I tended to be a planner rather than acting spontaneously. Well that was until the Delta variant of Covid hit town and I realised that planning a bike ride in a patchy pandemic is about as successful as predicting the weather in New Zealand.
The (original) plan, drawn up when we were at level 1, was that I would be heading off next week to complete the remaining 3,000km of my Tour of Aotearoa’. But, we all wanted extra freedoms such as travel to Australia which ultimately came with an inevitable side serving of the Delta variant of Covid. With vaccination rates being low, a lockdown was imposed when Covid inevitably breached our defences in mid-August. Here in the north it was a short lived lockdown but Auckland to the south has been the epicentre with the bulk of the cases in this outbreak. Auckland is also an effective roadblock (straddling both coasts) to a budding cyclist when the ‘border’ is closed to all but essential travel, including through traffic. Furthermore, our air travel from the north routes through Auckland – so when Auckland is off limits so is the rest of the country.
To make matters worse, a couple of infected (and uncooperative) Aucklanders somehow got through those checkpoints and ‘holidayed’ around the north. Now we have joined the big smoke in the naughty corner but with no cases up here yet, hopefully, we will be let out of lockdown next week.
Needless to say, the bike ride, as planned, has been postponed. I had started working on backup plans but after getting to Plan E, I gave up on plans. It is best to treat the ride a bit like my daily rides, if the weather is ok I ride. So the new plan is, be ready and if the outlook is favourable – ride!
There is no longer any logic to the stages, if I can get to the South Island, then I will ride that leg first and come back and complete the North Island leg in later. The complicating factor is that in Feb/March the trails
will may be be clogged with participants in the biannual Tour Aotearoa which attracts over 2,000 cyclists – too much competition for the limited accommodation. Plus they are Lycra clad pedalling machines as opposed to my more sedate, vintage style. So I want to avoid the route while they are charging through the countryside.
Ruth has pulled out of being my support for the south if I go before Christmas so I have had to rethink some of my journey. However, not much point in thinking too much until I get closer to my next potential departure date in mid-November.
The bike had an expensive tune-up in anticipation of next week and now I am reluctant to hammer it too much in case I need another tune-up.m before I actually get to ‘the ride’. But, I cannot let my fitness slip too much and besides, I enjoy the cycling, especially during these lockdown periods.
So, you will have to wait at least another month for my tales of woe as I attempt to pedal the ageing body over the hills and mountains of Aotearoa. If it doesn’t happen soon the body might be incapable of being ‘tuned up’ and the ride will be but a dream.