Friday, September 23, 2011

Cycling Christchurch Waipara Junction

Christchurch - Waipara Junction

So much for an early start!  We got up early and I fitted the cycle computer and lights to Maria's bike, all was well.  The I started loading the gear.  The panniers were fine and I had some space to spare but the trailer was the problem.  What I thought was a few bits and bobs filled the trailer dry bag and had 2 further bags strapped to the top.  But more importantly the weight was ridiculous! 

After a little reorganising so it wasn't quite as top heavy we set off and the weather warmed up to a lovely sunny spring day.  It was quite a tricky navigational day with 30 points on the direction list which lead to the inevitable detours and turned the 65km day into an 80km day.  We averaged about 20kph on mainly flat roads with some wind.  The trailer didn't even feel too bad when up to speed until you hit any kind of incline that is.

We arrived at the campsite 'Sleepers' at 3pm, put the tent up and started dividing the gear in half, half to stay and half to send back to the hostel in Christchurch.  Ok well maybe not half but we have certainly shed several kgs from both the trailers and the bags and I am sure more will follow!  The first of the climbs starts tomorrow.

Sleepers is an interesting place with some of the accommodation in old railway cars, it has a tv room and a kitchen along with wifi and hot showers.  It may not be the Hilton but it sure makes camping in the cold a lot more fun and we pitched our tent for $15 with the use of all facilities.

Tonight will be our fist night in a tent for awhile and the first night ever in our new light weight 2 man tent.  We are used to a nice roomy 4 man+ but then again we are used to a van to drag our kit around, I guesss thats why we started with so much!

20th September 2011

Arrived in New Zealand all in one piece.    The luggage which consisted of 2 bike boxes from a bike shops we passed on the way to LA, the BOB trailer box and a rucksack in a travel bag.   We had to pay excess as one box weighed 32kg and all of the others were close enough to 23kg to scrape by.  Have we got too much gear, well probably but time will tell!

The inventory consists of:

Kona Sutra bikes                                                                               x2

Sunlite Waterproof panniers front and rear                                x2

Bob Yak trailer and dry bag                                                            x1

Big Agnes Lynx Pass 2 tent & foot print                                       x1

Travel tarps light weight                                                                x2

Self inflating roll mats                                                                   x2

Sleeping bags                                                                                 x2

Pillows                                                                                             x2

Bike tools and tubes, first aid kit etc                                         x1

Electricals phone, note book etc                                               x1

Clothes civi and cycling                                                               x2

That still leaves stoves, pans (which we need to buy tomorrow), food and water to add to the list!

The plan for each of us to carry all of our personal gear with the exception of shoes in the panniers.  Most of this fits in the 2 back bags with a dry bag on top leaving the fronts only lightly loaded.  The tent, shoes, food and water will go on the trailer.

Well that’s the gear how prepared are we?  Well we have both put on a couple of kgs in the last 2 or 3 weeks which might not be a bad thing.  We are quite well rested as Vegas and LA kept our exercising down to an hour or so a day.  We’ve put about 1000 miles on the konas since we have had them and about 700+ off road miles on our mountain bikes since May so hopefully we have a good base to work from.

We are staying at Canterbury House Hostel in Christchurch (03 377 8108) which consists of several extra rooms built onto a private house.  Well priced $70 for a double room and has a good backyard to build the bikes up, the guys are also going to store our bike boxes and the luggage we don’t need until we return.

A good tip is to use Steve’s Airport Shuttle (0800 101021) to get from the airport.  Nice guy, took all our gear and us for $15 where the airport taxis wanted $40.  You need to meet him at the Antarctic Centre which takes about 5 minutes to walk from the terminal.

22nd September 2011                         

Well not a good start to writing everyday but my excuse is we haven’t hit the road yet.  We have spent the last 2 days visiting every outdoor shop in the area (and there are loads) searching out the gear we need and no doubt some we don’t.  It is now the night before we leave and the pile of gear to fit on the bikes and in the trailer is ridiculous!  I have 1 cycle computer to fit in the morning before we load up and head off.  The plan is a 66km start to the trip tomorrow maybe a more interesting post!

The big thing I would like to say is how bad Christchurch has be devastated by the earthquakes.  The city is mainly under construction with the centre closed off and many buildings still being demolished.  My heart goes out to the guys in this area.  Although the attitude of those I have met is just knuckle down and get on with the rebuild it seems many have left and unemployment has risen greatly. That said I have not yet spoken to somebody who hasn’t been helpful and friendly.  Let’s hope there is a much brighter future on the way.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Warm Up

Cycle touring in New Zealand, what do we know about cycle touring? Well not alot apart from you cycle from place to place carrying all your gear, I guess that is a start!

Because of this and the huge distance we wanted to cover in the US we started our trip with the aid of a van. The plan was to spend 4.5 months starting in LA and travelling in a big circle visiting National Parks and mountain biking the best trails we could find along the way.  After buying a beat up old van and a trip to Walmart to purchase camping gear we set off.

Now this is all another story as our time in the US draws to a close we have started to prepare for the next leg of the trip New Zealand, with only our new bikes for transport.  Yes new bikes, the old ones went to a new home via ebay, as we found a great deal on 2 2010 model Kona Sutras from a great shop in Salida, Absolute Bikes (thanks guys).  We have also purchased a BOB trailer from a shop in Santa Cruz, panniers from a shop in Estes Park and visited no end of Pearl Izumi shops (thanks to Frances in Gilroy for her help) to stock up on cycle gear.

This blog will cover our final preparations and our trip in New Zealand and, with any luck the rest of the trip in Australia, Thailand and beyond.