Jan 29, Geraldine, New Zealand

I spent several days in the Christchurch area, and left the morning of 1/27, with the goal of heading south. Some days earlier, I had contacted the owner of a local cycling touring website and was strongly advised against taking SH-1 south, due to the traffic. It would have been much easier, otherwise. So, instead, I headed west, back over part of the road that I traveled going into Christchurch, turning south to take a more inland (and scenic) route. The first time on this road, I had moderate headwinds coming from the east. Naturally, I expected a tailwind this time, since I was going the other direction. No such luck–I had strong headwinds almost the entire day. Consequently, I only made it about 70 km to the town of Glentunnel, where I stayed at a campground. I was greeted almost immediately by this beautiful grey cat with only a stub of a tail. The tail poked up, like it had been injured at some point.

Cat with no tail

The next morning, I was speaking with the manager of the camp who said that this cat actually had a home somewhere in town, but had been hanging out here for a few weeks. “That’s why we don’t feed it–we don’t want it to think it lives here.” Heck, **I** fed the cat 3 times in less than 16 hours, and I know others did too. The cat lives there.

The next morning (1/29) I headed to the town of Geraldine, a 65 mile ride with a killer climb near the beginning. Martin–a cyclist from Australia overtook me and we rode together for about an hour. He was much stronger and younger than I, and he had almost no gear.  As a result, he literally flew down the road, and had a 100 miles as his goal for the day. It was nice to have some company!

Martin from Australia

The ride this morning would gradually take me to a summit overlooking a gorge, with a rapid decent down to the river. The killer climb would be climbing back up the other side. But what a view!

Best view yet

Before leaving the Christchurch area, I removed 10 pounds of gear from my bike, and will retrieve it when I return to leave NZ. I could really feel the difference as I climbed out of the gorge. On the way to Geraldine, I stopped in a small town for some coffee and stumbled upon a road rally with classic cars.

Classic car rally!

(Paul–I saw a Desoto that could have been yours, except for the steering wheel was on the wrong side!)

More old cars


The remaining ride into Geraldine was easy, but wow–did my body hurt about everywhere. I don’t know why I felt it so much on this day, when I have not on so many other difficult days. Perhaps because of the distance. Along the way, I passed fields that were lined with trees–really amazing hedges. I suppose they are there for the wind which can be brutal.

Enormous evergreen hedges went on forever


Another day riding awaits me today. My goal is the city of Dunedin, which has the steepest street in the world.


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