Hunkering down in Ross

Five dry days on the West Coast is a pretty good run but, alas, it has come to a very soggy end this weekend. Yesterday the forecast was for heavy rain on both Saturday and Sunday so I made the call to shelter here in Ross for both days.

The ride so far

It is raining very heavily as I write but the outlook for the next week has suddenly taken a promising turn – it should clear tomorrow and I might get another five dry days. Here’s hoping.

The rather bleak view from my container

The week has been a mix of highways and trails. There was more cycle traffic on the popular West Coast Wilderness trail than motor vehicles on the roads – long may it last with regard to the roads as I am on state highway six all the way from Ross to Hawea on the other side of the Alps. I rode a few km along that road last evening and never encountered a vehicle so that was promising.

Starting the climb over the Rahu Saddle between Springs Junction and Reefton
Highest elevation for my ride

On the 84km ride from Reefton to Greymouth I had my first gear failure. As I was negotiating some road works on a single lane bridge, the bike suddenly lost interest in forward motion. I assumed a flat tyre but when I dismounted, the tyre was fine but my rear rack was dangling unassisted. The strut had sheared off. It did not look good but I thought that I could jerry-rig it with some gaffer tape. Fixing things is not my strong suite.

The Pike River memorial about 40km west of Greymouth. Very sad. I was shocked to see how many people have lost their lives in coal mines in the Greymouth area – there was a memorial on the riverfront in town.

I entertained the road construction crew by unpacking all my gear to retrieve the tape and scissors. I still had 30km to ride to Greymouth so it needed to be a reasonably sturdy ‘weld’. I surprised myself, it held well and I was able to get a replacement rack in Greymouth. The owner dropped what he was doing and I was back on the road for the last few km in no time. It has been the second act of kindness shown to me on that particular section of the ride.

On the breakwater at the mouth of the Grey river
The Taramakau river valley

I decided that you don’t take a rest day when it is not raining so started the West Coast Wilderness trail on Wednesday rather than Thursday as planned. It was a short ride to Kumara for the night so seemed like a rest day.

I was able to get a real meal at the fabulous Theatre Royal Hotel in Kumara – yum

I really enjoyed the trail this time, no rain makes a big difference. The only slight hitch was that I sent a photo to Ruth of the spot where the front wheel came off her bike on our ride here 18 months ago. I added what, I thought, was an amusing message, that she should sing the butchered version of the Kenny Rodgers song “you picked a fine time to leave me loose wheel”. I stopped to take a picture a bit later and noticed a message from Ruth – “has your wheel come off, are you all right”. No cell reception by this time so I put my Zoleo satellite communicator to use to put her at ease.

That spot
Pristine waters of a river in the Kawhaka pass area on The Wilderness Trail
Coming down the Kawhaka Pass
The Foxgloves have been a constant splash of colour for most of the ride – these were on the descent into the Arahura valley

Ross was not a long ride from Hokitika but accommodation options from here are limited and I either need to be prepared to ride 100+ km a day or break some days into one shorter ride and one more manageable longer ride. So the ride to Ross was a bit like the Kumara ride – nice and easy.

Mature Rimu and Kahikatea trees dominate the bush between Hokitika and Ross
A long stretch of nice flat trail between Hokitika and Ross
On the beach at Ross

I have been mixing up the accommodation over these last few days. In Reefton I stayed in the ‘Old Nurses Home’. I probably gave good cause for it to be renamed ‘The Old Cyclists Home. In Kumara I stayed at ‘The Undertakers’ and here in Ross I am in a shipping container – if this rain keeps up I might be floating in my shipping container.


  1. I am glad to read that you do have a beacon with you! What a trip! It is great to read about all those towns where we have been quite recently with the camper, but your goat paths for bikes seem to be much more “insightful”, especially as you can turn all of your concentration on them and are not “distracted” by co-bikers of all sorts. You must have been a kind of duck in one of your previous lifes, since you are doing so well in all that rain on the west coast :)? The narrative is fascinating and the photos are great. Thank you! Cheers, Inge Hilarious accommodation names 🙂 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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