One of the reasons for taking on a trip like this was to get myself in the best shape possible prior to donating one of my Kidneys to Dad. Anyone can get in a car and enjoy this part of the world, however the experience becomes so much richer on many different levels using a bike. As I edit this trip together I am counting down the days before I can snowboard again. I’m in Whistler, Canada and it’s been almost 5 weeks since the transplant and I feel pretty good to ride next week!
The video below is a documented video of Christina & I cycling around part of the Southern Alps of New Zealand. We enjoyed surprisingly nice weather considering the coast’s damp reputation, that was until the last day arriving home in Wanaka.
Powered by copious amounts of snacks including One Square Meals, Whittakers Chocolate and assorted nuts we claimed 1026km over 8 1/2 days.
Wanaka – Makarora – Lake Paringa – Fox – Hokitika – Arthurs Pass – Methven – Farlie – Omarama – Wanaka
Thank you to all our friends and family who met at the Federal Diner in Wanaka and supported us. Enjoy the 6 minute and 30 second to showcase the awesome trip we did.
Alps Loop from Richie Johnston on Vimeo.
It seems we sometimes loose awareness of how beautiful this country really is. As Christina and I rode past native bush, along the West Coast and over mountain passes or senses were over-whelmed by pure awesomeness. The smells of moisture evaporating from the roads surface, thick forests and silage reminded us every kilometer how rich this experience is. Apart from the black & white stealth bombers (Magpies), the trip was a relatively smooth one.
As I did no training for the ride, I was a little anxious with Christina’s ‘keen’ itinerary to average 120km per day. The encouragement we gave each other – not to mention the countless RWC supporters giving us plenty of room and honking their horns was fantastic. With an All Blacks flag secured to my bike, I soon found the best way to create maximum ‘flappage’, while ensuring that it was free from my hungry chain.
Considering we rode along a coast renown for over 2m of rain each year, we stayed relatively dry. Apart of course from the epic hill climbs where sweat was pouring from us like bullets… “Be sure to keep breathing…” remarked Christina the Yoga instructor/massage therapist as we climbed higher and higher into the Southern Alps. Riding from Hokitika to Arthurs Pass was one of my favorite days. Climbing too 900m above sea level into a head-wind, we checked into a backpackers that reminded me of France – this was a real treat.
We were half way and our fitness was were it needed too be. Sunny days and incredible views bought us into Methven where we arrived in time to watch the rugby. A super windy day as we past Lakes Tekapo and Pukaki – Super exhausting day. However some superb Lamb Shanks at Omarama from Kahu Cafe prepared me for the final day – up over Lindis Pass and home to Wanaka.
Greeted by friends, family, wind, rain and even the Otago Daily Times – we made it too Wanaka 1026km and 8.5 days later. What a fantastic way to see some of NZ’s finest country and meet the people who live in small towns. We past about half a dozen other cyclists and hopefully inspired others to take on a similar challenge.
Video to come…
Photos and words by Richie Johnston, WordPress