Biting off more than I can pedal?

It has been a while since my last post. At that stage I had plans for a spring tour of the Far North on my folding e-bike, as a ‘proof of concept’ for touring the length on New Zealand on it. Well that plan got shot to pieces for a various number of reasons and by the time it became feasible, the seasons were changing and it is now an autumn ride. Furthermore, over summer I have had time to think about the whole concept and decided that the ride on a folder may be a little foolhardy. Consequently, I have moved back to a ‘huff n puff’ bike, i.e., one without an electric motor, and purchased a Trek X-Caliber 8 mountain bike, nice and light, feels feather weight after the folder which was light for an e-bike. The downside is that I have to power it up the hills. My average speed of ascent has dropped from around 14kph to 5-8kph but I do seem to make up a little of the lost time on the flat or less perpendicular sections of trail and road where the large 29′ wheels roll the bike along with little effort.

I have been busy testing out my personal motor, which is fueled by modest quantities of wine and beer, with a fully laden bike, even dragging all the gear out to a nearby beach (80km return trip with some serious hills) and overnighting just to make sure the the body was able get enough rest to recuperate for the next day’s ride. Slept like a baby, despite the gale blowing outside, but it was not because of the comfort but because I was so exhausted. Ruth decided that she would drive out and check out the tiny tent for the night. She declared in the morning that there was absolutely no way that she would be coming out of retirement.

The body was willing me to bike on to Kauri Cliffs for a little pampering – the wallet was demanding that I continue on to the camp ground.

I sent her off before deconstructing the tent in the still blustery conditions, declaring that I have to deal with this on my own. I managed to get tent, flysheet and poles into the bag without having to chase them all over the camp ground. Then I had a warm up 200m climb over the first 3km, battled a 10km section of busy State road and kept the legs warm with a further 350m of climbing. I made it back, much to Ruth’s surprise, and declared that I was ready for the big ride to Cape Reinga starting at Easter – weather permitting. If that goes ok, then the plans for completing the rest of the journey to Bluff at the bottom of the South Island are back on. Rescheduled to Spring this year and hopefully Covid proof as the vaccine rollout will be completed before departure date.

There is the campsite 200m below – you will be well rested before you have to bike back up here in the morning – yeah right

Will keep you posted of the progress (or lack of it) during the ride starting in a weeks time. Ruth is at the ready to come and rescue me should the ‘motor’ cease up.

A room with a view

8 comments

  1. Good luck?????? I can’t see the point of it without a bit of electric power. Very interested to watch you progress. What is the target—- how many ks a day. Best of luck Cliff. Cheers Geoff

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    1. The challenge is charging you battery and range over our hilly terrain. When you drain you battery you are pushing a very heavy bike under your own pedal power. Daily ranges are something that I will fine tune on my first ride but around 50-80km depending upon how much climbing there is on the day. I will be interested in my progress as well – May turn our to be a pipe dream. Cheers Cliff

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  2. Very best of luck on your travels! We’ll look forward to hearing the next episode. Martin and Penelope Tinsley,
    Mile Cross Homestay

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  3. What a surprise! I thought once you went electric there would be no turning back. But you are a man who accepts a good challenge and we’ll look forward to seeing how this goes. (Ruth and I share a lot in common on this subject!)

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    1. There was a large degree of practicality involved – a number of the rides are remote with no electricity – better to ‘push’ a lighter bike up hills than a heavier electric with a dead battery and less gears. Well that’s the theory.

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