It’s been a roller coaster of emotions, constantly re-orienting the adventure, it was a great vacation. I didn’t ride as much as I expected (about 1,800km). I took the time to enjoy my self and discover New Zealand. I met so many awesome people and saw so much more then I would have seen if I had stayed on the road. I got to taste a lot of good food, coffee, beer and wine.
I slept so well at the end of each day, exhausted from the day and comfortable sleeping in my tent or in one of the cottages at a holiday park. I got used the birds signing very loudly every morning, but still woke up at 6 every day.
Today was our last day loading the bikes, our last ride in New Zealand. Tomorrow the bikes will be packed and we will be enjoying a couple of easy walking days before flying home. I am really happy not to try and fit my life’s essentials on my bike for the 29th day in a row, excited not to have to fold my bivi, roll my mattress or push on my clothing to fit all in the seat bag. I am now a professional at fitting a wine bottle so it won’t break on the ride, but still can’t fit a coffee cup anywhere on the bike.
We were really lucky and had no mechanical issues and fairly good weather. We only had one really wet day, but lots of wind. I wouldn’t be able to ride here in summer. We got sunburned, even with lots of sunscreen, on cloudy days.
I will miss the essential food groups: chocolate, salted cashews, beef jerky and chips. But won’t miss the usual meals: instant oatmeal, boiled eggs, dehydrated meals, cup-a-soup. The wine in a can was hilarious, but New Zealand has great wines well worth carrying the extra weight of a bottle! I was positively surprised with the quality and diversity of cheeses. I would be lying if I said we ate camping food all the time, New Zealand puts everything in a pie, so I had bacon/egg pie for breakfast a few times and a few different weird ones along the way. We also treated ourselves to good meals when there was a good restaurant in town. I will miss our lunch spots, eating on the trails, enjoying amazing scenery or bird watching.
I have been wearing the same two bibs and jerseys for a month and a pair of tights, I cannot wait to put on a pair of jeans and a real bra!
Anne-Marie is the owner of Liv Vancouver, the first female focused bicycle boutique of its kind in Canada. An avid cyclist & bike packer, she has ridden down the coast from Vancouver to San Francisco twice, among other exciting two-wheeled expeditions. She is now on a bicycle tour through New Zealand with her daughter Frederique & colleague Kelsey. Visit Anne-Marie’s personal blog here.