Sunday 29 January 2017

Nice day for it.

After all the bad weather we have been having this summer, it was so nice to have a warm sunny day. What else could I do except pack up Birdy and head off for the night. This was the first chance to ride with all my gear and only a bit under the weight I will be carrying on my tour.

So this will pretty much be the set up I take away with me, just need to add in a day pack and a bigger handlebar bag with a clear cover for my map so I don't get lost! Highly likely considering I have no sense of direction.

It was a great ride and neither Birdy nor I really felt the added weight. That was very reassuring as I am so use to riding with no weight at all, and having pannier bags and a rack certainly changes the feel of Birdy.

Once I made camp, Mark arrived (in the car) and we headed off to Hobbes Family Orchard to do a spot of apricot picking. Nothing like eating really ripe, fresh fruit, warm from the sun, straight off the tree. I did pick more than I ate though!

We then went to the Millers Flat pub for something to eat. I have discovered a Citrus Beer that is low alcohol and so tasty. After a couple of those, a very tasty burger and chips I was about ready for the short walk back to camp and sleep.

Woke to an overcast day, bit of rain and headwind. By the time I got home...100km round trip, I was ready for a hot bath. It does make me wonder how I will go day after day biking on my tour, but I have given myself a good amount of time, and I'm sure there will be a lot of rests with time to go and explore something, take photos and sightsee.

Magic Energy Beans
Where's that bath?

One thing I have noticed about riding Birdy with all the gear on, is how my attitude changes. Its an odd thing.......I don't worry about how many km's I can clock up, and I ride at a much slower pace, taking in more of the scenery. I can ride the same trail with no load on Birdy and its more about speed and training.

I think I like the touring mindset a lot better!

"Interesting people do normal stuff mostly, they just go beyond that at times."
                                                                                                            Trevor Wetherby

Thursday 12 January 2017

No turning back now!

Plans for my big trip are certainly underway. I've bought my ticket to the USA, so no turning back now. In just over four months I will be on my way to Seattle, returning to New Zealand two and a half months later. Big thank you to Simoney at House of Travel...she got me a great price on my airfare AND sorted out Birdy's ticket too!!!

The other big news is I finally decided on the pannier bags I wanted and they were swiftly dispatched to me by Burkes Cycles. It would have been nice to spend more and get the best there is, but I am very happy with my choice of these Axiom panniers. My criteria was 100% waterproof and a bright colour for safety on the road. They came with a very detailed one paragraph instruction guide in four different languages, hence the look of confusion on my face.

Think I have got it sorted now! helpful if I could read this language.

I'm sure they will hold more than what they look, hopefully a bit like Mary Poppins bottomless carpet bag!
So Birdy and I set off for a ride, with the panniers slightly loaded...I wasn't sure how I would go my first time riding with panniers. I did a good ride with some strenuous hill climbs, carrying an extra 6kg and the panniers didn't make any difference. Next ride I will load them up a lot heavier and see how I go. Birdy seems to love a bit of weight on her, she seems to be a lot more stable on the gravel roads.

In between the rainy and windy days we have been having here lately, there has been been some perfect cycling days. One of these days we went off for a picnic on the banks of the Clutha River at Beaumont. Mark can never resist riding down cliffs, over banks and through rivers!

I tell people when Mark and I bike together it's like the tortoise and the hare. He's the hare...all speedy but halfway up a hill he will be flat on his back exhausted. Meanwhile I just wave as I slowly ride by...I'm the tortoise with stamina and I think I will need a lot of that for my solo tour!

"If you think adventure is dangerous, try routine, its lethal"
                                                                                            Paulo Coelho