GLOBAL CYCLE EVENT

In a world increasingly preoccupied with throwaway materialistic things; where people are constantly busy earning money to pay for those things, or so their children can have those things;
This is the story of my dreams of travelling the world by bicycle. Because it's there. And because I dont want to die without experiencing the truly important things in life .

A sense of wonder and a sense of adventure.

Friday, 23 December 2011

Happy Summer Solstice to Everyone!

Happy Summer Solstice to everyone out there!  All of us on the top side of the world are basking in heaps of sun.
And a Happy Winter Solstice to all those on the bottom side.

Two more days and we are all free of those annoying Xmas carols and the hard hit advertising everywhere. Even another big earthquake in Christchurch didn’t stop the politicians and business leaders from warning people that this should not stop them doing their duty and filling the new malls with their gay jingling pockets.
I'll Get Through Xmas by Breaking into the Liquor.
I’ve decided that I like summer so much that I will chase it on my treadle Eastwards across South America and then with the help of a bit of high octane jet fuel  arrive in Morocco just in time for spring on the bottom side of the world, just as it emerges from the Southern Hemispheres’  shadow.

I continue to tune in to some of the other past contestants in the Global bike Race. It never fails to amuse me as to how two months from the start of our individual challenges they can still be going on about finding sponsorship or lack of finding it.

I really would like to know what it is with the younger generation and sponsorship? Firstly I’d like to know something about how much of the sponsorship money is going to the charity and how much is going into their pockets towards their trip? Because it sounds to me like they themselves have little cash to cover their expenses while they are away on the adventure. I mean it’s a wickedly good plan if you can pull off a free trip in the name of a charity. And on top of that big business can get a tax break by sponsoring you. The charity won’t complain since they’ll be happy to get the crumbs once it’s all settled. But I can’t help getting that ‘this isn’t right is it’ feeling.
If it smells a little off I think it probably is. It’s the same feeling I get when I hear of Adventurers and Racers going past people on the route who need assistance and who then  don’t stop to render it because it will cost them either time or position.  And for that matter people who will not wait for slower members on a group training ride.

It’s the “You got any free stuff for me?” generation.
Bang!

I filled up my Optimus primus last week with petrol, stood back and lit it. Imagine my relief as it roared away happily. The implications of this are immense. With auto fuel being the most ubiquitous liquid on the planet outside water I should be able to fire up for a hot coffee or one pot meal anywhere. I just have to smuggle the old cooker past the customs officers at the airport and I’m set. Rest assured that Optimus are not sponsoring me on my adventures so I won’t be making up any crap about how my cooker lights with a single match and will happily burn for 6mths without a recharge. In fact I recall last time I used my cooker it nearly took my eyebrows off when I prewarmed it with too much white spirits! That’s when I made the startling discovery that I could prewarm it with antiseptic hand wash. It was during the bird flu scare and there were free hand wash dispensers everywhere. Who would have thought you could use the stuff as a fuel. (Niel the Wheel’s previous life as a microbiology student, and tight arse nature helped there).
The Gift Wrap for an Overseas Adventure.

O it’s so exciting! It’s the night before much of the Western World swaps big screen TVs or beach balls or whatever other toys take their fancy and the tooth fairy, (probably Diane), has dropped off a few Visa applications for me. That will give me something concrete to do tomorrow between berry hunting and paddling at the beach. Actually may flag the paddling at the beach as it’s all polluted with sewage after last week’s heavy rain. What and you non New Zealanders thought we were clean and green? Unfortunately where there are people there’s poo. I might just leave the swimming for a week or two.

Filling in Visa applications before heading off on my last training session down South sound’s much more appealing.

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

What I've Been Unemployed For A Month!

It’s been a week or so since I last reported on progress towards my world cycling domination. So what has been happening on the old training front? Well actually nothing much. Kilometres travelled on the bike have been at an all-time low. I have to say that I’m not really at all concerned about this because in two weeks’ time I’ll be on my bike again cycle touring the South Island. And at 150-200km per day I should be back up to full fitness in about 3 days.

I have been busy over the last couple of weeks though;

Firstly I had to make a trip to the dentist who managed to wrestle $360 out of me and a couple of teeth that I really didn’t need anyway since I can easily gain all the sustenance I need by sucking my chocolate as I sip my coffee. One thing I must warn others about though is never drink really hot coffee while your mouth is still anaesthetised because you can burn the roof of your mouth without realising it and then wrongfully accuse the dentist of being overly rough with said mouth.  If I had done what Adi said and taken painkillers I would not have had to have an afternoon in bed. But since it was raining cats and dogs that day I couldn’t have done anything else anyway so thought I might as well practice getting over the dental treatment the hard way.

So after I had recovered from the dentist’s chair and enormity of the bill appearing in our letter box the next day (NZ mail gives special post haste to dental bills) I needed to focus on the cost of next year’s firewood. Because as we all know there’s no point in trying to burn wet firewood. So while people were out all over the world buying Christmas junk for friends and family Adi and I bought each other the best  blue gum firewood. A whole wood shed full. I spent a whole day carting it to the woodshed and then another day stacking it in. I’m pretty proud of stacking it in, in such a way as to give maximum airflow around each piece. Adi’s a Virgo so I‘ve learnt not to let her stack firewood as each piece is arranged in such a way that it fits perfectly into the adjacent piece. Five years of drying wouldn’t achieve the desired result! There’s nothing quite as satisfying as a full woodshed. Thank you Father Christmas. Off course come next winter I should be in China somewhere but Adi might still like to warm her booties in front of the fire before she comes to visit me.  Mr Stewart the woodman recognised me and wished me a happy cycle trip which was nice.  He then prised open my hand relieving me of $500 and was merrily on his way. Ho Ho  Ho
As Neat as a German Wood Shed.


As I mentioned above it rained for a few days on end this week and we ended up having a once in forty year flood. While the hill suburbs slipped towards the sea we gained some pretty big puddles around the house and once again the road disappeared under about 2mtrs of water. The upside though is that now our well has a staggering 3 ½ metres of water in it! A new record! If I fell down the well I could drown. Or another way of looking at it is that the ground water is now only 2mtrs below the surface. Since we rely on the ground water for pretty much everything round here, including making a mug of coffee, it’s pleasing to know that I can easy source it.

While the rain fell I decided to try to figure out why the engine on my Vespa was always covered in oil despite my motorbike being only a couple of years old while Adi’s Vespa has a shiny clean engine at all times. This is not because Adi cleans her engine but because my motor has always had a bit of a leak and I don’t trust letting NZ mechanics have a go at my Italian masterpiece. I’ve seen how NZ mechanics work. Since most of the Italians in Nelson seem at the moment to be occupied with growing tomatoes I tackled the job myself. A few hours of hard graft while the rain drummed down on the workshop roof and I had the offending gasket identified and sealed. Time will tell how effective the operation was. I just hope I haven’t sealed it so well that the oil has stopped flowing through the engine as well as out of it.
Vespa 'Be Happy'.


Adi told me the other day that I had been officially unemployed for a month! It certainly doesn’t feel like it. Bunnings hardware staff are getting used to me turning up on the Mercian for building materials and the record for lengths of supplies on the BOB trailer keeps getting broken. This time I managed to bring home 3mtr lengths of guttering and down pipes.
The Gutter Man's on the Job.

 It would certainly be easier if I had the kombi running. But then I’d be paying the Government even more tax. So I think we’ll keep that van in the garage where it doesn’t cost us anything.

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Solo Around the World for 'the Wheel'

Not knowing whether I am going to London to join the remainder of the Global Bike Race entrants or go off and do my own Around the World attempt has begun to make me feel a bit stressed. Time is now running out with things like vaccinations, visas and tickets needing to be organised. But more importantly   , I need to focus on whether I am headed for South America in February or Europe. The whole indecision is doing my head in!

So I have made the decision to go it alone on a solo around the world adventure. The decision was partly made easier for me by the fracturing of the other entrants and the fact that some of them aren’t even going to start together now in London but leave from other locations. I honestly feel that it’s stupid for me to pay the extra money to get there when I too can start from my home ( Nelson, New Zealand) and circle the world from here.



So now the decision has been made I can get on with planning again.

It was organised that I go on a long day ride today but I didn’t have the motivation for it. But feel better now that I have finally made up my mind. I’ve got a 14 day block of long distance touring scheduled in January so am not too concerned about losing a bit of fitness. 14days of 200km per day on the loaded touring bike will put me in the best form. Adi will follow me on her Vespa and we will camp around the South Island.  Then it will be a few weeks back home to fix up some last minute house things and then kiss my girl and…. Off to South America! Scary!

I hope they’ve got McDonalds over there so that I can send blogs free. My intention is to blog a few times a week. You get to send blogs for free but you have to put up with the other crap. And I don’t mean the food. What crap you ask?

The stuff that goes like this;

You’ve spent some time outside looking at the specials and have decided on something. “I’ll have the McChicken lunch combo special thanks”

“Sorry only available until 1pm” said Mr McD

“What time is it now?”I said.

“Ten past 1”said Mr McD

O shit so you frantically sort out a whole new thing in your head.

“But I can still do it”….” But it won’t be a special “said Mr McD

“How much more expensive will it be? “I said

“50c” says McD

“O for goodness sake just give it to me!!! “

Then you get the would you like x or y with that, black or white, sugar or sweetener richer or poorer. … By this time your bikes been stolen and you’ve forgotten that you only came in to use their Wi-Fi.

What I really struggle with regarding McDonalds is in countries like France where the posted wall menus are all in English but  you say McCheese or McMuffin and they don’t know what you’re talking about???

Petrol? Petrol's got to be Good for Something.

Next week I’m going to find out whether my white spirits cooker will run on petrol or whether it will explode engulfing me and Potters-End in a fiery inferno. Comments concerning this would be appreciated before I light the match on Wednesday.

Friday, 9 December 2011

18000 kms and the Year is Not Out.

What a great week. It started with a couple days of torrential rain. This weather only emphasised the fact that I had made the correct decision about spending more time on the repair of our old house. Although the roof didn’t leak the gutters were clearly not coping and in need of a redesign. I’ll tackle this in the next few weeks as I repaint the roof. Water damage on the lower weather boards, commonly described as rot, due to these defective gutters will also need to be sorted before I head off cycling the world. But first things first. It’s so easy to get distracted at Potters-End because there’s just so much that needs doing. Too much time in the past working at the bike shop and cycling and not enough time looking after what really matters. Namely a roof over your head.


Not to be distracted I started work on the back room generally used as a study. When we bought the house 20years ago my friends advised that I pull the back room down and use the wood to warm the rest of the house for the winter so rotten it was.’ Ye of little faith’ I said. And with the help of the work car and the generous amount of time my employers gave me to do very little, I managed to bring supplies home and at least stabilise the structure. Twenty years later and I’m still working on it. But it is looking better and it gets a lot of sun. I’ve always said that I should be able to fix this house quicker than it can rot and now that I’m more focused I should make some progress.

Procuring building materials now that we don’t have an operating motor I knew would be a challenge. Three options immediately presented themselves. I could fix the combi, pay for delivery or bring home what I needed on the bike trailer. The fairies in the garage told me the combi engine recon had not progressed to a level that would enable me to get the VW started let alone out of the garage and I wouldn’t make Adi work for two hours to pay for delivery. So it was connect up the BOB trailer and see how much timber I could get on board. As you can see from the photo the staff at Bunnings were very obliging in holding my bike while I loaded up. I’m not sure that my frame guarantee from Mercian covers this sort of thing but after a 15km ride I was home. Mission accomplished.  I have worked out that 2metre lengths and 40kgs seems to be the BOB’s limitation when being used as a builder’s trailer.
Just Hold Her There. Back in a Minute.

Another very interesting, but not unexpected thing that happened last week while I was away training and confirmed by email this week was the falling over of the Global Bike Race. You might think that this would really rock me. And it would have  if I had not been half expecting it and had I not put a plan B into action a month or so back. The organiser of the Global Bike Race has been so poorly organising it that  it seems  most of the intended riders have left him and decided to try and put their own race together. Others have simply pulled out totally.

The rider organised race will be run on similar lines but I have to decide whether to participate in this event or go solo on my own around the world. Not riding around the world is simply not an option for me now as I have made a commitment to friends, family and myself that cannot be undone. Good on the English riders for trying to salvage something from the fiasco but at the moment I’m the only overseas rider and I have to seriously look at whether it’s worth spending the extra $3000 dollars to get to London for the start and the return afterwards and in addition any costs associated with the new event.  

My plan B is to cycle my route around the world as previously described (see 'Wheel Around the World' Route section) but to start and finish in Nelson NZ and to cycle it instead from West to East. This works better for climates. If I adopt this plan it will see me leave Nelson for Lima South America in mid Feb next year and then once I’m across Sth America I’ll continue on to Morocco and Europe etc.

I’ll make my decision in two weeks and then rush over to Diane my travel agent and arrange the ticket I’ll need.


I’ve almost clocked up 20000kms on the Mercian this year. It’ll probably be 19000km odd by Christmas. If I’d driven my ass around in the car over the last 52weeks I would have used 1900litres of petrol and at $2.15 a litre that’s an Around the World airline ticket. And people wonder why they can’t afford to eat. It’s because you’re feeding your car and in doing so helping the Government balance its books.

They’ll be coming for me; I’ve got to go..



Sunday, 4 December 2011

It's All About Hours on the Bike.

So here I am back home at Potters-End. I’ve still got a few days left before the end of the week so I should be out cycling. Last week you can see from my mileage that I covered 940kms. This week although I cycled back from Taupo I did not have a race to come back too. I also cycled directly back so my mileage, unless I go out and hit the roads, will be quite a bit less. It’s hard to motivate yourself to go out on your bike after you’ve just come back from ten days of nearly continuous cycling.

So since it was hard to motivate myself I found the perfect solution. I found something else to do and didn’t bother swinging my leg over my bike. There’s always work to do in the garden and I found a job that kept me busy for half a day. I tidied up last spring’s daffodil bulbs and put them away for replanting later. Boy we’ve got some whoopers.

Wondering if You Can Eat Daffodil Bulbs.


I also managed that day to catch up on what’s been happening on face book regarding the Global Bike Race. Things are constantly changing regarding the organisation or dis-organisation of the race. I can’t blame the Northern Hemisphere contestants for feeling a bit frustrated at the moment as they slide into winter. I went through a lot of indecision a few months ago with snow on the ranges and not enough hot water bottles to go around. Adi got a nice new pink hot water bottle in the shopping but I didn’t see a new blue one for me anywhere amongst the groceries. Potter’s-End austerity measures bite pretty hard. Anyway at least twice I got cold feet on the whole ride around the world idea. I’m back on course now but I don’t know if the race is?

On Friday to salvage what was a promising start to the week I begrudgingly went out on my usual 130km circuit leaving after lunch, and after coffees, and then also after anything else I thought I could do to put it off. I got on my bike and just felt like a steam train. Admittedly I didn’t have any luggage on board so I suppose I should have felt ok. But at the 110km mark I usually feel some tiredness since this course is quite hilly. Afraid that I might come down quickly and that the last 20kms could be a grovel I stuffed down a couple of chocolate bars. The tiredness never came and I walked in the door shouting to hottie hogger that” I was the man”! And,” what’s for dinner”?

Still not enough kms saw me out on the bike the next day. But really I could only face a ride into town and back. I mean what’s the point. It’s like when you’re studying, and you feel ok because you’re at your desk staring at your books. Let’s face it it’s not quality study so you’re just fooling yourself.

 So the total for the week was 710kms. Most of it quality loaded touring and tenting. But the rest… a fill in. The last couple of weeks have shown me that I’m on track and pretty fit. So for the next month, basically all of December, I’m going to do…………………. Nothing!

Just kidding. No I’ve decided that for December I’m going to do virtually nothing, except two separate long day rides. On two separate Sundays I’ll do 270km rides on my Mercian with just a day bag under the saddle. Weather permitting. If it’s raining I’ll leave the next day. I’m posting this now so that if any of my roadie friends are reading this they may express interest in coming too. In fact I may even see if I can drum up a bit of interest for this with the Sunday bunch crowd?

This sounds a bit desperate but I may even consider riding Adi’s carbon road bike if that would make them feel more comfortable. Riding on carbon fibre would certainly make me feel nauseous but if it gets me a bit of company it might be worth it.

Since I’m no longer employed as a cycle shop boy next week I will begin home maintenance. Then next Sunday a nice 10hr return ride to the north westerly tip of the South Island where all the whales keep getting stranded.  I’ll take my camera.


Thursday, 1 December 2011

I May Look Like A Tourist, But I Live Here.

Day 10.

The final days ride home dawned clear and sunny.  A picture perfect day in the Marlborough Sounds. After sleeping in a bit I packed the’ Gay Girls’ away.

After a bit of entertainment watching a couple back their campervan into the campground service building I was on my way. Actually a better description of their van would be holiday home on wheels.  You could probably pilot it across Nevada ok but in New Zealand on poorly designed roads with impatient drivers why would you bother.

Talking of impatient drivers one must not forget that’ Niel the Wheel’ was born and bred in this country and has like most NZers  passed all Kiwi driving tests and can thus foot it with the best of them.

The first 22kms of my ride was along very picturesque but twisty roads and I was focused on getting to my morning tea stop at Havelock not really enjoying the view. So imagine my annoyance when all the tourists wanted not only to enjoy the view along this road but also take their motel rooms on wheels with them and thus HOLD ME UP. No sooner had a diesel burner past me by they then would decide to stop, take pictures from the dining room window, and then want to pass me again so they could stop further up the road.

I have to say Dad taught me the way of the road well. The challenge was on because all kiwi drivers know that driving is a competition in this country. I could take control of this situation by riding hard and fast and sticking well out in the road. They just couldn’t get past. I had in no time formed a campervan convoy behind me and was in full control of the situation. That will teach them for trying to bring their apartment on holiday with them.

Another little ploy I have found mildly amusing with campervan owners is to pull off the road somewhere where they can’t stop due to lack of room and then point into the landscape as if something amazing is happening (works best if you’ve got another cyclist to point with you). They look really miffed because they think they’re missing something. I used this little game along the cliff edges of the Nullabor in Aussie when there were often whales in the ocean. And more often there weren’t any. But it didn’t stop me from pointing.


From then on it was head down and over the two hills homewards. My roadie mate Brian had come out to meet me and it was good to chat to him for the last 50kms or so. I’ve given Brian a hard time over the years due to the fact that he’s an American. But I have to say I admire his drive and interest in everything. I was going to say everything cycling but I think Brian is just interested in anything. I can always count on him to be a goer on long rides or other adventures. And I’m sure if it was not for his desire to help his partner Jeannie’s cycle racing dreams come true and a lack of finances he’d be joining me around the world.

By this stage Adi had met me also on her Vespa and told me I was to stop in 10kms to talk to a local reporter about my training. Which I did.

Josh from the Nelson Evening Mail wrote a nice article about me shown below;



The day was great with my only regret being that I missed the bunch ride which apparently had also gone out to meet me. But due to a pretty good tail wind and a can or two, or three of energy drinks I had missed them due to being too early.

But thanks everyone for making the effort to meet me.




Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Anyone For A Cruise?

Day 9.

It poured down all last night but I’d seen the weather forecast and knew that it would clear. So I mucked around a bit since I only had 110kms to go to the ferry. I didn’t need to be at the terminal until 5.30pm.

I had a chance to leave soap suds on a number of different wash hand basins in the motor camp and have an extended morning shower. Then it was off to the Levin McDonalds for breakfast. A breakfast I would rather forget. The main reason being, to post my blog and give the rain a chance to ease off.

Then it was off down the coast into a slight headwind. I used to spend a lot of time as a teenager cycling this coastline and it has plenty of memories for me. It’s also where I met Adi for the first time. So between the two of us we pretty much sorted out all the great places you could park up for a bit of ‘let’s get to know one another’. In those days I owned a sports car. The things you have to do to catch a girl’s eye. Women aye. They won’t even look at a guy with a bicycle, but get a sports car and your battle is almost won.

Lovely backcountry Church.

As I approached wellington I tried a few cycle ways but they were as crap as I remember them. Invariably you go off course or the condition of the seal cuts your speed by 10km’hr. And of course you have to weave between the kiddies and dogs. I know this area and I still went way off course.

I still got to Wellington with plenty of time. So I zoomed around the CBD annoying the locals and pretending not to know English. Once I was sick of that I went to MacDonald’s for an ice-cream and to use the internet. Unfortunately this time the joke was on me because school was out so I had to listen to cackling teenage girls for an hour only then to find out that the Wellington CBD has free Wi-Fi.

Now I wait for the ferry. Sailing conditions MODERATE they say. Is moderate all your dinner on the deck or just so green you can’t face eating anything?

I don’t know what it is but sometimes I find New Zealanders hard to understand and I live here. I really don’t know how foreigners cope. Two examples today were firstly when I pushed my bike onto the ferry and the guy said “over there on the knots” I mean what the hell does that mean. Luckily I already knew where to put my bike so I put it there. But later I figured out that what he must have meant was ‘put it over there where there are ropes to tie it to the wall’. All I can assume is that knots is sea talk for ropes! The other example was cycling along earlier in the day when I approached a stop go man and it looked a bit dodgy up there so I  looked for reassurance from stop/go man because he had the sign in neither the stop or go position. He said “you’re right mate” Now NZers all know that means go for it. But any person from another country would be thinking ‘yes I’m ok but do I go or not?’

The New Ferry ( Currently Broken). Mines Parked Behind.
I ended the day on the ferry and it was a calm crossing so my roast chicken, backed potatoes and diced veges stayed down. I have to say ferry food has improved over the years. The ferry cliental hasn’t though. Apart from the fact that a good proportion on board were truck drivers, (you can imagine my joy at that. They’re trying to kill you on the road during the day and then you have to sit down and share chicken with them at night.), there also seems like a higher than average number of social drop kicks on ferry crossings. It’s certainly not the image that the Interislander company projects in their advertising. I didn’t see any young upwardly mobile couples sipping wine on the deck. Just patched bikies and what looked like the rest of their extended families.

Monday, 28 November 2011

Sweet & Sour Tonight.

Day 8.

Today was probably the easiest of the whole trip. The weather was predicted to be wet but for most of the day I had sun and tail winds. By lunch time the winds were strong enough for me to probably reach Wellington by dark if I had wanted to camp at the ferry terminal a day early. But I knew where the camp ground was in Levin so I decided to stay here and then cruise easily to the ferry tomorrow since I had already booked the passage. The wind that I had today is the predominate wind on this coast and it just goes to show how much it was holding me up on the way up to Taupo.

The Sign Says it All. Tail Wind!


Nothing remarkable happened today except that on arriving here in the rain I apparently put the Two Gay Girls in the wrong place and the camp superintendent asked me to shift it. I later saw signs in the kitchen and TV lounge advising cyclists that bikes in rooms would not be tolerated due to past experiences with grease on things. If only this camp hillbilly could be made aware of some of the prestigious hotels in Europe that my Mercian has resided in over the years and that most cycle tourists contrary to popular belief are not short of a few dollars. They are just usually more careful where they spend the dosh.

Anyway I do recall last time I was here leaving quite a bit of grease in the shower and environs but never in a room. Might book one next time and have a good bike cleaning session.

That’s better I can hear myself think again. Two Dutch people talking in the kitchen and the whole room was reverberating. I don’t know who would be louder two Dutch people or three teenage girls.

The Manawatu. Cow Country.


I’m having Chinese tonight all though it took a bit of getting. I pointed at no.11 and said “that one thanks”. To which the Chinese man rattled off a sentence I really couldn’t make one word of. Then the Chinese woman rattled off another sentence I couldn’t understand although I think they were speaking English. She then came over and pointed at the menu and I once again pointed to no. 11 and said “that one thanks”. I really didn’t care anyway they could have given me anything and it all cost the same. I’m not even out of the country yet and some things are a struggle!

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Not Many Once Again on the Sundays Boys Ride..

Mini Tour Day 7.

It's Sunday and I bet all those cyclists that could have come on my little mini tour up to Taupo and didn't will be kicking themselves now. The reason being that it is a picture perfect day for the start of my ride back towards Wellington along the central plateau.

M.U.M looks great. Mountains are kind of nice too.


Whereas my roadie friends will be doing their Sunday training rides around suburbia I am zooming past non extinct volcanoes with a light tail wind and not a care in the world. Almost not a care in the world. I did notice after the race on Saturday that my rear tyre has taken a bit of a hammering and I'm hoping it will get me back home. (Another tyre will blow the budget that I have so far managed to keep).

Anyway the weather today was perfect and I managed to knock off 150kms by 3pm with stops. I could have kept going but the problems with that would be two fold. The first being that I would be camped behind a bush on the main road somewhere instead of the quiet little motor camp that I am currently in and secondly I would arrive at the dreaded ferry terminal early. I am just not that keen to get back on the Cook Strait ferry.

The other Volcano.(NZers know what I Mean)


Much as I want to be back in my beloved Adi's arms I just know its going to be Southerly gales when I get back to Wellington and my dinner will be ending up all over the deck.

Talking of Adi. When I first started this mini tour (the first one that I have ever had to blog on) , I thought that fitting everything in to a day would be the problem. And true enough that is tough. But much harder will be putting up with my cooking for extended periods. I knew there must be a reason for man to take woman on adventure holidays. I'm getting used to stodgy rice but I'm going to have to have a break from it tomorrow. Maybe Chinese.

Mt Nghera.. ..Call it Volcano 2


I got passed on the road today by all the weekend bike racers and although a number tooted and acknowledged me by and large once you put a rack , mudguards or bag on your bike you cease to exist to your average 'race'. I was thinking also as I cycled along sports cyclists are a bit like weekend boaties  once you get 50kms from a main centre or out of sight of land you really see them unless they have vehicle support. So today once I hit that magic number from Taupo there were no cyclists to be seen except in cars going by.

Shame really because today's ride was so much nicer than yesterdays wind blasted ride around the Lake.

Saturday, 26 November 2011

9011 Week End Warriors.

Race Day.

The day dawned clear and windy. In fact it was extremely windy to the point of being dangerous. Over 9000 cyclists most hell bent in doing their best possible time and a road littered with wind blown vegetation was a recipe for disaster. And no doubt there was disaster for some. But Niel the Wheel and M.U.M sailed around without a hitch. I still don't know my time since it really wasn't a race for me. Just another hard 160km on the bike . Lets face it your never going to do a race time on a touring bike. Even one stripped of mudguards and carriers. It didn't fool anyone with more than one comment suggesting that I could have at least taken the stand off.

And Still They Come In.


Having got back to Taupo without incident I immediately crashed in the tent before realising that not only had I got to vote for the Government, but also reconfigure my bike for the trip back tomorrow and also get dinner! All before prize giving at 6pm.

Back Home After the Race.


After the race I bumped into some of the Nelson group racing and they offered me a trip back in the van. Last time I cycled up about 10yrs ago I would have accepted the offer but this time I feel pretty good and am almost looking forward to the 160kms I expect to do tomorrow. I just hope its a tail wind. You can always hope.

I didn't win the car at prize giving and I'm absolutely gutted. (yeah right)

I'm cooking dinner now and the weekend warriors are busy packing their kids and bikes into the back of their RVs.

Pre Race Preparation.

Next Day

I forget what day it is. It's the day before race day and all the weekend warriors are in Taupo with their oiled legs and sparkly clean bicycles.

The motor camp of course is full of them as well. Its good to talk to them about cycling in general. The most interesting among them are doing the long distant events and I had a good chat over dinner to a couple from New Plymouth who are doing the twice around the lake and have to start at 2am tomorrow. Its finally quiet in the rec room now that all the little kids gone back to the camper vans or where-ever they put them after 10pm.

Come dawn the RV and bike brigade will be out test riding their bikes up and down the drive and showing off their race numbers. I'll be stuffing my face with smoked sausages and trying to figure out how many bananas I can get in my jersey pockets. I don't want to overstock because its just 160kms without luggage and plenty of warriors around to draft off. nothing worse than mushed bananas in your pockets.

Secret Stash of Cash in Seat Post.


The weather looks good for Sundays ride back down the North Island towards Nelson. I really would like to get a tail wind after such a hard couple of days up.

Dropped into McDonald's today to post my blog and actually managed to get onto the Global Bike Race face book site only to find out that all sorts of stuff has been happening regarding the organisation of the event. I didn't have enough time on line to get my head around it all so will have to tune in whenever possible. Might even have to pay for a bit of wifi time so that i can check my emails which I've not been able to do at McDonald's and check GBR site.

Well that's that then, its into' The Gay Girls' and then up early (if I can manage it) for race day.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Wrong Turn!

Day 4.

I made a major cock up today by going the wrong way!

The day started with pouring rain so I thought I'd flag it all together because the central plateau is not a nice place in wind and driving rain and i have a day up my sleeve. However at 10am the rain had cleared mostly so I was off. I got to the high point at National park and the wind came around to my back and i was literally laughing. In fact laughing so much that I missed my turn and kept heading Eastwards instead of westwards! Twenty kilometers later I'd realised my mistake. Funny though because normally realising I had gone the wrong way would have quite annoyed me. But I think I may be having too many energy drinks because it didn't seem to phase me.



If I'd realised then that to get back on track I'd have to go over a hooer of a pass i may have been more concerned. but cycle tourings like that what you don't know is coming never obviously daunts you.

Since I'd left late time was a bit critical but luckily the wind was still behind me as I approached the 130km stage and found myself on the race circuit that I will be doing in a couple of days. the circuit goes around Lake Taupo.

It was at that stage that I caught up with one off the super enduro riders who was doing the 1600km challenge around the lake. That's 10 times around the 160km circuit. He was going through a bad patch so I tried to cheer him up. But I suppose being caught by a fully laden cycle tourist doesn't help your morale when you're riding a tri bike. I may see him in the race when I start the single lap on Saturday. I'll have to shout some encouragement. He needed to slow down for a feed so I took off for my destination of Taupo.



I didn't make it though due to my wrong turn. I'll have to polish off the rest tomorrow. Tonight I'm cooking myself stodgy rice. Its got to be good to carbo load and since i could only get a biggish bag I'll be rice for a few nights I think.

Hard Day.

Day 3.

Thought I'd have an easy one today. Yeah right.

After a good nights sleep with 'the two gay girls' I was up and then on the bike at 8.30am. Not bad I thought because I'd actually been able to achieve a few things that up until now I haven't had time for. Namely cleaning my teeth ( I forgot my toothbrush), shaving my face and fungal creaming my feet (a must as my washed socks are never dry by morning so its wet feet).

A Victim of NZ Drivers. The White Bike


My easy day on the bike certainly wasn't. The sun was out for most of it but the rest can best be described as gale force head winds, up hill for pretty much the whole time and then finished off with the last 1okms in driving rain. Eight hrs of hard cycling has got to be good though. I only hope it stops raining by morning because last time I cycled through here ten years ago it sleeted the whole way across the volcanic plateau and I dame near got hypothermia . It was late November then too.

I was pleased to witness a bit of high country mustering. Raetihi the town I'm staying in continues to slowly disappear into the earth with more rotten and empty shops than occupied ones. Its still got a long way to go before it approaches the sort of decay that I witnessed among small towns in Nevada last year.

And a special note to Adi. I'm still on budget because I've not had time enough to stop and shop! Maybe tomorrow the sun will come out and I will have time for a leisurely did in a hot pool along the thermal plateau.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Where's McDonalds Please

Day 2

Today was a long one and it's not over yet. There's just not enough hours in the day at the moment so my blogging will be limited until I can either learn to cycle faster , not eat or buy a room and a meal for the night. The last option is not an option as I'm also training myself to keep to a budget that adi has set me.

So here I am in Bulls at the motor camp cooking my dinner , blogging and hydrating and its 8.40 pm. Could'nt get potatoes tonight but did manage fresh salad and meat again. Baked beans will have to be a spud substitute.

Nice Day  for a Coke.


Eight hours in the saddle today and 3.5 hrs on the retched ferry. I had to get up at 5am! That was a real ask for the 'reluctant cyclist'. Anyway I completed the 160kms planned and had some nasty wind to contend with.

I've come to realise that campervan drivers and motorcyclists must be bored out of their heads most of the time. They always wonder over to ask the odd question and just look like they need entertaining. Cant blame them really. It's just drive coffee, drive coffee all day.

If I could just make them useful putting up my tent or washing my socks! It all has to be done.

Spot the Bored Motorcyclists.

If I can get to bed by 10.30pm tonight I might get 8hrs sleep.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Fully Loaded Training

DAY 1

Well this time I have a fully loaded touring bike .

I expected rain but luckily not only did it clear just before I left home but the expected strong head winds died and then came in behind me to help me along. Actually it was just as well because the weight of the bike took a bit of getting used to and I didn't leave home until mid day.
My First Coke and Icecream.

Anyway 130kms and I'm here at Picton. Tomorrow I have to get up at 5am to catch the ferry to the North Island. I loath this trip on the ferry. I invariably end up chucking up the last nights dinner and breakfast. While everyone looks on in pity. Why don't they just piss off and let me suffer in solitude. It may not be that bad a crossing. But it can be. Cook Strait is one of the roughest in the world at times. The wind funnels through between the North and South Islands and this combined with the depth of the water mean that you need proper ocean going ferries.

Dinners cooking as I write this. I am coming to realise that the cycling part of this training is going to be the easy part. It's the cooking , washing of socks and making camp and then blogging that is going to be the challenging part.

That'll do for today sweet potatoes and steak await. And I managed to pick up a real vegey salad. There you go Adi man can survive without woman.

Friday, 18 November 2011

Maintaneance.

I'm hoping to do some reasonably big kilometers next week. Starting tomorrow with the Sunday Boys Ride and then carrying on into the week with my ride to Taupo for the around the lake sportive event.

So the Mercian was down in the workshop getting some much needed attention. If you're interested you can read about it in the Workshop section.


There's rain predicted for Monday. But then who gives a toss because this time I'll put the mudguards on.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

The Plan for Next Week.

Here I am the computer beginner Niel the Wheel preparing his blog entry on a new little netbook that I got for the race next year. It’s a cheap as chips HP netbook. But hopefully it will do all I want in terms of searching the net and keeping everyone informed of my journey. So Adi will have the laptop at home and I will have this little baby. All I have to do is find an endless supply of McDonalds or other free wifi places to send my ramblings from.
                                         
Adi managed, through writing to the Around Lake Taupo people, to get me free entry into this year’s race. So next week I am going to cycle the x number of kilometres to the race camping as I go , compete in the race and then cycle the kilometres back home again. My idea is to do this as I would in the Global race next year .ie freedom camping as I go and trying to do blog reports when I can fit them in on the little net book. I’m going to have to treat it a lot better than I treated my cell phone a couple of weeks back when I decided to do two days touring in torrential rain and drowned the cell phone.(luckily it has recovered). I will use camping grounds at Taupo itself because I have to turn my touring bike into a sports bike to do the race and then reconfigure it again afterwards. I also need somewhere with a bit of security to store my stuff for the day.
It was great of Adi to once again come through for me in getting the free entry. I was contemplating cycling up and doing the circuit anyway but now I’m legal. I also have Kevin from overseas to thank because he couldn’t make the event this year and so contacted the organisers and asked if they could pass on his entry to a deserving individual. So thanks to Kevin and Adi.
                                  
I plan to cover about 160km per day on the way up and back. My bike will be fully loaded so it should be a good test. So far nobody I know has expressed interest in coming with me. I can’t quite understand that. I mean where’s the adventure in just riding around the lake?
I’ve officially finished at the bike shop now so I suppose I will be getting most of my cycling bits and pieces via the internet although I know that  Mike at ‘Avanti Nelson’ will help me where he can.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Now I Can Play With 'Two Gay Girls'.

They have arrived and I spent the afternoon trying this and that. Please read all about it under my Equipment section.

Fully Erected.

Monday, 7 November 2011

I think I've Stuffed My Cell Phone.

When I first started cycle touring we didn't bother with cell phones. In fact we didn't bother much with communication at all. We sort of got on our bikes and disappeared off the radar  between generally 2 to 8weeks. However in the really early stages of my cycling life, when I was 12years old (that's 4 or 5 summers younger than some of the competitors on the Global Bike Race), we were required by our parents to phone home every night and had to find a phone booth to do it. In those days you could find a phone both pretty much anywhere.  The receiver had generally been cut off and some one's dysfunctional kids had usually jammed the wrong size coins in the slots making it useless.

So phoning home was a pain in the arse. Often requiring more effort than cooking a slap up meal of baked beans and sausages.

Well some things never change. Phoning home on my little trip a couple of days ago was also nigh impossible in the 21st century.

Setting Off.

As mentioned in my previous blog I set myself the target of riding my 3/4 loaded touring bike the 210kms to Westport and then back the next day. These ideas always sound pretty good when they go through your head. But the problem is once you have mentally said, 'ok Niel lets go with that' you have made a commitment to yourself and if you don't do it you feel like shit.

Well firstly the weather for the week wasn't looking that flash and Westport is situated on the incoming front side of South Island, NZ. And secondly once I'd loaded up the bike with the low rider bags , Brooks handlebar bag and full rear saddle bag, M.U.M was feeling pretty chunky.

Knowing that Adi wouldn't like what I could turn into if I didn't go, I took what I thought was the lesser of two evils, grabbed a sunny morning and headed off.


Thirty kilometers into the ride and the sun was gone and things were looking decidedly grey.Well the next 100kms can only be described as torrential rain. Not that warm either, as I struggled into the Murchison cafe and ordered lunch.

My mood was not improved by the fact that the only free range toddler in the place had  taken a liking to me and my bike. Luckily for me I had a wall with a pane of glass between me and his food caked face. Ignoring them has always worked in the past and it didn't fail me this time except that his attention immediately shifted to my bike. After about the 4th attempt world child no. 6billion, 900 million and two, managed to pull my bike on top of himself. Well at least my chain got a wipe and it was a soft landing for my Mercian.

The afternoon cleared up! I rolled into Westport in pretty good time and got the coffin tent up after downing dinner. Usually on these sorts of rides I find the first day  is OK but its the next day when you have to ride another couple of hundred and the third day that things get really grippy. I have to say on going to bed in the coffin I was feeling pretty smug. I thought just 210k's home tomorrow and I can feel happy with a 620km week.

Luckily I wasn't so cocky as to sleep in a bit. Because being a reluctant cyclist I can easily sleep in. No, I was on the road by 7.30am . Luckily I was because it was one of the most unpleasant 210kms I have ridden!

Before the Storm Hit.
I loaded a soaking tent onto the bike (after heavy overnight rain) and a wet sleeping bag which had absorbed a kg or two of water due to the coffin like nature of the tent. ( You are never far from nature in that tent). The first 5kms of the ride were not that bad with just light to moderate rain. The next 215kms can best be described as living hell alternating between driving rain, driving hail,and just bad driving from logging trucks and stock freighters. (Where I think the IQ of the driver rates not a lot higher than that of his passengers).

I love the Brooks gear on my bike. If you read my blog a bit you will know I 'm a Brooks man. But I have to say you have to be a pretty enthusiastic type to ride your Brooks stuff in conditions like that.

My leather bar end tape absorbed there own weight in water.
My leather H/Bar grips absorbed at least 3 x their weight in water and threatened to expand to a point where they popped off the end of the bars.
Leather saddle, ditto, even with its nylon cover.
My H/Bar bag topped things off by not just doubling its own weight but soaking my cell phone making it impossible to call home for assistance.

I wouldn't actually have phoned home for a lift because its against my principles ( and anyway we sold our cars and the hobby kombi still has its engine on the bench), but it would have been nice to tell Adi the nightmare conditions I was cycling through.

One interesting point I've noticed in extreme conditions is that you often make pretty good time because to stop is to die of exposure. One other interesting point is that the Sam Browning catch on the Brooks H/bar bag is impossible to undo when your fingers have been in frequent hail showers for the last 8hours. So short of opening it with my teeth my bag was holding onto the cold fried sausages that I put in it. I think Sam Brown  must have cycled only in a temperate climate.  With frequent stops on sunny afternoons for devonshire teas.



In a couple of weeks I'll head out on a 10 day mission to the Lake Taupo 160  Challenge and will have a new net book to keep dry during that trip. Hopefully I'll have better weather. I'll certainly use a tent that I can sit up in. But not 'The Gay Girls' I want to save them for the trip overseas.

So not a tidy week but 620kms is 620kms. I feel happy with that.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

I've Ordered 'Two Gay Girls' for My Trip!

With a bit of luck the 'Two Gay Girls' should arrive next week because I put my order in yesterday and they advised that if I paid on Thursday they'd send immediately.

I'm excited because at the moment I'm having to make do with a single person and its really just a bit of a squeeze.

If at this point you're not sure what I'm talking about I suggest you please read the page on my blog headed 'Sponsors' and then all will become clearer. Never totally clear as nothing in my life is totally clear.

Once they arrive I'll set them up and take a picture for the blog so you can all see what will keep me comfortable for the expected 6 months that I 'm  away. The picture below is what I expect things to look like.
Two Gay Girls and my Personal Trainer Karyn.
I've done my research and I'm hoping the 'Two Gay Girls' offer me plenty of leg room in addition to somewhere to store my stuff. We'll see next week.

My friends Jane and Karyn have been very supportive of my journey so far and I really appreciate it guys. Whenever I've been  cycling overseas I'd always try to send Karyn a txt or two to make her envious and maybe get her to drop tools and think about getting overseas on her bike. It hasn't worked yet but that wont stop me trying.

Karyn is a qualified  Personal Trainer and I asked her last week whether she'd be my official trainer for the Global Bike Race and she said yes. That's after waiting sufficient time for me to think that she  thought I was a lost cause and how to get out of it diplomatically.

I tend to do things my way though so will probably not ask much of my personal trainer. I spent today in the workshop fine tuning my front rack and panniers for a training ride tomorrow, or the next day, to Westport. And then camping overnight in the single person tent that I dubbed the coffin last trip. I'll then turn around and cycle the 200kms back home again. Hopefully this trip will start tomorrow if the rain stops for long enough.

Getting Ready for another Overnight er.

Last week the race organisers contacted me and advised that my colour for the race would be brown. This means that on the official race website where all the riders progress will be logged I'll have a little brown cyclist representing me. Lets hope the little brown cyclist doesn't spend too long in one spot!

Global Race Positioning of Riders. 

It will apparently look something like the picture above. Except the little brown cyclist is heading Eastward. So if you see this during the race let me know because Adi's course is for me to go Westwards. Luckily my bike has a built in compass so I should be right.

I have no idea how this all comes about so I hope someone explains this before the start.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Re United With the Sunday Bunch.

I managed not only to get out of bed, make my own breakfast and feed the chicken but also to once again meet the Sunday bunch ride!

I have to say it was worth it because not only was the pace just that bit uncomfortable to start with but the course included some reasonable hilly sections. Imagine my surprise also when it was decided we should do a couple of gravel sections. My mtb/hybrid would have been in its element here if I had actually had wider tyres on. Unfortunately I'd put my sports wheels on and suffered as much as everyone else, riding road bikes.


Latter on in the ride when I'd recovered a bit from the pace, and before I got my legs ripped off on yet another climb, I took a couple of pictures.



The first shows me getting uncomfortably close to the front of the bunch. And there's another hill coming up. Hurting as my legs were I was happy to still be in the picture so to speak. One of my friends (Gethyn) on the ride asked me if I was going to do the annual Around Lake Taupo Cycle Race this year.

The Lake Taupo Race is one of the biggest mass rides in the world now apparently, with 1000's of riders competing at different levels. The circuit is 160kms around the volcanic lake and is pretty hilly.
I did the two lap option last year but decided this year to give it a miss. Last year was a mission enough taking my Vespa up with bike on the back and then doing the 320km race. But the seed had been planted in my brain by Gethyn and maybe I had discounted this event a bit prematurely. Especially as this year I would have the time to cycle the 450kms to the event. I could then race once around and ride home in the following week.


That thought was growing in 'Niel the Wheel's' head as I rode along. Maybe Gethyn would like to tour up to Taupo on the bikes, do the Race, where we get our legs ripped off and then tour back to good old Nelson. (All good training for the Global Bike Race).

Also a good chance for me to practise riding with low riders and panniers. Something I haven't done for a long time since discovering BOB trailers. I will do my best to not only encourage Gethyn but maybe two others since I have two spare BOB trailers in the garage and roadies don't usually have access to carriers and panniers. (In fact the mere mention of panniers sends them into a vacant stare much like the stare they usually get when gravel road is mentioned.)

The race is in one month so time will tell whether I'm alone or with company.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

My First On-Line Purchase.

I know this sort of thing is nothing new for most of you. But for someone who didn't have a lap top 6 months ago its still pretty amazing to buy something mail order.

As I mentioned in previous blogs I'm still working at the bike shop but have now only a couple of weeks to go. I've handed in my notice to begin working on our old villa 'Potters-End' since wood eating insects have had about 40yrs head start on trying to destroy our dream in the countryside. It might take me a few years to catch up on them. And while I'm at it I'll need to insulate the place a bit more completely than the early settlers seemed to have thought necessary and replace the piles. Not much work really!

O'and I need to fit in a cycle race around the world. Because Adi says I'm not getting any younger and if I'm going to beat those young'uns and have something to dream about while I slurp my coffee on the deck in the future I'd better get of the fence and get my head properly around it.(Something I am still having huge trouble doing).

Anyway I've bought some cycle shoes that I couldn't get through the local supplier.

Aren't they beautiful. I've always loved Sidi shoes. I ordered the white ones because I thought they'd match the white barber pole stripes on my Mercian frame. And if I'm unlucky and break that Mercian (God forbid) they would also match my spare white framed Mercian. I think the silver ones look too much like Shimano moon boot type shoes. No offence to the moon boot cyclists out there.

As soon as Adi had told me to get back into Global Bike  Race training she was back on the couch planning my 200km days on the bike during the event.



"Leave me some time to eat and sleep lovey". I suppose its for the best. At $50 per day I wont have much money for eating, and sleeping will probably be strictly under the nearest hedge I suppose.

Got an email the other day from the organiser asking me what colour icon I wanted to represent me on their web page. Since at that stage I had decided that life would be a lot easier just not going biking around the world at all I, didn't get immediately back to them so will no doubt miss all the exciting colours. I will let you all know my colour in due course. If I'm really lucky they may run out of coloured icons and I can settle for a nice little 6 week cycling trip in Vietnam with Adi instead.

As you can see I'm still looking for an excuse for not doing this event. So feel free to give me some if you wish.

I'm not called the reluctant cyclist for nothing.

Thanks Jane for the comment on greenies. Just this week the world population reached 7 billion. Everyone please stop breeding, the cycleways are crowded enough already after school! Or could we keep them in school permanently?

Or could we just have a moratorium on breeding for 50yrs. That's not much to ask.

Saturday, 22 October 2011

The Sunday Group Ride.

Dawn breaks and 'Niel the Wheel's' bike is ready. Actually its been ready since last night when I shined him and put his sport wheels on in anticipation. Adi didn't like the fact that Mercian was in the lounge but I had to have him on hand to give myself every help in getting out the door in time, or in fact just getting out the door.

"You wont do it". Adi said as I went to bed.

6.30 am and I'm up. "Don't try tempting me with your body sweet pea, It's cycling with the boys that I want today!" I did it! The hard part is over. I just had to throw down some creamed rice , a cup of coffee and find some matching cycle kit. After dry reaching on the rice a couple of times I'm out the door and onto the trusty stead for the 10km ride to the meet point outside the local bike shop.

My Beauty Awaits. What fun We'll Have.
I don't want to turn up too early it wouldn't do to appear to keen. So I soft pedal a bit and gauge it so that I'm there stylishly late. But not that late.

I would like to say when I got there that the front of the bike shop was packed with other riders. In fact I'd have to say that numbers were down a bit on what I remember from my previous bunch rides. I might even say I was a little disappointed with numbers. Anyway after a brief discussion on the days route and after an affirmative from those present that we all wanted a hill climb it was agreed to head to the Whangamoas. Making it a 100km day for everyone.

An Argument Ensued About which direction To Take. Niel Got His Way.
The ride out to the base of the Whangamoas is exposed to the sea breezes. Luckily the morning  air was calm as 'Niel the wheel' was having trouble getting shelter in the back of the bunch. No sooner had he worked his way back there, he seemed to find himself on the front again. Cursing at those around him to take a fair turn so that he would have time to get a Whittaker's bar down in preparation for the climb.


It was decided at the start that unofficial points would be given to the first man or women to the top. These points could be crucial for not only the ego of the rider on the day but also could secure the rider the overall prize since sprinting at the end of a Sunday group ride is certainly not cool.

On the Way to the Polka Dot Jersey.
In the end it was no contest. First to the top and the admiration from all the girls around. After such a hard fought victory it was hard to come down. But once we all had it was straight back to Richmond along the cycleways scaring as many kids and dogs as humanly possible. Sixty km/hr on the cycleway certainly feels fast! I took some rubber off the back wheel when the little girl with the ponytails pulled out without looking.(Don't their parents teach them anything these days!)

Anyone For a Drink.
Post race drinks were a quiet affair. I suppose everyone was just tired from the excesses of the day. Personally I was just looking forward to the prize giving. Knowing that I'd scored all points for the day I felt relaxed about walking away with whatever it was. Until someone suggested it should be a spot prize to be fare.

O'all right then.

What I've Won the Car!! All for Me?
Initial surprise and glee quickly subsided when I realised it was a pretty useless thing and how would I get it home on my bike anyway.

Hopefully next Sunday there might be something decent to win. But then if more people turn up it could be a bit tougher to walk away with the goods. Just my luck.

Until then then.