It felt a bit like heading off to battle with a pea shooter as we loaded our gear onto the little F19 folding bikes. 250 km over five days is not that far but heading into the hills when your co-captain is seriously allergic to them is a little daunting.
Of course we now have battery assist for those “ups” but would the battery life be sufficient. Today would answer that question.
The weather obliged and we set off under partly cloudy skies, heading in the general direction of the sky, well that is what it felt like. 25km of unbroken hill climb up to 540m before we could coast down the other side. My calculations indicated that we should reach the summit with 2/5 of our power in reserve.
The slope was barely perceptible but the legs quickly told us that we were biking up hill.
I dropped my first battery charge bar a mere 0.8km into the ride after climbing a very steep “rise” away from our bed and breakfast.
As we hit the top I decided a bit of battery nursing was in order early on, I did not want to be walking the bike up the steeper sections later in the morning. Given the lighter load Ruth’s bike was carrying I told her to “battery away” and she was soon but a speck on the horizon.
Wow, this ride was pretty spectacular. Before too long New Plymouth appeared to be a long way below us and we were in mountain forest crossing rock strewn streams, it was feeling very adventurous. The road was deserted, the batteries were performing as expected and we were suddenly at our high point on the road, Pukeiti Rhododendron Trust.
We Spent two hours wandering around this splendid garden before returning to the F19s for an unbroken 14km downhill coast.
Our overnight accommodation was an unexpected “gem”. An old country pub that had been given a fresh lease of life by an Austrian couple. The food was superb but despite the battery assist, we knew we had done a decent day’s riding and did not need any rocking to sleep.
Tomorrow promises another dry day and a longer ride. After today, we are feeling a lot more confident.