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.

Saturday, 30 July 2011

It's August!

Time flys. Soon it will be early Spring. Adi reckons it's early Spring now but I like to think of it as late winter with the possibility of early Spring. But whatever it is I have decided to make it the official beginning of my race preparation.

 This was prompted by my long lost nephew Rob encouraging me to meet up in Picton (a small fishing / sailing town ) for a 1st reunion. My brother advised me that I had a new nephew this time last year when I was cycling in Wyoming and desperately looking for something made in the US that I could take home for a souvenir. So two thoughts were in my mind a bit last year as I cycled across the cattle lands. One that amazingly I had a nephew I didn't know about, and two that it was bloody hard to find anything made in the USA anymore.( I found a knife, fork ,spoon and can opener combination by Browning in the end which should serve me well next year).

If you look closely at my blog you will see I have added a weekly training distance table. And I will not cheat on this. If I haven't done the km's I wont manufacture them. As you can see 300km's last week. Next week we will see. But Picton is about 130kms away and I'll stay over night and cycle back the next day. Should be nice if the weather plays ball. Or horrible if it doesn't. Rob's going to bring his bike over from Aussie for the meeting so I hope the weather plays ball.

Spot the Difference.
In anticipation of my first official training ride I have changed the winter commuting wheels on my M.U.M for my training wheels with 23c tyres. And the Brooks B17 with Milbrook bag gets ditched for a Brooks Swallow saddle. (that's for all you brooks lovers. I hear that Brooks is an official sponsor of the Global Bike Race whatever that means as we hear nothing from organisers).

My winter Mercian is a chunky beast but an old friend none the less. Once you rid it of lights, batteries, mudguards, low maintenance wheels, lunch bag, cheaper brooks saddle and bell it's still a chunky beast but one with a lot less rolling resistance. And one that has taken me on boys trips where my mates bikes were not surprisingly self destructing all over the place. No wonder they used to spend good post ride drinking time cleaning and tinkering on their machines.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

The Local Paper

Last week the local paper put me on the front page regarding my intended attempt at circumnavigating the world at record breaking speed on my trusted treadly. It was nice having customers coming into the bike shop and saying that they had seen the article and wishing me good luck. I'm still finding it really difficult to get into gear regarding the organising. It's still just a little far off to start the important things. And being the middle of winter doesn't help much because there's no point just yet getting in big miles on the bike. I have gained an increased number of followers from the newspaper article which is all good. And as you can see from the photo they're a passionate bunch. Literally drooling over every word.

News Article Provokes Much Interest.

And there you were you overseas people thinking that us Kiwis could only relate to sheep. Well no as you can see I'm comfortable around any animal as long as you can make a steak out of it But just so as you don't feel disappointed he's a picture I took yesterday when I reluctantly went out on my bike to get my 300km weekly base training in.

The First Sign of Spring.
Aren't they cute! I went out on my 100km circuit very reluctantly as mentioned but warmed to the ride once I'd seen a guy fall out of a tree while chainsawing and these little fellas.

Once they're fattened up they'll taste great. That's if we mortal Kiwis can still afford a lamb roast. The rest of my ride was also of interest because there was actually snow around. I've cycled this particular circuit for 20yrs and never has there been snow anywhere to be seen. Well only on the alps in the distance. There was yesterday so much snow and ice on the road that I almost got my knickers in a spin while negotiating a hairpin bend coming down the Rosedale Saddle.

 The scientists have warned us about weather like this. Apparently its because the Americans like driving their cars too much. This made me think the other day about people that are addicted to there cars and I think that they must be a lot like myself re bicycles. I came to the startling conclusion the day before yesterday that I am never, and I say never, more than 100metres from my bike. In fact in the last 15yrs I can't think of a single instance that I have ever been more than shouting distance from my bike. I think that must be the sign of a true addict.

Beautiful. But Role on Summer.

The winter has highlighted a bit of a problem with our Internet connection. Mainly that we don't really have a decent connection unless we use the computer in the workshop. As mentioned before this is not a problem with me (as a bloke) because I like the quiet oil stained surroundings.  It is finger numbingly cold though and Adi wont let me put in central heating. So I have devised a cunning plan. While Adi perseveres with the snail crawl of the computer up at the Villa, I have decked out the engine- less kombi into a mini office complete with small electric heater.I can blog from, and restore engine of kombi in one fowl swoop. And lets face it, once the engines all done, we wont be able to afford the price of petrol to fill it up anyway. So at least it makes a good office.

Winter Study.
Well it's off now to watch the last stages of the Tour De France which Brian S has copied for Adi and I. Go Cadel ,your my man!! Yeah Right. One day us Kiwi's are going to win a stage and then you'd better all watch out.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

New Carpet.

Still winter and still not a lot happening on the trip front. But the 'Old Pottery' part of Potters-End is getting new carpet because there's been a few to many parties had on the old stuff and also the odd bicycle repair gone wrong. I mean there's really no excuse for me to get bike grease on the carpet because I've got a perfectly good workshop for cycle maintenance. But at times it's too far away and I get lazy, and then hey presto, greasy marks on the carpet.

It's hard to get excited by new carpet in the Pottery because it's not really a bloke kind of an area. You could be in the Pottery tinkering on something happily in a world of your own and then all of a sudden there's a member of the opposite sex there asking you whether you want to go for a walk along the beach or something painful like that.

But what I can get excited about is new carpet in the workshop. Imagine that! When I choose to work on the Vespa's , kombi or cycles I've got my own carpet to get marks on. When I'm down on my knees concentrating  on the intricacies of a campag freewheel or caressing the 'Made in Italy ' badge on my Vespa I now don't get dust on my Knees. Of course the carpet for the workshop came from the Pottery. But it still looks pretty good.

The Workshop that's to Good to Work in.
The other thing that is so good about making the workshop more comfy is the simple fact that the chances of being disturbed by fair maidens is at best nil.

Tis a bit nippy in the winter though so I will have to head back to the house once the temperature falls below 10 degree C. O' and to get dinner.

The other project in the workshop today on my new carpet was to totally change Adi's tyres. When Adi gets punctures she immediately tells me that its not good enough and it's time for new tyres and tubes. My normal response to this is to tell her to toughen up , and that new tyres don't grow on trees you know! Well after an ultimatum about a month ago I bought Adi a pair of ultra puncture resistant tyres and put them on. Her old tyres I stockpiled for my bike (plenty of life left in them). However the problem today was early into a joint cafe ride she got a puncture in her puncture resistant tyres and for the life of me these tyres were so stiff I could hardly get them off the rim. These tyres are so tough its like trying to put motorcycle tyres on the rim. After breaking one tyre lever and bending my steel one I succeeded in fixing the beast.

Tyres Guaranteed to Bring You to Tears.
 Many are my short comings but I do have a modicum of empathy so decided to commit yet another set of tyres to the pile of bits that Adi has cast aside for me to wear out on my bike.

So now the Mercian is sporting the tyres from hell and Adi has a set of tyres that I had squirrelled away for a special occasion. As can be seen from the photo above, they do have a nice reflective strip on them and they do look pretty swish on my M.U.M (Mercian Urban Machine). I just hope I don't get a puncture when I'm in a hurry. I've taken the precaution to x/change my Campag plastic tyre levers for a pair of Brooks steel ones. I'm thinking that these tyres are so solid that I could almost ride them with no air in them at all!

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Vespa Fun.

So have I been further planing my cycle race next year?

 Have I been working at the bike shop to help pay for my cycle race next year?

Maybe I have I been hard at work on the house in preparation for the bike race to end all bike races?

No on all counts. The weather has been crap and I have been uninspired to cycle anywhere. Luckily nothing has been that urgent. I did see one poor bugger out training yesterday battling the sleet showers on her way South towards Brightwater.My guess is she was out trying to catch pneumonia.

So once I'd seen Adi leave the gate on her bike for work (someone has to earn the dosh for my overseas trips) I was out on the Vespa getting some scooter-cross training. You never know when it might come in handy.

Is it a Speeding Bullet ?

No it's Niel the wheel!

After the fun grommit had to go back into the garage for a good drying off and some tender loving care. Adi got home from work 5 hours later after surviving another sleet shower. Poor dear.

"O' nothing much happened here luvie. You brought cheese flavoured chips home from the dairy. My favorite!"

The news says that petrol has gone up again even though the international oil prices have dropped recently. I mean AS IF WE CARE its hardly news worthy. If cheese favoured chips went up I'd just have to eat less of them.

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Re-conditioning Time.

The old pottery part of Potter's End needs new carpet. It's called the old pottery because that's what it was once used for . But in fact it's the newest of the buildings on the Potter's End property.It was probably built in the late 1970's. Adi and I  live in the old villa which was built in the 1870's and was the main reason we bought the whole place in the 1990's. We both liked the old rimu floors and sunny verandas. My mother took one look at the place and promptly told me that the villa was too old and what on earth will you do with the other buildings Niel? My father said nothing. My brother said I should always buy the worst house in the best street. And my mates at work reckoned I should truck the villa off somewhere else and sell it for a tidy profit. I just liked the way my bike looked parked in the driveway. And it also helped that the owner at the time was a fellow bike racer and the real estate agent was the president of the local wheelers cycle club.

So the deal was done and we all went out bike racing.

An Empty Pottery.

While I empty out for new carpet I can keep an eye on whose out training on the local racing circuit.

I'm suppose to be looking into Visas for our trip this week but seem to have spent the time fixing things and working at the bike shop. The bike shop is pretty quiet being mid winter but at least we have the time to chat with the punters and joke about whats happening in the Tour de France. In fact if it wasn't for the bike shop regulars I wouldn't know what was happening in the TDF. Brian copies it for me because he has Sky and other customers always manage to fill me in on whats happening, usually before Adi and I have watched it.

Adi & Bob Watch the TDF.
Meanwhile the auto machine shop rang me to ask if I could take the bits for my kombi away. They reckon they have done all they can. I could tell by looking into their eyes that they thought if I could get that VW back together it would be a miracle. I asked them if there was anything I should know before I started putting all the bits together. They said I should put plenty of lubricant on everything! Well that's not rocket science is it. They also advised me that if I do manage to get it all back together that I should use it more than once a year. Now I was impressed with that advise because it showed that they obviously knew me better than I thought. The kombi is absolutely imperative in my plans to take my Mercian to distant MTB trails and have a comfy base camp after the ride. Nothing like a bed for the night after wine-ing and dinning in classic style. Other than that what use is a vehicle?

All These Bits.......
So once its together I'll have to figure out what I can use it for once a fortnight.

Have To Go In This End.

Adi dragged me along to the local newspaper office last week to describe how I am going to cycle around the world in next to no time and become the next world record holder. But all I could think about was how I was going to get a camshaft , crankshaft and two VW heads on my BOB trailer as well as my share of the weekly groceries.These motor bits are quite heavy and unless you balance the whole thing pretty carefully when you add 5 litres of milk and Adi's favorite cartons of yoghurt you can come a cropper.

Until next week.