Either way we had completed a fantastic round trip, which we started three days ago. And we were unsure if we would even be able to pedal out of Port Chalmers on the first hill before we started.
Being up the front on a Tandem has its perks, drawbacks and a large sense of responsibility. Coasting down to Waitati, up front you break all the wind. Oh my gosh was it cold! OOOOOOOOHLAAAALAAAAAA..... Jo thanked me for breaking all the cold wind.. It must be all worth it then :)
I admit, I love doing the driving part, dealing with the gears and brakes and finding the best line for our ride. I am so lucky that both Jo and I accept and like our positions on the Tandem. There are no arguments, just harmony in where we are and how we ride. The skill up the front is choosing the correct gear for the terrain we are peddling on, ensuring I don't burn our brakes out on a steep decent, and keeping a good line, not getting distracted and ensuring we don't meet a nasty pothole or wander off the road in a momentary lapse of reason.
When I bike on my own, your only issue is 'you' and what you might collide with if it goes pear shape. Biking on a tandem has the shared sense of responsibility and I am 'super' cautious with the knowledge of caring for my tandem buddy.
Along the coast road from Warrington is a stunning ride, rising up and down with the gullies and ridges of the landscape. Finally we are greeted with a friendly wave and hello at Simon Middlemass' place and a fresh coffee. We did chat about camping there, but there was no question, we were carrying on.
Well..... the long way it was! Remember we had both not cycled for two months. On top of that Jo had four months off work with concussion with no activity, then a couple of weeks of some work activity, then travel to Costa Rica and Nicaragua with World Challenge - with less activity she has done all year. At 90km, we decided to stop into a farm house for water at Morrison.
What a wonderful lady! In true kiwi style, we were offered a cuppa, refreshed our water supply and offered to stay in the paddock across the road on her land. I can only wish that other people would do that and I will always endeavour to welcome others the same way if I can.
We hit the hay pretty early and once out for a midnight leak - the stars were amazing. It is the beautiful thing about getting away from the city light pollution, you realise how incredible the night sky is, and just how small we all truly are.
Day 2 dawned cloudy and fresh again. We hit the cadence vibe, and found ourselves climbing, breathing heavily up Brothers pass, past Pigroot Hill. Once we had cleared the hills it was a quick ride to Kyeburn, where we rested in the late morning sun. It was too tempting to snooze off, so we saddled up again and proceeded to dance again softly on our peddles, charging forward to Middlemarch.
I had forgotten about the climb through to Hyde. The only way to describe it is ..... 'Grunt'.
Into Middlemarch our minds were swimming towards fresh coffee and yummies. And so we did! Yumbooos!
It was the heat of the day so taking some time out to digest and avoid the main heat was the plan. Often a good technique in cycle touring when its cooking out on the tarmac.
Later we hit the road. Hmmmm, a head wind, stifling hot, and one hell of a hill to climb out of Middlemarch. In fact 'up' and 'up' went together on this one. Jo unfortunately nearly ran out of go go, but getting off was not an option. Just push harder! We cleared the top to descend to Deep stream where we thought we would take a hiding camp site. The pine trees that were to be our salvage... had been felled! Pooh! So after a brief feed we climbed up to make Clarkes Junction Hotel where I suggested we ask for a piece of grass to camp on. Not what we planned, but the owners were wonderful. So a great piece of grass, beer and a steak meal made up for all the sweat. The owners were super friendly and very welcoming. - by the way they are selling if your interested?
|Clarkes Junction Hotel|
Day 3: Cruising on a sunny day across the penny plain of Otago, takes your breath away. The expanse of land, space and tussocks, while travelling self contained with your buddy on a tandem is simply amazing and words don't even come close. The descent into Lee stream was fantastic and the climb out although it made us work hard, was not really too desperate. 22km of mostly down hill to Outram rewarded us on our efforts of hill climbing. Fresh coffee at the Wobbly Goat cafe and a yummy saw us on our way to Mosgiel - Dunedin's own Hollywood - well the sign at least? We decided to follow the cycle trail back into town, and was welcomed with a stiff Northeaster. We stole ourselves for a smoothie then hit the road towards home to close the loop.
Cycling up that last hill... at the 271km mark, we had spent the journey mostly focused on peddling. Tandems when loaded are pretty slow up hill. On average we travel between 6-9 km/hr. Remember you have two body weights plus two persons lot of equipment - of which you have to be frugal anyway. However on the flats you can hike along at 30 - 45km/hr easily, sometimes 50km/hr. Downhills can be fast too, however the panniers provide plenty of wind resistance. Our top speed was 77km/hr. Our first day was 90 km, second day we travelled 109 km, then we finished off to top the 272.5km total back at home. Cresting the final hill, in reflection, I would liked to have stopped off for some swims, however each day we did not finish peddling until about 1800 or later so maybe we did not have the time. Next time I will plan to do this? I am scheming our next ride already.
For more images go to: http://www.andythompsonphotographynz.co.nz/Cycle-Touring/