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Monthly Archives: January 2012

life after a tour

Dearest Gerwood,

I hope you’re well. It’s been some time since we’ve spoken and a lie would be to say that I have not missed your company. You have been sorely missed.

The return to ordinary life following the tour has been painful – and I say this without doubt or melodrama – but simply in the purity of honest words. The weather in Sydney has been, on the most part, raining. Work has been busy and perpetual and my bottom has too long been far from the sweet caress of a saddle. Ah – but sadly such is life.

However, I have not despaired. Plans have begun for another trip, and I will shortly make a request to my employers for at least a month off work to explore the world on two wheels. But I’ll tell you more of this when I have firmed up my plans.

I also intend to ride to work sometimes – guaranteeing at least three hours of riding a day, sometimes during the week. However this has been a bit more difficult than expected. The ride I would use for this is the Cell SS300, fitted with flat pedals, Shimano Tiagra shifters (which really are just a pile of you-know-what) and flat bars. Flat bars are no longer my favourite, and I would prefer these to be curved – but the thought of changing the bars rather than saving for a Brompton is repulsive to me.

As life is life, and difficult, I soon discovered that the SS300 frame did not have rack inserts. After a quick search on the internet I discovered that this problem can easily be solved with the use of P-clips:

A very simple piece of hardware that can be used to screw the rack onto the frame. My first mistake was thinking that this would be simple – however after going to two hardware stores in my lunch break I discovered that nowhere in Sydney city can you buy any kind of hardware and that there are no longer any real men in Sydney. Just hipsters and poor excuses.

On the weekend I took the opportunity to go to Bunnings where lowest prices are just the beginning, because they don’t have range of stock that include p-clips.

Also, dear, I was almost at a lose. Ready to give up and carry all my wares on my bike (which I usually do one short rides) – when I remembered, once again, that there’s a thing called the internet. So it took a whole week, and a late Monday night before I had ordered a pack of ten p-clips, which are now being shipped.

Shortly I will be able to attach the rack to the bike and then I will be free to live my dreams of riding.

love

s.

photo book : queenstown to the end

photo book : lake tekapo to queenstown

photo book : christchurch to geraldine

day x (where x = the remaining days) : Haast to Greymouth

Dear Gerwood,

The final leg of my ride, as you know, was along the South Island’s West Coast, the land of the sandflies and moderate hills and wonderful rainforest-like scenery – but mostly the sandflies.

It was New Years Eve when I rode the easy ride from Haast to LakeParinga. There were three moderate inclines, but they were all long the beach front. Every now and then, through the trees I would see a glimpse of a blue horizon where I couldn’t tell the difference between the sea and the sky. A small battle with a gravel pathway was my only obstacle, and before long I was at the top of the mountain at Knight’s Point.

As I pulled into the lookout I did a quick round on my bike to check for escapes, in case of zombies, and also to see where to best stop with my bike. As I rode around I felt eyes watching me, and I quickly found the head to which they belonged. Eating lunch at the lookout were also two other cycle tourists. Shortly after stopping we greeted each other. The Mexican had lived in Auckland for some time and was cycling around before going home, and the Beautiful French, like me, was on holiday. We soon discovered that we had been visiting and staying in the same towns, but we never seemed to cross paths. Their plan was to continue past Lake Paringa and sleep on the beach somewhere, where they would have been eaten by the sandflies.

After some chatter and realising that we had also met the same people along the way – the most interesting being the Russian expeditionists who had already travelled all around America – we parted ways as they had finished eating. I later continued to Lake Paringa.

I had settled into my room and explored the grounds when the Mexican and the Beautiful French arrived at the grounds. They had decided to stay and together we’d ring in the new year. Usually I spend my New Years eve drinking wine and making and then eating Mexican food – so I figured this was close enough. We later also met some hikers who were also staying at the grounds as well. They were from all over the world. We ate banana cake and drank champagne until it was 2012.

The next morning I left early for an easy ride into Fox Glacier. I arrived half an hour before the Mexican or the Beautiful French and went to the glacier (another gravel road). The glacier was beautiful, and lovely to touch, but as the Beautiful French said ‘There are much more beautiful in Europe’. Of course. Then we drank more wine to celebrate the end of my trip and the continuation of theirs. It was a nice and surprising end to the trip.

Now I have caught first the bus to Greymouth (dirty ugly city) and then today a train to Christchurch where my journey ends. Ah – it has been such a lovely trip. I think next time I have to take more time to do it slowly, and I will try harder to camp… maybe.

I will share my photos with you soon, dear Gerwood, I didn’t want to carry more cables with me than was necessary.

Thank you for keeping me company on this trip, and already I am researching a tour through Europe, I think. 🙂

Love & affection,

s.