Daring Deeds - real stories, expeditions, road trips and adventure
Continuing the journey from Part 3...
For there is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so, Billy Waggledagger. I get bit by a pit bull. Today of all days, I ride thousands of miles without any real incident. I set off in the pouring rain to ride along beautiful trails and this happens within the first 20 mins. I don't mean to cuss but *!*? (sorry Joe. ed.) me when you see a beastly pit bull full charge towards you in the bush, that quickens the heart. I'm a dog person and on top of that I lack a panic button. I genuinely thought she's just saying hello.
She did and took some skin with her. I'm annoyed at Franky because she made an awkward dilemma and what I should do for the 'greater good'. Ahh but Franky you shook me out from the persistent thoughts that would have pervaded the day, but today I was woken up by a husky, for the second time in my bivvy life. I cycled through amazing bush, over 100km in challenging conditions. I lost my rain jacket, met a guy who replaced his broken peddle with a nut and bolt from a swing bridge! Today has been a good day..
When you search around your bivvy in the night for the dead thing that must be festering around you, then realise it's the things attached to your feet! I think these shoes will be staying in New Zealand. Genuinely it was disgusting and remains so.
I picked up a hitchhiker
The perfect storm- in that it made me stay for a bit longer.
My main motivation for coming over to the North Island was to see my friend who I hadn't seen since 1998! Back at Superchoice outdoor ed centre, where friendship were forged in a very short time. We never knew how long we'd all be together so we condensed time and made solid friendships rapidly. Mark and Tracy and Lynsey were my Kiwi pals that I promised to meet again. Seeing Lynsey again and those years just melt away. Still lovely and bubbly as I remember. Time just slips away.
So then I get shipped off to her in-laws on the coast. Rae and Owen. Just about the loveliest people you're likely to meet on an island of lovely people. I swam in the sea, ate fabulous food and enjoyed the comfy bed.
A big storm hit which meant I just had to stay another night. The sun is back out. The bike cleaned and oiled up and I'm ready to have a super quick ride up to the Coromandel. Time is ticking and the prospect of this trip ending is making me very sad indeed.
Hot Water Beach - Warm toes mark the spot of hitting the 4000km. All by bike. This week marks the 6th year of the 'Didn't Die Day' too. I'm very pleased with myself indeed. I can't believe I've come this far and travelled so much. Just last year this wouldn't have been physically possible. The ankle has caused very little grief, solidifying the decision to fuse it 2 years ago.
My poor elbow is unhappy everyday but my head is over the moon which negates that. Spent the night by the beach, found a spade in the morning and I dug only about a spades depth to find a lovely underground thermal foot spa! Beautiful!
People of New Zealand it's not a competition! Your are all fabulously amazing...these beautiful people made me so happy. Just one night in Auckland just wasn't enough and I really didn't think I'd think that way in the city. Thank you Tiger Lilly, River and Clare for the sunshine and taking me in off the streets. I laughed so much.
Yippee ki yay mudda funster #diehard this my ultimate favourite stream I've found! Riding through the Coromandel, through a police blockade too! There was a huge land slip on the road to Thames which closed the coast road for the whole day. After pleading with the cops they let me through 'because you could always camp out the night' legends!
It was a solid 30km until I got to the slip and as my luck would have it, I only waited 5 minutes until they clean up team let me through. I think I captured the look of pathetic and hard core bike packer.
The Broken Road. What a perfect machine for this adventure. Looks pretty hot too.
DO NOT GO TO NEW ZEALAND
I'm back. I've been back for a while. What seems like an age. which in reality has been a little over 2 weeks. I wanted to hold off the New Zealand lament as long as possible. Not wanting to admit that this trip was over. It was easy. Cycling just over 4000km in 54 days was not so easy by any means. I feel stronger for it. My right leg even popped out a little calf muscle for the first time in 6 years. No, what was easy was everything else. Finding my way, finding food, finding shelter, finding smiles. Getting vitamin D. It all just fell in to place so easily like it was planned to perfection when in fact it took literally zero planning.
This is how I like to travel. Opening myself up to spontaneity. No agenda. No place defined. Just a vague idea. In this place there can be no time pressures or stress. New Zealand is a pleasure to tour around. The visual beauty that had knocked me off my bike, unable to cycle because of the thumping in my chest and the water in my eyes. It's that powerful. It gives you what you need.
My thanks to all the people that made me welcome and made it so difficult to leave.
Kerance/hurb/The Manns/The Shaws/Warm Showers hosts (Sam x) /The Stills/ Rae & Owen /Opae/ Clare, Tiger Lilly, River and of course my dear friends Lynley, Mark and Tracy and their wonderful families who proved that time is just a human construct and what is really important are like minded souls. It's the people that make these islands. Always smiling to greet you, always a wave, always generous. Touring through NZ like I have has left me with an ideal way to be. Paradise is here and it's New Zealand.
So finally to explain my bold title in this blog... My advice is go there, but don't go there. It will change your life.
I wanted it to change mine and it did just that. I was looking to do some healing after a very traumatic couple of years on top of what was already a traumatic 6 years. For half my life folk have told me to go to New Zealand, it's my kinda of place and that I would want to live there. In truth that's possibly why I didn't go until now. I wasn't ready to feel that.
I see why now and I would love to upsticks and move. They way of life there fits in with what I feel life should be.
So one day... who knows.
Share your thoughts about this article.
Spot on. I came out 7 years ago to "have a look at New Zealand" - never left. It's now home for all the reasons you talk about, sure it has it's down sides - it's a long way from family in the UK and it does rain a lot, but it is the most friendly place on earth, with an amazingly accessible wilderness, and when the sun shines it is even better. I remind myself that the UK is only a flight away, OK, maybe 2 flights.
Having done a few bike trips, the people you meet along the way always stay with you and make you realise that unlike the news there are lots of interesting and generous people out there.
Go on an adventure, short or long it's good for the soul, Joe story affirms this.
Big Papa17 litre expedition bikepacking seat bag. Hardwearing, large capacity, exo-rail compatible with additional bungee cord for keeping your kit secure and safe£104.99
Airlok Dual 20lExpedition size 20 litre dual ended bikepacking handlebar dry bag. Spacious and lightweight, long distance gear protection£18.99
Fuel PodLightweight top tube-mounted bikepacking bag in 2 sizes for snacks, gels tubes, GPS and tools. With cable port for keeping your bits and bobs to hand£34.99