First few days on the road

A good friend of mine once said bad thinks happen in three’s and it turns out moments of stupidity can do that same! Who knew! I said in my last post that I would be leaving Auckland on Saturday which I completely thought I would be but Friday comes along and while I was chilling out reading my book the girl who cleaned the hostel comes in and asks when I’m leaving…I confidently reply tomorrow! After a couple of minuets I think I better check that confidence reply and see what dates I’ve got written down….oh crap…yep Friday! Not long after the girl comes back and says nope it’s today…I apologise a lot and run around like a mad man packing my bags and getting everything in place. I throw everything in the hostel lounge, run to supermarket and buy some supplies to get me going…load the bike up and wobble down though Auckland to the ferry terminal. Shit, not the relaxed start I wanted and after my weight issue at Heathrow that’s makes two plonker moments…what do you recon, you think there will be a third. Hmm.

As I didn’t think I’d be leaving on Friday I hadn’t realised until about 11 so when I got sorted and packed up it was nearly half 12. I decided to head down to the ferry as the only other was across the harbour in the route I wanted to go is a motorway, no thanks. I got a ticket to Birkenhead and set off north west-ish out of the city. I gradually worked my way out through the suburbs and came across a forest called Riverhead forest, I just planned to cycle through but it got towards the evening and it seemed as good a place as any so I found a spot hidden away, set up my tent and crashed out.

The next morning I got up early, had breakfast and packed away. I wanted to get further than yesterday so I set off towards a place called wellsford which was about 70km away. The first hour was lovely, I got out the forest and turned onto a main road but after about an hour after setting off the rain started…and it didn’t stop all day. My o my I was so drenched when I got to wellsford! Not long after the rain started I took a wrong turn and was on a gravel track slowly trundling along when suddenly I heard the distinctive and very disappointing sound of my rear tire deflating! Ah Crap! I pull over and start to sort it…and this is where plonker moment number three appeared…I had spare inner tubes with me so the plan was to simply remove the old one and replace with the spare. Simple right! Except once I’d removed the old one it became very clear it wasn’t the same as the replacement one I was holding….crumbs! (Funnily enough I used a different word) What the hell do I do now! A bit of chin scratching and wondering and I decided I’d try to patch the one that came out…I found the holes and tried to patch but with the weather being so crap I couldn’t get the patch to stick. Right abandon that…will the replacement wrong one fit? No harm in trying and luckily it did! I don’t know how but I’m going with it. It’s not correct but it’s working so when I’m back in Auckland or if I find a bike shop along the way I’ll sort it out but for now it’s fine.

This sort of set the tone for the day…rubbishy really! Apart from a very kind couple who invited me in for a coffee and gave me a spare inner tube when they heard my previous plonker moment it was quite miserable. I splashed my way to wellsford where  at about 5 I got to a motel and had a very long warm shower!

I decided after my slightly crap start to this little adventure I would have a day in the motel, dry everything out and get sorted properly. So I did and today I started a fresh. From Wellsford I planned to cycle to a place called Ruawai which was another 70km or so away so got up early, packed everything up. This time with a bit more care and attention and started cycling. While at the motel I met another cyclist, a guy called Shaun from Blackburn who is doing the same route as me so he told me about some good places to aim for and check out which was really helpful. I also met another Shaun from South Africa a couple of days back who emailed me through some details about the route up the west coast so I got some more info from him as well. All really helpful!

Afterward heading up the SH1 main road I turned off and went along the SH12 which took me straight to Ruawai. I got there about 2 and the hostel I was aiming for was a bit run down so I continued along to a place called Dargaville which was only another 20km up the road which is a bit bigger and I hoped the hostel would be a bit nicer. I found the hostel and am taking it easy tonight before heading up toward Omapere tomorrow.

Today was really great, it only rained a little and there was finally some lovely views. It was also plonker moment free which I recon is a good thing! I managed to do about 90km so got a good distance up the coast so I’m going to have a couple of shorter days and hopefully find some nice camping spots along the way. We shall see!

Will let you know how the next few days go when I can. Over the last few days cycling away I’ve also come up with a name for my bike….Daisy. I’m guessing it came from the number of cattle we’ve seen over the last few days. They all stare at us as we trundle past which is slightly strange so daisy seemed like an appropriate name! I hope you like it! Fingers crossed the weather isn’t to bad but the next few days should be pretty cool heading up the coast and I might reach 90 mile beach. I’ll keep you posted and will let you know if I have any more plonker moments…I recon the chances are high!


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