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Solitaire

By in Sports & Fitness Comments Off on Solitaire

I have a list.  I don’t mean a  mental list, I mean an actual proper written down list…..of cycle rides that  I want to do.  Obviously at the top of this list is Round The World but it might take a while before I manage to sort out exactly how to bunk off for 9 months to do that one; but up there in the top 5 is an end to end of New Zealand.  I have been to NZ twice before on business and liked what I saw but there is the other obvious attraction that their summer is our winter.  Thanks to the wonders of ‘not having a proper job’ I find myself able to spare a few weeks to pop down under and cross this one off the list.  So on Feb 5th I will be boarding the first of three planes that will deliver me to within about 120 miles of the top of North Island. 
My big regret, and the reason for the song title, is that I will be riding alone.  Admittedly my usual riding companion is only Knobby (aka Alan) but I have kind of gotten used to riding with him and it won’t be the same.  It is going to be very odd being able to actually set off at the planned time each morning and having nobody to talk bollocks with at the end of a day’s riding.  In fact I have never ridden alone for more than 2 days and maybe I will learn a little more about myself during the trip, which looks like this:
Fly via Dubai and Melbourne to Auckland then board a puddle-jumper up to Kerikeri.  It is then necessary to ride 120 miles NORTH to Cape Reinga before turning round and starting the trip proper. 
I will pass through Auckland and clip Wellington before taking the 3 hour ferry to South Island where I will mostly follow the west coast down to Invercargill.  I can fly home direct from Invercargill (when I say direct I mean via Christchurch, Auckland, Melbourne and Dubai but at least I don’t have to cycle anywhere).




















It is a total of 1445 miles at an average of 85 per day.   This will be a camping trip so the usual 35lbs of miscellaneous crap will ensure the miles don’t come too easily!  To make matters worse, I probably cycled LESS in 2012 than in any of the previous 10 years so a quick crash fitness and weight loss programme is under way.  The turbo trainer has been dusted off and erected (snigger) in the dining room and I can be seen grinding away for an hour on any day that I deem unsuitable for proper cycling (so most days!).
Unlike every other trip I have done, I really have no idea what to expect; I have not managed to find much in the way of books or blogs by riders who have done the trip before so it is a real journey into the unknown.
As usual, for my own amusement (and on this trip, for someone to talk to)  I will be blogging my way south.  I’ll give song titles another go but don’t expect them all to be original.  Also don’t expect an entry every day because it looks like phone coverage could be pretty sparse.   NZ has a land mass 25% greater than Great Britain but only 8% of the population.  One third of all these are squeezed into in Auckland so the rest of the country is mostly just sheep and film crew.

Even if my regular readers cannot be arsed to follow my progress I expect the Bulgarians and Swedes will be there for me!

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