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.

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Car Culture

I’m sitting here on the couch thinking about little else except my global cycle. For periods of each day I’m functioning like a normal human being going about my business of socialising, fixing things, eating and doing other tasks but always there’s this constant pressure in my head regarding getting things done for the trip. The biggest problem for me is that I can’t seem to get traction in anything important.

I can’t help but think of Lance Armstrong’s book ‘It’s Not About the Bike’. This is as true for me as I struggle to get to grips with issues regarding the trip that don’t involve cycling at all. I’m off on a day ride tomorrow that I mentioned in my previous posting. I thought it was about 200km but Adi informs me that it is closer to 300km. But really it doesn’t matter as I feel fit enough to do any amount of cycle touring. It’s the other stuff…

While I’m out riding tomorrow I’m going to have to ring the Vietnam Embassy because I have heard nothing from them since the constant hassle  from them while I was away cycle touring. Now I have given them all the info they requested they have decided to forget about me while hanging onto my passport!

Well, have I got news for them.

I need to apply for my Chinese Visa.  Since the fees are cheaper if I do it with my UK passport I thought I’d use that if I ever get it back from the Vietnamese fellas. But now having looked at the Chinese Visa application site, I see that dual citizens can only apply using the passport of the country that they are residing in! So I will have to apply with my NZ passport. So now I have an opportunity to lose both of my passports.

Luckily for me, but sadly for my mother and the Vietnamese fellas, my mother feel ill in Wellington last week and I have decided to go to Wellington to see her …….. And to sort those Vietnamese out!

So if they haven’t got something constructive to say on the phone I’ll be in their office on Thursday demanding my British passport back with a stamp in it! And then I’ll go around the corner to see what the Chinese have to say. And since they have just bought 10’s of thousands of acres of NZ farm land they had better be obliging neighbours I say.

So on Wednesday after I have been to the dentist to have the rest of my teeth out( Which is probably why you don’t smile on passport photos), I will jump on the Vespa and ride to that bloody ferry again to head over to Wellington.(Knowing my luck there will be a Southerly gale blowing)

Why don’t I get on my Mercian and cycle to Wellington with full camping kit you ask? The answer, if you can’t guess is because I’m still not over the last little expedition.

Looking at the Kazakhstan Visa blurb seems to indicate to me that I can get a 3day transit visa at the airport when I arrive. And if I cycle fast that will be enough time to get to China. That’s good enough a reason for me not to worry about any other visas.

A couple of days ago Adi and I did the ‘recreational Cyclist’ thing.  I.e. we got on our bikes and decided to ride the cycle trails along the beach, through the forest and via the new cycle trail and bike ferry up the coast for an ice cream before returning the same way. Just piddling about basically.

Now this trail is also supposed to be part of the regions cycling network and not just for day trippers.

My question is;

When is New Zealand going to take cycling seriously as a means to get around? And not simply believe that the bicycle is just for playing around on in the weekends and for racing the odd mtb circuit, or around the block on a Tuesday night?

There will always be people who want to play on their bikes. But some of us want to use them for every day transport as an alternative to the blessed car.

Now back to our ride.

Having negotiated the city cycle way that had a sign on it advising cyclists to go somewhere else because the main cycle way through town was too narrow due to road works, we cycled all the way along the coastal cycleway to find out that the ferry only goes across the estuary every 2 hrs. and not after 4pm! How honestly could anyone ever use this track for commuting by bike???
Not too Dissimilar to this.

Once I get back from riding around the world the Council will still be trying to figure out why people refuse to ride to work and back.

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