Wednesday 21 December 2016

Friends and an Overnighter.

Usually I ride on my own at my own pace, but through the summer every few weeks, I go for a ride with my friends Margaret and Judy. These are sociable rides and always have to involve at least one cafe or pub! We have had some great days out and I love riding with my friends.

The other weekend Judy and I went for a ride ( Margaret couldn't make it) along the Clutha Gold cycle trail to Millers Flat Pub. We called into the Millers Flat Campground, and I thought this would be the perfect place to have my first overnighter trip and to work out what will make my life on the road comfy for my big tour next year.

So last weekend I loaded up Birdy with my tent, sleeping bag, food etc in a day pack and set off. I don't have my pannier bags yet, so everything was loaded onto the rack at the back. One of the things I have been nervous about is cycling with a load but I have to say...I found it really easy. It seemed to make Birdy a lot more stable. I had approx 10kgs on her and really didn't feel much difference.

And yes...I will admit I was nervous but also pretty excited about pitching my tent somewhere other than the front lawn at home! The weather was just perfect for the ride up.

The Millers Flat Camping Ground is great! If you are biking the Clutha Gold Trail I really recommend it as a place to stay. The showers are lovely and hot, the camping spots are very sheltered, and you can sit on the banks of the Clutha River, watch the sun set with a glass of wine and talk to the wild ducks. John and Marise will look after you so well and the coffee is really good!

My neighbours

I had a great time on my first "overnighter" at the pub, cooking dinner out of a can and a pretty good sleep in my tent.
The most important thing about the whole experience was it gave me the confidence to look forward to my trip.... yes I'm slightly terrified about what I am planning to do. The more I get out there and push myself away from my comfort zones, the more I am looking forward to doing it, and feeling that I can do it. That is the important part...the confidence within yourself to follow a dream.

Today was a quick ride on the Gorge Trail to Shingle Creek and back. This is one of my favourite rides, its not long but has a bit of everything in it and the views are spectacular. On a hot summers day the air smells of all the wild thyme that grows throughout the gorge. 

Not a bad place to have lunch!

"No amount of security is worth the suffering of a mediocre life chained to a routine that has killed your dreams"
Maya Mendoza

Sunday 4 December 2016

Great day for a ride.

Since I started thinking and planning my ride, it's been great joining up with various Facebook groups to ask questions and read about other cyclists travels. There are so many questions in my head about routes, camping, safety and security. To be able to talk to other people, especially women about the trip has been very reassuring and makes me realise for a first bike tour, this route is an excellent one to do. I have to say a thankyou to Colleen, she has been so helpful with all my questions!

I read in one of the Facebook groups about an organization called Warmshowers so I joined and now host touring cyclists. So far we have had 2 couples stay with us...a french couple and a kiwi couple. It has been great hearing about their bike touring adventures and gaining a lot of good hints and tips for my upcoming trip. I know that when I start my tour I will be looking up some Warmshower hosts to stay with. Its a good reciprocal system.

Five months seems a long time until I head off, but I'm sure it will fly by so I need to make sure I'm fit enough to ride day after day. I also need to do more road riding to get use to traffic whizzing by, so Birdy is now kitted out with a rear vision mirror and front and back lights. I should have gotten a mirror a long time ago, its great!!!

Yesterday was the perfect day for a good ride...the weather was absolutely ideal, not a breath of wind and a little bit cloudy. I didn't realise how many hills I would have to climb though, but its all good practice.

Not a bad spot for lunch.

Birdy looking smart with her new mirror.

Chatting with the locals.

One of the many hills.

" And at the end of the day, your feet should be dirty, your hair messy, and your eyes sparkling."

Sunday 20 November 2016

Planning starts.

There are a few things I will need for my adventure. I've got Birdy and a sleeping bag but the list of other things keeps growing. Most importantly is a tent, sleeping mat, carrier rack for Birdy and panniers. So I went off to Dunedin on a shopping my tent, sleeping mat and rack.
Of course the first thing I did when I got home was put my new tent up. Only took me 20 or so minutes AND I read the instructions.

hmmm I wonder how this works.
A place to sleep.
oh so that is what it does!

I wanted to sleep in it that night but as these things happen...I had caught a bug so that put paid to any thoughts of sleeping in my tent for a few nights. Then we had rain, rain and more rain for weeks (well I exaggerate but it felt like weeks!).
But yesterday, the skies cleared and it was a perfect day for a ride and tent sleeping. So I rode the Clutha Gold Trail from Roxburgh to Lawrence (77kms/48 miles). What a stunning day for a ride and the Clutha River after all the rain, was nearly bursting it banks!

Finally after my ride and before I did anything else, I put my tent up ready for my first night. I have to be honest with you and say I didn't put it up in the wilderness was on the front lawn at home!! I had such a cozy night despite the wind picking up and a little bit of rain. The sleeping mat was so comfortable and the only thing I needed to make it super comfy was a pillow. I am trying to figure out how to carry a feather down pillow on a bike without it getting wet!

"One day you will wake up and there won't be any more time to do the things you've always wanted. Do it now."
                                       Paulo Coelho

Tuesday 8 November 2016

An adventure.

Welcome to Birdy the bike and me.
Birdy is my bike. She's not the flashiest or youngest bike around, but she does me well. In the 10 years we have been together, a lot of miles have been covered.

And well....this is me.

I am about to embark on an adventure! Not straight away but in a few months.
All the biking I have done has been locally and just day rides. I'm fortunate that where I live in the South Island of New Zealand, there are so many bike trails and country roads to explore, but its time to expand my horizons. Instead of just taking a small step I have decided to take a big leap.

Over the years I have read and reread books by Josie Dew, Anne Mustoe and Dervla Murphy, all about their solo cycling adventures and wished that I could do the same thing.
I have been planning a trip to visit a good friend in Seattle , then fly to LA to meet up with another good friend for a roadtrip around Arizona. In this plan I was going to fly from Seattle to LA, but got to thinking there must be a more interesting way to do this. I looked at trains and buses, then stumbled onto a blog about cycling the Pacific Route! For me this would mean biking from Seattle to LA...nearly 2000kms!

At first I thought I wish I could do this, then why can't I do this, to maybe I could do this which progressed to why not do this, Now I am at the point where I am going to do this.

So I am taking the first steps towards my adventure. Have got my maps so I don't get lost!! 
(Thanks Graham )

"but we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies"
                                                                                                       Jack Kerouac