What Kiwis don’t know….
The rivalry between New Zealand and Australia is legendary. The reality is that they will mouth off about each other, and tear each other to shreds on the sportsfield, but if one were to come to grief through natural or man-made disaster, like a faithful relative, the other would come running to assist.
Nevertheless, Kiwis were keen to warn me that Aussies would not be as friendly, nor indeed, as generous as New Zealanders……..Now that I’m in Australia, I’m hearing much the same about the Kiwis! It all sounds a bit like sibling rivalry, really.
But I have to say, after only 8 days in the country and 620km of riding, Australia has held out a helping hand and made me feel personally very welcome.
Today, after 82km of riding, I had reached the small coastal town of Marlo
intending to push on another 18km to Orbost, but then serendipity kicked in: a passing local cyclist stopped to chat and, within minutes, had offered me a bed for the night. Would I accept, or keep to plan and push on? Well to keep a long story short, I did accept, was taken to this beautifully situated country cottage
that had bicycles everywhere: in the garage, lounge and on the verandah
…..and I had found my way into a household of cycling fanatics! All of them teachers, Courtney & Al (facing each other) have toured Cambodia together and do a lot of event cycling, and Tim is an Ironman triathlete.
It was great to be fed good cycling carbohydrates and share cycling-related stories that would bore the pants off any normal human being.
Then, of course, I had a guided tour of the bike collection, where carbon, alloy and steel were all in evidence on bikes that performed subtly different roles in different environments: triathlon, cross, mountain track & trail, and road. Quite a collection! I quite fancied one or two for myself……
Thank you guys for the warm reception, and (in the words of an old Irish blessing) ‘may the wind be ever at your backs’!
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