it wasn't meant to be windy. I procrastinated too long so didn't leave Ross until 9am. Shane the 70km/day guy left before me after a 4 day stay to recover his energy, mine seems to be fine... so, turning on my rear light I head off down the main road....

February 10, 2021

Day 19: Kumara to Ross

The route for Day 19, Kumara to Ross. Distance 103km. Ascent 1159m. Weather - Rain heavy for a time, with gusty northeasterlies. Showers later. In some ways it is easy to make an early start when not in a tent. Packing up is quick & easy, but getting out of bed isn't. Muesli with an Up 'n' Go is forced down as I pack, making sure that the things that must stay dry, will. It is not cold but my top hasn't dried overnight and the first part of the trip is reasonably flat, so it ...

February 10, 2021

Day 18: Reefton to Kumara

Reefton to Kumara. Distance: 133km. Ascent: 1604m Pies: 1 at Ikamatua, very average, but needed 5/10. I had heard that the first part of today's ride was a challenge so was a bit apprehensive about it. At least there was no rain. I was on the road by 7am, so I didn't need to rush and it gives me options at the end of the day. My plan is to stay in Greymouth, but heavy rain is forecast for tomorrow so I may change things. The 4x4 track started about 10kms in and was ...

February 9, 2021

Day 17: Murchison to Reefton

The route for Day 17: Murchison to ReeftonDistance: 120km. Ascent: 1349m.The Lazy Cow backpackers where I stayed is clearly feeling the lack of international travellers. Apart from the Japanese woman on a working holiday visa who runs the place there was one other person, another cyclist who had also come from Nelson but was heading over to ride a classic route nearby called The Old Ghost Road. The clean but gaudy accommodation costs $5 more than camping but provides so much more,...

February 8, 2021

Day 15 & 16: Nelson to Murchison

Distance  10 +146km. Ascent 1467m. Pies: 1 from mum & 1 at Wakefield. While I felt that I could carry on, and with rain forecast in a few days time, it was tempting to hit the road without a break, but family are important - although I wasn't able to see as many as I would like. The bike is holding up well with only minor adjustments needed; Mike has space & the tools needed so a full shop service wasn't required. My body is holding up well too. The biggest concern...

February 7, 2021

Day 14: Picton to Nelson

Today's route is Picton to Nelson Distance 99km. Altitude gained 1680m. 1 pie in Pelorus, 8/10 After sitting on the ferry for 3 hours then a relaxing evening with Iona, my sister in Blenheim, I'm feeling a bit lazy and today is to be a sub 100km ride too. Iona dropped me back where she picked me up yesterday.  It looks like rain, so good biking conditions. It is also quiet with no ferries having arrived....

February 5, 2021

Day 13: Featherstone to Wellington

The route for Day 13: Featherstone to Wellington. Distance 89km by 11.30am! There's a big hill between the Wairarapa and Wellington regions. My mind is planning on catching the 4pm ferry to Picton. But wherever that competitive part of our being resides (heart?) it is quietly aiming for the 1.30pm sailing. It's like an app running in the background, surreptitiously influencing decisions until suddenly it's possible. I've been well fed, watered & rested at Aidan's place (pictured below), th...

February 4, 2021

Day 12: Palmerston North to Featherstone

The route: Palmerston North to Featherstone Distance: 162km, 20km gravel road. Ascended: 1474m.Pies: 1, in Masterton & it was very average.The plan today was straightforward, if not long. Ride to my brother Aidan's farm near Featherstone.  Stash the trusty steed & stay at his place near Carterton. It was nice to share breakfast with Jeff, although we just didn't have enough time to solve the problems of society. I got away by 7.30am to tackle the 250m climb over the Pahi...

February 3, 2021

Day 11: Vinegar Hill to Palmerston North

The route for Day 11: Vinegar Hill to Palmerston North. Distance: 128km. Ascended: 1935m. Pies: 1 in Ashhurst. Departing after camping is more complex than from home... Tent fly & ground sheet are damp and it's cold, so I don't want to take off my warm clothes. I'm very ordered, so everything has its place. Clothes & sleeping bag & mat in the front. Camping gear & camp food in the back. All the rest in the frame bag. Jandals & coat strapped on top. Snacks & map up front. I al...

February 2, 2021

Day 10: Pipiriki to Vinegar Hill

The route for Day 10: Pipiriki to Vinegar Hill. Distance 143km.Ascended 1964m A misty morning greeted me as I surveyed my domain from the basic cabin I slept in. I had been invited to an 8.30am breakfast in honour of the Kennett party, but declined as I like to be on the road early to lessen my time in the sun. The road follows above the river, winding through exotically named places such as Jerusalem, London (Ranana) & Athens (Atene). Jerusalem previously being the home of James...

February 2, 2021

Day 9: Hikumutu to Pipiriki

The route for Day 9: Hikumutu to PipirikiDistance; bike 94km, jet boat 32km.Altitude gained 1959m, lost 2151m.1 pie eaten.It is nice to wake up in a bed after a hard day previously, even if it was at 5am. My washing was dry so I only needed to eat & pack. It is cool out so  I choose my vest, which I don't shed until 2nd breakfast time. I realised that I missed people yesterday so being a long & fine weekend there should be some people out.  I have 2 plans for the da...

February 1, 2021

Day 8: Pureora Forest to Taumarunui

The route for Day 8: Pureora Forest to Taumarunui. Distance 111km. Altitude gained 1638m No pies eaten but I got a pizza in Taumarunui. The morning dawned cool & clear. My gloves were still wet so to keep warm I wore my rain jacket until 11. I had a 400m climb to the top broken by the all important place where there was mobile reception. I wrote yesterday's blog & sent it to Nat to update, getting going again to warm up. ...

January 30, 2021

Day 7: Cambridge to Pureora Forest

Route for Day 7: ABS Lodge to Pureora Forest Distance travelled 140km. After a fantastic sleep at home, Glenys dropped me back at the lodge, and lo & behold as I'm loading up my trusty steed, Fred comes barreling down the road. I thought I would catch him anyway, so great to have company again.  I know this section of trail well, it's pretty flat so we're in Arapuni for second breakfast in no time. There were 2 notable highlights for me today. The first was a young couple&nbs...

January 29, 2021

Day 6: Miranda to The ABS Lodge (Cambridge)

Route for Day 6: Miranda to The ABS Lodge.  Distance travelled 140km. Altitude gained 347m.1 pie eaten for second breakfast. 1 Cornish pasty for lunch. I can report that the hot pools were bliss to the tired muscles and the mozzies were repelled by the repellent. My new found cycling companion, Fred & I decided to try to avoid some of the predicted heat & wind by starting the day’s ride at 6am.  A good move, but I do need to eat something before I start. No problems as I carry muesli...

January 28, 2021

Day 5: West Auckland to Miranda

The route for Day 5: West Auckland to Miranda Distance: 133km. Altitude gained: 1244m. Pies eaten: 2. It took some time to recover from yesterday's ride. I slowly drink but struggle to eat, despite Sarah cooking a delicious shepherds pie.  Eventually the body bounces back as refuelling for the next day is vital.  I wasn't great company to begin with but Lucas's charm and interest in my bike helped. A good sleep, coffee, feed and lovely company had me ready to be dro...

January 26, 2021

Day 4: Paparoa to West Auckland

156km travelled with 2579m ascended. The early start I hoped for was postponed somewhat as I shared a room with some enthusiastic mosquitoes who kept me awake while they looked for a feed. I doubt they found me satisfying but it didn't stop them trying.  The day was broken into good sized distances between towns. The first up was Maungaturoto,  but due to a recent visit by a covid infected person I rolled on by. I did spot the interesting sign in a paddock and wondered when Jesus ...

January 26, 2021

Day 3: Trounson Kauri Park (Waipoua) to Paparoa

The route for Day 3: Trounson Park to Paparoa. Distance 103km, 1230m climbed.Glenys had booked the night in a container with outdoor living located up a steep gravel path. Boutique or rustic could describe the place. The place did have an outside bath which we had managed to half fill with tepid water so I could soak my aches away. It was comfortable; but the walk out delayed my start, as it was too early for the owner to collect me with her 4x4 electric golf cart.  First stop Dargavil...

January 24, 2021

Day 2: Ahipara to Waipoua

The route for Day 2: Ahipara to Opononi via a ferry at Rawene. I woke with rested but tight legs - the day on sand is not something I've trained for.  Traversing the stairs in the hostel loosened them up though. Fueling the body is what will make or break this trip; so a big bowl of muesli with banana & yogurt, all washed down with coffee starts my day. I had made my lunch toastie sandwiches the night before so all there was left to do was pack the last items onto my bike and...

January 23, 2021

Day 1: Cape Reinga - Ahipara

After a 5.30am wake up call we headed up to Cape Reinga, arriving at 7am. We passed 2 earlybird cyclists on the road heading towards the beach. After the obligatory photos at the lighthouse, I bid farewell to Glenys for the 22km hilly ride to 90 Mile beach. The forecast promised light sea  breezes from the south west. I think they underestimated the light bit...Access is via a shallow stream, passing below the towering Te Paki sand dunes . No time for boogie-boarding the dunes tod...

January 22, 2021 Posts 1-25 of 30 | Page next