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.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Swatting Up with Mitchell's Bike Mags.

Thanks for the welcome back to good old New Zealand from my friends. I know I slag kiwi motorists off a bit at times. I abuse truck drivers at other times. It’s not unknown for me to make the odd sarcastic remark when people ride on the wrong side of the cycleway, or for that matter cyclists who ride down the wrong side of the road (I mean what are they thinking???). But honestly I'm like that everywhere, and I am truly happy to be back. New Zealand is such a great place still.

We do really need to watch the overtaking on blind corners and crossing double orange lines though 'cause it can get you killed. And although we'd like to think we won’t miss the odd motorist they are people and they do have loved ones who care about them. They don't deserve to be squished. (They can’t help the fact that they are too lazy to cycle to the shop for sundry items like milk).

Sorry I digress. I'm happy to be back and I'm going to be more tolerant of idiots. But it has been hard re-adjusting this time.
Back Home on a Calm Winters Day.

Firstly the NZ sunlight was dazzling me. Even with sunglasses on I'm squinting at the moment to see anything due to the low angle of the rays. At 3pm in the afternoon I start thinking it’s time to get ready for nightfall and then 3hrs later the sun still hasn't set! The autumn colours and long shadows are very romantic though. Unfortunately with Adi in a moon boot and hobbling a bit, romance is not something that immediately springs into her mind. She's happy that she can now get on her bike and cycle down the driveway.

 The cat Bob is doing backflips. Not because he's pleased to see me but because he forgets he now has no back leg and the phantom pains cause him to do flips that any BMX rider would be proud of.

 During my first three or four nights back home I'd wake up in the middle of the night depressed and wondering where I was and how I was going to get out of whatever disaster that I’d dreamt up. I’m up early though ready to go. But then realise that I don't have to go anywhere and that it’s pretty cold. Last night my bedroom got down to 6.8degrees C. Now I think that that is probably below the world health organisation’s guidelines. My parents would have told me that it was good for me as long as I have a hottie and feather duvet (which I do have). I'm not complaining because our log burner does a good job, it’s just that our villa is not well insulated at the moment and my room is the furtherest from the heat source. (Adi's got somersaulting Bob for warmth in her room).What annoys me is the fact that the Government has promised every household $1300 towards insulation but in their great wisdom haven't used that money to reduce the cost of insulation material but have offered it towards the cost of employing installation contractors. I mean any idiot can install polystyrene and fibreglass batts.I don't need to pay someone to do it! Just make the products affordable!

 Sorry I digress. I have managed to achieve a few little things since I have got back. A length of guttering that I lay at the wrong angle before I left now has a new downpipe. A leak in the roof has been fixed (I hope. It hasn't rained since). A blocked soakage field and a water pump about to have a meltdown have all been tweaked prolonging the inevitable.

 I'd like to say that since I 've been back that I have jumped on my bike and powered around my 120km circuit in record times pushing the biggest gears. Not so. I've done the circuit but the results have been dissapointing. I think my brakes must have been rubbing, it certainly felt like it. My lack of form doesn't bother me because mentally I'm there, keen as mustard and I think it’s just the cold air and the low angle of the sun that’s upsetting me. that's it. It’s the low angle of the sun. Hampering my cycling style.

 While I was away cycling in Brazil I thought of two things I'd like to do on my return. Usually while I'm away from home cycling I commit myself to things on my return. Hours in the saddle on boring stretches of road start my mind wandering. On previous trips I’ve come back and done bizarre things like planting hydrangeas on mass (they look so pretty on Irish country roads). I have spent hours training climbing fruit trees (because the Austrians do it so well on their villas). Hanging baskets were the go for some time. (French shop keepers looked the part tending to theirs so I wanted baskets and window boxes too). Ocean kayaks were bought after weeks of cycling in a very hot area of Spain. On this trip I decided to join the Vespa club and VW club on my return. The idea behind joining the Vespa club was just to meet new faces. But I have an ulterior motive behind joining the VW club. And that is to get help in re assembling the kombi engine. I now realise I have forgotten how all those bits go back together. I have promised Adi a fully operational camper at some stage and it’s probably fairly important that I get the bits back together in the correct order. Without the VW engine I can’t get the kayaks to the beach at the moment, although I intend to talk to engineer Andy about a cycle trailer eventually.
My First Vespa Club Meet.(The Boys Swap Race Stories).

I think I may need some advice on basic VW maintenance or not so basic as the case here is. Please don't refer me back to one of my previous posts when I think I may have said that any chimp can put a motor back together. This chimp needs to be shown at least once. So to that end I think I had better start making friends with people that can tell the year of manufacture of any kombi by the shape of its indicators or lack of them from a distance of 300mtrs. It may be painful going to the "Shine and tell" meetings but I need wheels to transport my bike and kayaks off to far- away places.

 Mitchell’s brought over a bunch of cycle magazines that I missed while I was away. Vital reading if I am to secure myself a part time bike shop job in these tough economic times and during the winter off season.

 Campagnolo electronic 11 speed!! Who would have thought…..?

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