Tag Archives: New Zealand

Cycle Touring In New Zealand. What’s It Like?

I hadn’t done any research about cycle touring in New Zealand before I arrived here. I didn’t really know much about this beautiful and remote country at all.

First let me tell you the problems I’ve faced, then I’ll tell you what’s good so you’ll be able to make your own conclusion.

New Zealand’s Road Infrastructure

New Zealand, almost uniquely for a developed country, is a hard place to assess from the saddle of a bicycle because Continue reading Cycle Touring In New Zealand. What’s It Like?

New Zealand’s Cyclists Are Crazy!

A few months ago I went for a ride with the local road cycling group here in New Plymouth. As I rode from my house to the mustering point I reflected on the cheery weather and quiet roads. I was recently off tour so I was in good shape, I felt confident in my ability and felt quite fast. Then I remembered a wise saying;  ‘no one likes a show-off’.

If I was going to make friends I’d better just take it steady and settle into the ride, they might not be that fast. Up hills, I thought, I would pretend I was working a little harder than I was and gently encourage any stragglers. Just a bit of first day politics until I got to know people.

A small group of 8, we began at a steady pace whilst we jostled into formation – that was the end of taking it easy. Suddenly we dashed across a few major roads over a roundabout and woosh, we hit a side road at about a million miles an hour and just kept going. The rest of the 50 mile ride I spent desperately tucked into the slipstream of the peloton, furiously spinning my legs in awe of the 60 year old beside me. The only few words I manage to splutter between strained breaths were “wow ‘gasp’ this is ‘gasp’ pretty ‘gasp’ fast”… These guys were serious! They were so serious that in 50 miles they forgot to have a coffee break, a beer stop and lunch! By the time I got home my (until now) secret recipe of chicken and pasta tortillas with homemade mayonnaise and cheese (seasoned to perfection), were steam cooked from sitting on my back in my jersey pocket. These guys even pedaled downhill on the picturesque sections, rather than taking in the terrific views of Mt. Taranaki. Continue reading New Zealand’s Cyclists Are Crazy!

Canoeing the Whanganui River

Rivers have great names around these parts; the Te Henui river snakes around our garden and is just big enough to swim in, for exercise I run alongside the Te Henui to the sea, down to the beach, then across the sands to the Waiwhakaiho river.

The Waiwhakaiho is a larger river than the Te Henui and boasts one of New Plymouth’s proudest constructions the Whale Bone Bridge, and finally last weekend I had the chance to paddle the swollen waters of the Whanganui river that flows through the Whanganui national park in the region of Whanganui (north island, New Zealand) and, unsurprisingly, terminates at Whanganui – the city. The names may sound exotic but as you can see the Kiwis have been very practical in their application.
Continue reading Canoeing the Whanganui River

‘Snow Day’

Ellie and I by the lake on the Pouakai ranges.
Ellie and I by the lake on the Pouakai ranges.

Taranaki doesn’t typically get snow in the winter. I think there was a few millimetres in 2009 or 2010 and it’s still the talk of the town. For the most part this is great news; I can cycle all year round on my road bike and growing veggies in the winter is no problem, etc. But sometimes I miss how beautiful it can be and the childish excitement that probably stems from  the association with ‘snow days’ when I was younger that would force the schools to close and every child would get a bonus day of mischief charging around the park in a hat and gloves. Continue reading ‘Snow Day’

It’s raining in Taranaki…

Ellie and the prestigious Mt. Taranaki.
Ellie and the prestigious Mt. Taranaki.

For the first time since arriving in Taranaki it’s begun to really rain. The odd day is fine of course, but this is a continuous downpour that tends to counter my enthusiasm for a run or ride. Not to say I haven’t tried; I rode with a friend of mine recently, Adam, and it hammered it down for about half of the ride and broke my phone. I thought I’d rather get wet than wear a coat seeing as I was wearing Lyra cycling gear that doesn’t really retain the moisture and dries quick time, but that strategy failed to accommodate the more sensitive needs of my late mobile. Continue reading It’s raining in Taranaki…