Category Archives: New Zealand End-to-End 3000kms

You are invited…….

I did a presentation of my Bespoke journey Down Under at Grafham Cycling a few weeks ago, and they liked it enough to invite me to do a repeat, but this time in their branch at Rutland Cycling, Whitwell Carpark.

If you live within striking distance, do come and join us. There will be free nibbles and drinks, a short ride around the reservoir at 6.30pm, followed by the presentation at 8pm on Tuesday August 6th.

See you up the road!Bespoke journey Downunder

A second chance……

We had a great turn-out at the first presentation of  “A Bespoke journey Down Under”, and over £200 given as donations to the Syrian Appeal…..gently nudging our current total up to £7,700. If you missed it and would like a second chance to see it, come along to Grafham Cycling, Marlow Car Park  on Monday May 20th at 8pm. Free admission and refreshments served.

For the keen cyclist, you could also join a group ride around the water, from 6.30pm. Have a bit of fun and exercise, then settle down to hear about the thrills and spills on my ride in the Antipodes.Copy of Bespoke Journey

A bespoke journey Down Under

If you are free, and live locally, do come and join us.

This will be the first of several presentations…….so it may benefit from the freshness that comes with not knowing exactly where the script is going to take me……;0)

Poster Frank V5

Steve and Frank finally meet!

CIMG8983Steve Wesson and I met on the internet, through our respective blogs, and discovered we were doing the same (or similar) route through NZ. He set off a couple of weeks after me, set himself the challenge of doing the most direct route in the shortest time possible, and hoped to catch me in Bluff before I flew out.

Well to cut a long story short, Steve did have a few challenges on the way, didn’t manage to complete the whole distance, but still did cover a huge mileage in the time. For him it will forever be a bit of unfinished business. But it was good to meet up, share the ride back to Invercargill, and sit down over a leisurely lunch. And thank you Steve for the generous donation to The Children InSyria Appeal!

http://www.justgiving.com/Frank-Burns1

Stewart Island

Like many off-shore islands. Stewart Island seems to have its own rhythm of life. Like St Mary’s in the Scillies, the centre of community life revolves around one small township, Oban, and the few roads that exist, radiate no more than 6km from the town centre. In other words, everything of importance should be within walking distance……but you would be amazed at the number of cars on the island.

image

There is even a bus service, a bike hire business, and a car rental service!!

image

I cycled most of the sealed roads on the island, and I still only clocked up 14km

image

but the quality was in the climbs and descents…sharp and unforgiving, but with ‘stop-in-your-tracks’ views over every crest.

image

Despite the beautiful bays and beaches, this is not a bucket-and-spade destination. Reason? The water is cold, even in summer, and it rains for 265 days in the year…but not today :0)

image

This is an old wind-up telephone from the 1920s, still seemingly functional, by the roadside. I tried calling the operator, but it must have been her lunch break……..

image

Stewart Island is a microcosm of the principal environmental problems challenging NZ. Its native population of flightless birds including the kiwi, has been decimated to the point of extinction by predator mammals introduced by emigrants and settlers in the last 150 years. Stoats were introduced to control the rabbit population, but they got distracted by bird’s eggs and chicks. Possums were introduced from Australia for their fur,  but their predation is destructive. So too is the presence of domestic dogs and cats, all of which causes heated debate as to where to find a solution. One thing I can say, following my ride the length of the country: there is a worrying widespread silence, where there should be a cacophony of birdsong. One press article maintained that over 21 million eggs and chicks are lost to predators every year,

which is sending some species into a downward spiral.

image

Flowers on road cones are an expression of solidarity with the people of Christchurch, who are remembering and commemorating the second anniversary of the earthquake that destroyed their city.

image

Tomorrow, back to Invercargill to prepare the bike for its flight to Sydney. Oz, here we come!
http://www.justgiving.com/Frank-Burns1

No bluffing….this is the end!

Invercargill is crawling with journalists. They jump out of the bushes and catch you when your guard is down. Then I discovered there is a school of journalism in the local Polytechnic, SIT (Southland Institute of Technology), and all the students are out there hungry for a good story.

image

Before I set off to complete the final 30km to my destination, I had an appointment at the studios of Cue TV (www.cuetv.co.nz) where I was interviewed by Margot Sutherland, and then followed by a cameraman for some action shots on the road to Bluff. Didn’t know whether to wave at the camera or simply look as if I was suffering with the strenuous effort…… chose the latter ‘cos I didn’t want people to think I was actually enjoying myself!

image

So I eventually get to Bluff (the Land’s End of NZ) expecting to quietly take a few photos and then disappear to Stewart Island. But no……my gracious hosts in Invercargill, Marie, Bryan and Cecily, had made the journey down to be my welcoming party, and to join the little celebration of my completion of the journey.

image

No sooner had the ritual photos been taken, but another journalist jumped from behind a bush clasping his voice recorder. He was a radio presenter from MoreFM, he rattled off a number of questions for which (of course) I had well rehearsed answers, then he amiably questioned the distance I had covered. Unlike the sign on my bike, the signpost said that Cape Reinga was only 1400km away, not the nearly 3000km I had covered. I politely pointed out that 1400km is as the crow flies, and that NZ roads were never designed for avian migration…….and anyway, why would anyone want to take the shortest route? For me, there were too many fascinating diversions.

image

If you look carefully, you might see that London is over 18000km away……but again, that’s for the crows. But they generally don’t stop off in Singapore to re-fuel.

image

I am now on Stewart Island, a one hour high speed catamaran journey from the mainland, ready to spend 36 hours chilling out and eating a bit more of the above.
But let me finish with a few more examples of Kiwi generosity: a couple overtook me on the road to Bluff, pulled over and donated $10; a gentleman gave me another $10 as I was having photos taken beneath the signposts; on Stewart Island, as I was trying to negotiate a discount on my pitch for 2 nights, David (who was accompanying a group of deer hunters) stepped forward and paid my $40 bill as a donation. Only in New Zealand………..
When I get to Australia, I’ll tell all the Aussies just how generous the Kiwis have been……..and they’ll all be so hopping mad that their hands will inexplicably go deeper into their pockets and purses :0) Wouldn’t that be great for the Children in Syria Appeal?
http://www.justgiving.com/Frank-Burns1

Calling Sydneysiders

Calling all Sydneysiders, or people who know someone living in Sydney……..
I will be arriving from NZ at 17.05 on Monday 25th. Any tips on getting from the airport to the city centre by bike, and a good economical place to stay near the centre, most welcome.
I’ll be there for just 2 nights.
Frank

Invercargill: most southerly city in the world

CIMG8914Was I glad to have done the big mileage yesterday? You bet!! A gale sprang up in the night, hailing from the south, and so strong was it, I grumpily got out of my sleeping bag at some unspeakable time in the morning to secure the guy ropes and pegs……….but thanked my lucky stars that I didn’t have to cycle 90km (57 miles) with this gale as a headwind.

I spent the morning doing a bit of relaxed sightseeing, drinking coffee and eating cake, until the scheduled meeting with the Deputy Mayor of Invercargill, Darren Ludlow, Manager of Radio Southland, outside the Town Hall. Within minutes the Town Council’s photographer was there, took the

Marie Teuwen, Darren Ludlow, Deputy Mayor and Jenny

Marie Teuwen, Darren Ludlow, Deputy Mayor and Jenny

the publicity shots……..and then it was time for a bit of lunch.

I am, indeed, very grateful to Marie Teuwen, President of Save the Children (Southland) for arranging the warm welcome, and to Cecily and John Mesman for offering to feed me and give me a bed for the night.

Cecily, in fact, took me to meet her son-in-law at the museum. Lindsay Hazley is Curator of the Tuetaras at the Southland Museum. Now you are all wondering what tuetaras are? Yes? Well don’t be dismayed if you don’t know, because they are a very rare native lizard in this part of the world. So

Cecily bwith son-in-law Lindsay, Curator of Tuetaras at Southland Museum

Cecily bwith son-in-law Lindsay, Curator of Tuetaras at Southland Museum

rare, in fact, that they have to be “curated” in order to secure their continued existence in this world. Lindsay has consorted with famous people in his field, and has also nurtured the existence of “Henry”, a 110 year old tuetara which has been noted to still have the ability to “wow the ladies” and perform……… Just imagine, Henry was born at the time of the death of Queen Victoria, and could feasibly see out two centuries on this planet.

Tomorrow, I will make my way down to Bluff, take the customary photos beneath the signposts pointing to the four corners of the world, then jump on a ferry to go to Stewart Island, the most southerly inhabited landmass this side of the southern hemisphere. At that point, I will truly have finished my journey.

Children of Syria Appeal: www.justgiving.com/Frank-Burns1

Tuetara

Tuetara

Henry, 110 years old!

Henry, 110 years old!

Lindsay with David Bellamy

Lindsay with David Bellamy

The family of bears that will be sharing my bedroom tonight!

The family of bears that will be sharing my bedroom tonight!

Big cycling day…

Manapouri to Invercargill 170km(106 miles)
Everyone has this experience from time to time: you start the day with plan A in mind, and somehow a plan B muscles its way in. I set off this morning with a pair of fresh legs, after 2 days of cruising the Sounds, intending to spend 2 days over the route to Invercargill, but guess what?………after two perfect days on the water, I was now presented with a perfect cycling day: a strong tailwind coming from the north! Then over a perfect flat white coffee, after completing 80km (50m) by midday

I read in the local newspaper that the wind was going to swing round to the south tomorrow. Well, what would you do? To me, it was a no-brainer: ‘carpe diem’, make hay while the sun shines…….so I did………I was making hay all day!

Now, I told you in a previous post about ‘drive-by donations’…….well today I became the (willing) ‘victim’ of ‘drive-by journalism’ when a car stopped ahead of me and a lady journalist (in training) jumped out and asked to interview me by the roadside (while her family patiently waited in the car). After a quick photo, she said she would see me in Bluff the next day, and offered a bed for when I get back from Stewart Island.

image

Now Invercargill is the capital of Southland, and only 28km from Bluff, my destination. In other words, just one last gasp and I am there……finished…..termine…..finito (well the NZ leg of the journey at least).

image

In the last 24 hours, I’ve discovered that Save the Children NZ have put their media and advertising dept to work, and it would seem that I have a series of encounters and interviews in the next 2 days. Tomorrow with the Deputy Mayor, who also happens to own an important newspaper; possibly with the local TV network; and with a community officer at Bluff on Friday. Not sure how to handle this new-found fame……… should I let it go to my head?

image

Now back to reality……I’ve just pumped some highly noxious calories back into the system in MacDonalds, am using their free WiFi to do this post, and now, at 7.30pm, I need to find a campsite.
See you up the road!
http://www.justgiving.com/Frank-Burns1

That sounds doubtful!

How did Doubtful Sound get its name? One Capt James Cook (from my home area in NE England) arrived at the west coast of S Island in 1773, studied the entrance of a fjord, wondered whether to enter, hesitated, and decided against. The dominant westerlies could keep him locked in for up to a month. His hesitation made him ‘doubtful’….hence it’s name.

image

20 years later, along came the Spaniard Malaespinas, and they made the first entry in rowing boats, and began mapping the hydrography and the coastline.

image

But first we had to pay a visit to the largest hydroelectric power station in all of NZ

image

that can produce more than 800 megawatts of power. The story of its construction and the lives lost in the process was very moving.

image

Although called a Sound, it is actually a fjord, measuring 40km in length. Our launch took us the full length and out into the Tasman Sea

image

discovering the legacy of recent major earthquakes and tree avalanches

image

and the appalling statistics of rainfall: 8 metres in an average year, but in 2009 a massive (and hugely destructive) 16 metres of rain fell. To stir your visualisation of what this means: imagine the UK rainfall of 2012 x 12……..and you have some idea.

image

And to think we had another dry, sunny day for our trip today! It would seem I landed on my feet twice……which means for the rest of you, the odds are massively stacked against you. Sorry about that!

image

But if you help the Children in Syria, your chances of a fine day in the Sounds is vastly improved…… believe me!
http://www.justgiving.com/Frank-Burns1

Milford Sound

Once called Milford Haven (because of Welsh connections), some say there is only a 10% chance that you’ll catch a fine day there. And guess what? The Maori weather gods were on our side! This place gets nearly 7 metres of rain per year. You may think that 2012 was a wet one for the UK, but that was less than a fifth of what the west coast of S Island can get on an annual basis. So if you have been a whinging Pom about last year’s weather, you obviously need to get things into perspective…..!

image

image

You may think this photo is upside down…..but look again

image

The road up to Milford is simply littered with must-see panoramas (sorry about the thumb!)

image

then the launch that took us up the Sound (a modest affair but it did provide lunch)……

image

to be entranced by waterfalls in full flow

image

then when the sun came out the lingering clouds took on a special outline

image

providing a framework for the soaring peaks. It’s remoteness is essentially a contributing factor to the conservation of such beauty, which proudly has the status of a World Heritage Site.

image

image

If you come this way, hail rain or shine, put Milford Sound on your itinerary. You will not be disappointed.
To conclude the day, I sped the 20km to Manapouri to put me in place for a trip out to Doubtful Sound, even more remote, and accessible only by boat.
Children in Syria Appeal: http://www.justgiving.com/Frank-Burns1

Approaching Fiordland

Mossburn to Te Anau 72km (45m)

Nice to report a quiet day! Short on distance and almost lacking in hills and headwinds.
Te Anau is the gateway into Fiordland, the most remote and outrageously beautiful part of NZ. So it was never my intention simply to cycle past with ne’er a thought of lingering to gawp.
So folks, I am self-indulgently taking 2 days out to have coaches and cruise boats be my principal forms of transport, to take me to the very remote Milford and Doubtful Sounds.
But beauty and remoteness come at a price: the infamous weather (6000mm of rain pa) and the dreaded sandflies (which would do an ‘Agincourt’ on the Scottish midges). However, the weather forecast is promising…….

image

Te Anau, prettily perched on the edge of NZ’s second largest lake, is a vast improvement on the tawdry Queenstown

image

image

and my tent (on yet another donated pitch) has a view of some of the above. Sleeping in a tent no bigger than a Tesco’s plastic bag does have it’s compensations…..

image

See you up the road!
Children of Syria Appeal: http://www.justgiving.com/Frank-Burns1

Back on the road again…

Queenstown to Mossburn 122km (75m)

After sharing a final meal with my ABC friends from California,

image

we hugged each other farewell. We were going in different directions, but sharing their company over the last 4 days has been very special. Bob has to fly home to hold the hand of his dying father, and it looks as if their homeward route through S America is now in jeopardy. But priorities are not in doubt.
I tentatively loaded the bike this morning, gingerly wobbled down the first hill, then decided I really needed a substantial breakfast roll (mysteriously called an OTR) and a huge flat white coffee before committing myself

image

My route into the northern reaches of Southland

image

introduced me to the delights of Kiwi honeys

image

but some were products from the bees that might feature more correctly in a beauty parlour

image

but I was particularly taken by the Manuka honeys, and especially by this

image

which is a honey exclusively from tree bees, that feed on the bark of trees. And a small jar just happened to fit in the barbag :0)
As I meandered along the edge of Lake Wakatipu, a truck towing a trailer pulled over in front of me, a hand waving me to slow down. Peter thrust $20 in my hand, said he would see me in Bluff, and that he knew a lot of people in the area. I am eagerly mystified!
A little later sitting in a roadside cafe, a German couple came in with a little baby and sat at a table close by. After a few minutes, Florian turned to me with his laptop open, and his first words to me were: “I’ve just put some money on your website!” I was completely taken by surprise……. He had obviously seen the notice on my bike, and simply made a spontaneous contribution without asking me anything about my venture. We chatted at length, and I learned they were on a fly fishing holiday…..and they write a blog about it (in English too): http://www.theflyfishingfamily.blogspot.com

Oh and by the way, the bike behaved itself impeccably today, obviously fearing the ultimate sanction: that of being chucked on the scrap heap!

image

So I put up my tent in a quiet remote campsite with an easy mind…….
Thank you to everyone who has generously donated to the Children in Syria Appeal. We keep hitting new targets as people continue to respond magnanimously to the cause.
http://www.justgiving.com/Frank-Burns1

Waiting with bated breath….

So, what’s the score, you may be wondering. Maybe like some of you (three perhaps?), I too have been waiting with bated breath, fingers and toes crossed……
R&R Sport kindly took it in hand to disassemble the bike in preparation for the welder. I was waiting at 8.30am for them to open. I argued and negotiated with a bus driver to let me on with the bike (a prominent notice did say “no bikes”!), went 10km to a neighbouring town, dropped by this place unannounced

image

gave a heavily embroidered sob story, won over the bossman, and he offered to do it immediately. And so he did

image

and half an hour later I was presented with this

image

Now those of you who know about these things will understand that a severed lug on a bottom bracket is potentially a very dangerous thing. In other words, I am exceedingly happy (sitting by a public phone booth tapping into free WiFi) to be able to recount this story, because the outcome could have been very different.
So with all the kit back on, it looks almost like a normal bike, but for the industrial-looking weld

image

So the journey resumes tomorrow, not over a 110km rough gravel track as originally planned, but along state highways. Don’t want to test that weld to the limit.

image

Having a day off the bike almost makes you prone to non-motion sickness, but at least Queenstown has been a place of considerable intrigue. All the adrenaline pumping activities can do serious damage to your economic health: imagine a 143 metre bungy jump that will set you back £140…..that’s £1 per metre! And some know-it-all physicist will tell how much per second…..
A full day of scenic flights and lake cruise will say adios to £600. The Kiwis know exactly how to seduce people to part with stashes of  cash.

Talking of cash, I want it to be known at the highest levels of linguistic endeavour that I have coined a new expression in the English language: “the drive-by donation”. I have become so adept at receiving donations from passing motorists, that I am considering becoming Wiggo’s (sorry, Sir Brad’s) personal domestique in the Tour de France…..just so I can go and fetch his bottle from the team car (and have a little illegal tow to boot!).
Try a drive-by donation at: http://www.justgiving.com/Frank-Burns1

A critical moment survived!

Long journeys have their moments and their mishaps. I am happy to be sitting in MacD’s using their free wifi, and being able to tell you this story.

image

The day started with a dramatic descent of this gorge, that went on for 30km.

image

The views were totally distracting….

image

and when I stopped at the Roaring Meg hydro station, 2 people spontaneously gave me donations.

image

15 km out of Queenstown, I got waylaid by a vineyard tasting

image

….but of course they were only sample tastings…….
When I came away from the vineyard, I noticed the gears weren’t changing smoothly, but I couldn’t identify the problem. I limped into Queenstown, and into a bike shop, and they told me I was dreaming…..nothing wrong with the gears.
Then suddenly one of the mechanics spotted something that could have been life-changing (for me that is)….there was a terminal crack in the frame on the bottom bracket.
Except, of course, my 20yr old Raleigh Apex is made of steel…..which means it can be welded and repaired by any competent engineer. So that is the plan tomorrow…..an enforced rest day but an opportunity to put my much-loved elderly Raleigh back on the road.
Maybe there is a message for life in this……..don’t push aging machines beyond their use- by date. Something to think about.
Children in Syria Appeal: http://www.justgiving.com/Frank-Burns1

A flood of road companions!

Omarama to Cromwell: 110km (70 miles)

CIMG8669A day to share with travelling companions! When I do solo expeditions like this, I expect to spend long lonely hours on the saddle, but fortunately I am happy with my own company, always fully occupied with inconsequential thoughts. But today was different…..

During the long approach to the famous Lindis Pass (965 metres) I teamed up with the ABC family (Anna, Bob and Christine) and we helped each other with draughting. When the climb reared upwards, I found myself breaking away and then…….from nowhere, some large insect (probably a bee) struck me in the face and within a few minutes my lips and cheek began to swell up. The numb feeling was akin to what you getCIMG8679 in the dentist’s chair, awaiting a deep filling or extraction. An hour later, I could feel it disappearing.

Over the top, down the other side………….and blast! that headwind coming from the south was still with us……which meant pedalling again just to go downhill! It was that sweet Mother Nature again…………….. The first settlement in over 50 miles was Tarras, and a little congregation of cyclists was beginning to form, sharing stories of the road, and giving tips about the route ahead.

Japanese tourist

Japanese tourist

One Czech family of three were cycling South Island with their little boy of only 18 months! Two lads from Belgium were taking a year off to cycle the world. A young Japanese lad, with little knowledge of English, was spending two weeks cycling between Christchurch and Queenstown. And, of course, my ABC friends were half way through their year’s journey through the continents of the world. Some of all this made my little journey seem small and limited.

But the run down into Cromwell had us going full face into a strong southerly wind, and the only way to survive (with a smile) was to work as a team. And this we did. There is nothing to compare with the camaraderie of cyclists on the road. Wherever you are, there always seems to be a natural bond.

Czech family with 18 month son

Czech family with 18 month old son

 

Belgian cyclists

Belgian cyclists

 

CIMG8694

Working as a team against the wind

Working as a team against the wind

To donate to the Children of Syria: www.justgiving.com/Frank-Burns1 

Mt Cook to Omarama

After the stresses and strains of the last few days, today’s 90km route was like a ‘light day at the office’. The early morning cloud lifted to reveal long empty roads that disappeared the length of the valley

image

and the glowering peaks in the background began to reveal their curves and folds

image

The views on either side of the road were stunning, and the pace of the return journey along this 55km valley was unnervingly fast.
Several of my hostel companions were being ‘coptered’ into the heart of the Alps to embark on multi-day mountain and glacial treks. There had been an atmosphere of eager anticipation when I left.

image

When I arrived at Omarama, and checked into another donated pitch at the campsite, I met up again with ABC…..Anna, Bob and Christina…an astonishing family from California halfway through their world cycling trip. They have been through some struggles, faced several challenges, but are still thriving. I was particularly intrigued by their tandem, a Hase Pino, a German built design with a semi-recumbent front, ideal for 10 year old Anna.

image

Tomorrow promises a climb to 1000 metres…….who would want to be on the flat anyway?
Children of Syria Appeal: http://www.justgiving.com/Frank-Burns1

Time for a good rant!

CIMG8523Now that I have a full keyboard, this could be a 10,000 word diatribe on why we need to do more for the situation in Syria…..but I rest my case.
I am, however, in the mood for a fulsome rant! After yesterday’s debacle of a mere 90km route (just a normal day at the office) in excessive heat and a crossing of Burke’s Pass CIMG8559709 metres (2200 ft), I fully anticipated that Mother Nature would reward me with a cool breeze at my back for my climb to Mt Cook Village. Well I’m afraid Mother Nature has a thoroughly evil side to her personality.
The first 50km were a ‘breeze’. Fast pace, little effort and a quick time to get to a junction

Good Shepherd church, Lake Tekapo

Good Shepherd church, Lake Tekapo

for the turn-off to Mt Cook. I discovered at the Visitor Centre at the junction that there was no drinking water, and there wouldn’t be for another 35km. That is 85km (53 miles) across mid-alpine wilderness without being able to replenish the water bottles…..mmnnn
The moment I turned NW to follow the great valley up to Mt Cook, I immediately felt the impact of something in my face…….a 30-40kph

It's like moving house every day!

It’s like moving house every day!

(20-30mph) wind that was going to stay with me for the duration. The climb to Mt Cook could be a very gentle (but long) rise to 700 metres. For 55km (35 miles) I was completely at the mercy of this head wind that was so strong that it brought me to a halt several times. When you even have to pedal hard to go downhill just to achieve 15kph, you know you are in trouble. CIMG8583And I knew I was in trouble. 55km would normally take me no more than 2 hours…….today it was over 4 hours. I screamed to the elements, but Mother Nature was not listening………I have decided from now on to be her stroppiest teenager, and throw tantrums at the mere suggestion of not getting my own way in the future.
So, rant out of the way, having reached Mt Cook Village, and having been enchanted by the vast open sceneryCIMG8604 on the way up the valley, I am now slowly falling back in love with New Zealand. I decided not to camp out tonight (because of extreme weather patterns) but everywhere seemed to be fully booked……all except an Alpine Club Hostel, a beautiful wooden-framed building with stunning views of the mighty Mt Cook. Instead of happy campers and motor-homers, tonight I will be surrounded by crampon shod,

Mt Cook in the background

Mt Cook in the background

ice axe-wielding rock climbers and mountaineers who do serious things up and down glaciers. I should fit in well.
While I have your attention, a little anecdotal story: in Wellington I decided to replace my seat-post bolt (after 20 years service it was showing worrying signs of wear) so I went into a Giant cycle shop, only to be greeted by a broad Staffordshire accent saying:”Wow, a genuine Raleigh Apex in NZ. You probably bought it about 20 years ago, made of steel and sporting the (then) revolutionary Girvin Flexstem……..”. I realised immediately I had someone on my side, someone who liked his bikes and had fond memories of well-built bikes of yesteryear. He simply stood there admiring it until…….I told him why I’d come into his shop.

A little friend I met by the roadside

A little friend I met by the roadside

Nice encounter though.
And still while I have your attention: I never realised so many Kiwis were so UK oriented. They know far more about the royal family than I do (which doesn’t say much) and they can quote names, places and events with an uncanny ease. When someone asked me if I followed “Corry”, my silence gave me away completely. What on earth is “Corry” I asked. “Coronation St, of CIMG8611course!”. I quickly realised that some Kiwis follow these soaps thinking they are a genuine reflection of the British way of life. I wonder what Mancunians think of that?

All going well (with Mother Nature’s consent, of course) the NW wind will continue blowing, and will blow me all the way back down the valley. I await with bated breath!

Please support the Children in Syria in their desperate plight: www.justgiving.com/Frank-Burns1

Kiwi English?

Kiwi English?

View across a campsite

View across a campsite

CIMG8546

1950s service station

1950s service station

CIMG8566CIMG8579

Ready for the off....

Ready for the off….

 

 

 

…and into the Alps

Hot, hot, hot…..how can it be this hot in February? 30+C…..hottest day of the ride do far. I was too complacent this morning, chatting to everyone as they passed at breakfast. I paid the price for a 10am start. My 90km ride to Lake Tekapo should have been relatively straightforward, but the heat kicked in early……and there were mountains to climb.

image

The roads seemed to broaden out….but that was the effect of less traffic.

image

I was soon stripping off layers….

image

Then I  entered deeply onto Mackenzie country, only to discover that Mackenzie had not been a Governor General of NZ but had been a mere sheep rustler!

image

In Fairlie, taking a break from the appalling heat, my siesta was disturbed by the Mackenzie Marching Pipe Band, rehearsing for an upcoming competition in Timaru. The south part of S Island is a bit of Scotland in exile.

image

And as I finger-type this on my little phone, this is the view I have of Lake Tekapo.
With a favourable wind and cooler temperatures, tomorrow I will climb the 103km to the village of Mt Cook, which cowers beneath the 3750mt summit of the highest mountain in NZ. Wish me luck!
Or simply support the Children in Syria Appeal: http://www.justgiving.com/Frank-Burns1

And a note to Steve: where are you? We need to GPS each other!

To a town called Geraldine

120km across the flat lands of Mackenzie country brought me to the foothills of the Southern Alps, with the mighty Mt Cook in the background.

image

South Island has fewer than a million inhabitants, so the roads are delightfully quieter.

image

This means the distances between feeding stations are ever greater, but this slab of hummingbird cake put a few miles back into the legs!

image

This roadside fruit stall waylaid me….couldn!t resist the apricots from Otago.

image

And when I checked in at the Kiwi Holiday Park in Geraldine, Lindsay (the warden) kindly donated the cost of my pitch. Yet another example of Kiwi kindness.
Significant donation today: a lady called Stacey approached me in a service station and contributed $20.
I am touched by people’s trust and their spontaneity.
Please donate to the Children of Syria: http://www.justgiving.com/Frank-Burns1
Footnote: Steve Wesson has begun the chase from Cape Reinga. We hope to shake hands and have a beer or three at Bluff……..but he needs to get on his bike and pound the tarmac. I’m about 1500km ahead of him. See you in Antarctica, Steve!
Follow his irreverent blog here. You will be amused! http://www.grumpyoldmenonbikes.blogspot.com

Looking For 42

Traveling the world looking for the meaning for life (and whatever else I might find along the way)

Off The Beaten Path

Inside news from Bicycle Quarterly and Compass Bicycles

Bike 5

A better way to get where you're going.

Kite*Surf*Bike*Rambling

KITESURFING, CYCLING, SUP: ramblings, idiocy and not much more

Cycling Dutch Girl

the only certainty is change

4000milestothesea

On a bicycle from coast to coast across the USA

CyclingEurope.org

Europe... on a bicycle

Self Propelled

Self propelled adventures through life; blogging on cycling, touring, micro-adventures, general shenanigans, and environmental news

chrisp666

Cycling across Europe, Cornwall to Munich

fossilcycle

FOSSIL - A Fine Old Senior Soul In Lycra

The Vicious Cycle

A man searches for meaning...in between leg shavings

2 l o v e c y c l i n g

It's about cycling ... and other travels

There And Back Again

Life at 15 miles per hour

As Easy As Riding A Bike

Well it should be, shouldn't it?

Bike Around Britain

Blog on cycling around the coast of Britain

David Noble's Blog

Life, Loves and Living

weston.front

The Weston Front - the destination of a road less travelled...

The Innocent Bikestander

It can be better

Bike, Banjo & Baby

They go together so well

Something for Kiki and the Pok

the adventures of Christopher Yardin - by plane, bike, through a lens, or the eyes of a child

Bricycling...

Cycling Blog

Richard Tulloch's LIFE ON THE ROAD

Travel adventures on wheels and legs

THE SPORTSWOOL DIARIES

................."Cherry picking the nicest places in the world to cycle"

Gippsland Granny

Musings from Metung

Serendipities of life

Taking the road less travelled

I Do Not Despair

When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race. ~H.G. Wells

Tom’s Bike Trip

Adventures and experiments in two-wheeled travel

All Seasons Cyclist

Real World Product Reviews For Avid Cyclists

machacas on wheels

Taking the road less travelled

%d bloggers like this: