Riding High

Current Location:Lake Tekapo, Aotearoa

I’d certainly call this a week of highs and lows. Rather the week started pretty low and things are starting to look a lot better now. It started with my trip to Akaroa on Sunday which was going particularly well (so I thought) until I realized my wallet had somehow fallen out of my zipped up pocket somewhere in the last 20km of the ride into Akaroa. In a semi-panic mode at that point I hitched a ride back to where I took a nap on the side of the road thinking it had fallen out there (probably about 10km back) and walked back to my bike to no avail. I think at the time my funds were left to $9 in coins that I had in my pocket which meant getting a campground or a hostel was out of the question for the night. So freecamping was my only option at that point, I asked what I believed to be the priest of a church if it was okay to sleep behind the church that night and at first he was hesitant but in the end let me sleep the night back there, he also offered me some money which I refused. Anyway I cycled back to Christchurch and Thornton Grange the following morning and got mom and dad to wire me some money (thanks) so that I could continue to cycle. To make a long story shorter the police ended up with my wallet and somehow found mom and dad’s phone number and let them know that they have it. I found this fact out 2 days ago, which is another hooray New Zealand moment for me because the police say that all the money is still there and my cards are still intact. Honestly, I sorta half expected it to be returned just from the experiences I’ve had with the kiwi people but it’s nice to have that confirmed in such a huge way.

On to the cycling of leaving Christchurch I find the last 3 days I’ve been riding against a Southerly wind that just won’t give up. I saw on the news the other day that gusts are up to 120km/hr (egads!) Sometimes on flat ground I’ll be in my granny gear chugging along at a measly 10km/hr because the wind just won’t give up. At the same time the road out of Christchurch has nary a bend, bob, or bump so it’s fairly uninteresting terrain to cover add to that the southerly wind which is bitingly cold. And lets not forget the hail that rained down not 30 minutes after getting into camp one night, that wouldn’t have been pleasant to ride through. How different a month makes when I rode into the Canterbury plains it was 40 degrees on the way out it was 9. Yesterdays ride was completely different except for the wind which was unceasing all day long. The terrain was much different as I was heading for the mountains which meant hills plus wind, but I was fairly determined to make it to Lake Tekapo and in the end did make it, the highest I got was 709m which to me was a huge triumph because that was a mountain pass where the wind just howled and beat me back. After that it was a fairly chill ride into Lake Tekapo and camped just outside of town on the side of the road. I’m finding that wild camping is pretty easy, just have to make sure I have enough water.

The plan for today is to ride to Mt. Cook which should hopefully be easier, the southerly wind is supposed to be done by today and they weather forecast is supposed to be nice for the weekend, even if it doesn’t I’ll still cycle. Because if 120km winds won’t stop me I’m not sure what will.