We (well, if I am honest, Cliff) have had a few cycling concepts formulating over the winter months and with the lengthening and warming of the days we (there I go again) decided it was time to start to ‘nail’ some of them into the diary.
The plans do involve getting horses and carts organised into the right order. Step number one is to undertake an exploratory road tour that involves a good mix of all of things we have found challenging in the past to make sure that the new folding e-velos are capable of what we hoped. The key ingredients for our five day 220km ‘tester’ ride around Mt Taranaki are:
- Hill climbing – including a 25km unbroken ascent – that should really test the bike batteries. Fortunately, the rest of that ride is an unbroken downhill run. All of the other days are through rolling countryside like Cornwall which is Ruth’s hilly benchmark.
- Road riding – the entire five days will involve road riding along what I hope will be lightly trafficked back roads (fingers crossed). Are we cool with that?
- Carrying our luggage – we will need to relearn the art of packing light – one set of clothes and several sticks of deodorant? I have finally determined how we can carry around 6kg – the proof of the pudding…..
- Dealing with potentially harsh climatic conditions such as rain, gales and wind chill (if we are unlucky). Cornwall, Asia and Provence have really tested us – how much worse could it get?
- We don’t get apprehended by the local constabulary who have never seen a folding bike let alone ones being ridden by what are obviously escapees from a care facility.
- Actually managing to get the electric car the 600km from Kerikeri to New Plymouth without any charging crisis. We will be travelling through a long stretch of remote country that barely has any petrol stations let along car charging stations.
If that all goes well (why wouldn’t it?), then we will proceed to start booking our more ambitious 630km (without ancillary trips) from Rotorua to Wellington. We have a short early-in-the-tour bus ride from Taupo to Napier before attempting the balance of the ride along Route 52 through the Hawkes Bay and Wairarapa regions of the North Island.
This part of the ride ride is through very remote country with few accommodation options. It will be farm stays and country pubs for at least a week of the most remote stretch as there is no way that we can load the folders with camping gear and the associated paraphernalia that goes with it.
We are spreading it out over four weeks so that the legs get a chance to recover from the 4,450 metres of ascent that will be involved. When we get to Wellington we are going to catch the scenic train back to Auckland.
I have found that there is quite a bit more research required. What is the terrain like each day. Balancing hills, kilometres and accommodation options so that we are not faced with remaining hills and dead batteries some distance from the only available bed. I have been using bikemap.net which I have found to be a brilliant cycling planning tool.
Plan B if our Taranaki ride eventuates to be ‘ill-conceived’ is to simply fly to Wellington and catch the train back.