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.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

The 2014 Kiwi Brevet.

My Adi had planned an overnight cycle ride this week, and I had planned a couple of days of.. Not much while she was away. Just a day away from her planned departure and she hadn’t made any moves towards cleaning her bike or testing how all the essentials would fit in her bags. So I assumed that my couple of slothful bachelor days were in jeopardy.
Thinking that she may not go and that I would have to spend the night watching’ Lord of the Rings’ or ‘The Biggest Loser’ once again on TV I suggested that I could ride the first part with her. Just to see her on her way so to speak. This seemed to work a treat, with her now expected off to be at 8am sharp the next day. Just what ‘Niel the Wheel’ loves, early starts.

One of the Family got to Sleep In.

O’well I thought. I could be back by early afternoon, have a shower, peg out until dinner time, throw a steak and chips on then settle down to a Matt Damon movie, bliss. I might even tinker with my bike in the lounge. I might even leave it there all night so that I can continue tinkering on it in the morning. I’ll have a leisurely breakfast dining on porridge made the way I like it with lashings of cream and sugar. Premixed with salt of course.
The next day at the 70km mark, Adi goes left into a howling headwind towards Renwick another 100kms away (poor thing), and I should have turned around and gone home, job done. But do I? No I don’t. I didn’t because after you have spent 4 hours cycling up to 700mtrs, and you have the option of another way home, a route that offers more tail wind, two stops for coke and ice-cream, no traffic to speak of and a bit of Bianca Strada thrown in for good measure, what real cyclist could say no?
Not me. And to top it all off I had only myself for company!. There’s always a down side and it wasn’t the company but the fact that a quick calculation had the proposed circuit at 220kms and at some point I’d be sticking my nose into a pretty solid northerly wind. I thought I’d ponder on it at the local store while sipping Coke and eating a filled roll. My fate was sealed when the nice petrol pump / tea lady asked me where I was cycling and I blew my own trumpet by throwing the toughest circuit out there and then adding that I would be home before dark and would probably save at least two distressed animals along the way.

Clearly I couldn’t then just go home, and besides I’d bought too much coke and filled rolls so had to do the full ride or end up coming back 2kilos heavier than when I started.
I won’t bore you with the trip except to say it was everything I expected. Gravel road, headwind, back-country New Zealand. Scenically very pretty, but where does everyone go during the week out there? Nobody to be seen working on the land, no tractors in the fields, no kids being chased by magpies. Tadmor would make a good backdrop for an apocalypse movie. You would have to add a few corpses here and there, otherwise everything else would suffice. No chance for a coffee inTadmor for two reasons, the first being that if I took the time to billy up myself I was worried that I would be riding home in the dark , and secondly the town café looked like it had closed 20years ago. And unlike an American café that is still operating but only looks like it closed 20years ago, Tadmor store really did close 20years ago. The railway line, still visible in places as an outline across the paddocks closed a good deal longer ago than that. And I think the town may still be trying to recover. A lick of paint on some of the dwellings and an extended session with the weed eater might cheer the place up a bit.

Railway Platform Now Abandoned.

At the end of the day I did get home ½ an hour before sunset having ridden 220kms, and having not saved any cute animals, and after carrying my rattily cooker ‘Ken ‘and mug all the way without the time available to use him. I was happy with the mileage but the lack of coffee thing sucked.
The radio tells me its Christmas in less than a month and I can’t believe that for the first year that I can remember I haven’t organised my Christmas present! I can’t even think of anything I want. This is not good as I should be ordering it by now. It’s no big deal though, I’ll just postpone Christmas until I can think of something.
In the mean time until Christmas happens for me around here, I have got my summer cycling sorted. I knew that deep down I must be training for something with these long rides and overnighters, and it’s come to me! With the help of my workmate at the bike shop (who we will call Mitchell) I have decided to enter the Kiwi Brevet 2014 event.
 This is an 1100km ride on backcountry roads around the top of New Zealand’s South Island. Mitchell thought it would be good for me, and bless his sole has offered to swap days with me at the bike shop so that I can have the 5 to 6 days off that I will need to complete the event. It will be a bit longer for me because I’ll have to ride the 125kms to the start/Finish and the same distance home afterwards. I do know a few other people doing it and would consider bludging a lift if they didn’t already know that I get great pleasure in making derogatory comments regarding vehicle support.
Instead I will ask them all if they want to ride over to the start as a bunch and then make derogatory comments about vehicle support when they tell me they will be driving there. Note to self. Don’t miss the start Niel.

It's Hard to Improve on Perfection ,but for the Brevet, Maybe My Small Front Carrier.

So I now have two more overnighters planned in order to hone myself up for the event and to recky parts of the off road sections of the course. This event should really set me up for the summer and hopefully make qualifying for the Paris- Brest- Paris event easier next year.


  1. I can see that you are putting a lot of efforts into your blog. Keep posting the good work.Some really helpful information in there. Nice to see your site. Thanks! More information about Best Bike Wheels our websites.

  2. Thanks Jackson. Too much chocolate today and no cycling. Life's a bitch. It's too late to regurgitate that chocolate now so I will have to go out tomorrow and cycle it off.