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.

Monday, 12 January 2015

Roll on 2015.

Another year has begun and Christmas is done and dusted. I'm pretty pleased with myself for not wasting any money over the festive season. I managed to get a week or so of covering work at the bike shop so could afford my Christmas present and the costs of my next qualifying event for Paris-Brest-Paris.
Working for the ten days up until Xmas and having to deal with the frenzy on the roads was enough to put me off Xmas for the next three years to come. But you do have to get your priorities right and a month before I had ordered the gift to myself on line and on the day it was waiting in the garage.

Once uncovered and with a little tweaking, it was ready for the road. The one thing I lacked here when years ago I sold the last of our modern cars to finance a cycling trip overseas ,was a means to get my canoe down to the beach 10kms away. I toyed with the idea of getting a very short wave rider type of canoe that would fit on the BoB trailer but then I would have the hassle of selling our two bigger canoes. The idea of getting a proper canoe trailer cemented itself when I realised I could also use it for bringing over sized items such as weatherboards back from the hardware shop. A hunt on-line showed the wicked prices for these overseas. But wonders never cease and I located a New Zealand engineer that could make me one for $250 !  When it arrived just before Xmas I of course had to check that it was all there and in doing so was very pleased with the quality.
In a couple minutes I had the canoe on the trailer and it all hitched up to the Mercian. I have to tell you that I wasn't looking forward to going in to battle with the NZ motorist as I pulled it all to the beach. There are back ways that I can take but unfortunately I have to mix it with Mr 'Testosterone' and Mrs 'Don't hold us Up' in a couple of places. I also wasn't unaware that the Xmas/New Year road toll last year was 7 and already this year we were up to 16. The whole package had very stable and predictable handling but did stick out to the side by an xtra 500mm or so. Something that I knew would prove daunting to Mr & Mrs Autobottom.

 I found that on the flat I could comfortably sit on 20km/hr but that the drag was easily twice as much as with my BoB trailer. The ride to the beach is all flat and after 10kms or so I was there in one piece. Ignorant motorists stared as if they'd never seen anything like it but I was not subjected to the intolerance that I had expected. Some vestitude of the festive spirit or perhaps the calming effect of a glass or three of wine still in their systems I expect.
Once I'd got home and had unpacked I realised that the iphone that work had given me had got salt water on it and was acting in a somewhat erratic way. The next day was a hard 400km PBP qualifier that I'd hoped to plot using the iphone.
Takaka Hill a Few Years Back. Not Much has Changed.Still an Epic Climb. Still too many Motorists.
 The ride was brutal over the Takaka hill range and back in the heat. But all  I could think about was how my smart phone wasn't working. It refused in the end to respond to any touch commands and the following day once I had recovered from the ride I threw the whole phone into a jar of methylated spirits in a desperate attempt to get the salt water out of it. Once the bubbles had stopped coming out of it I left it to dry in the sun and then switched it on. To my amazement everything worked perfectly although with a somewhat purple tinge a left over side effect from the meths. Not to be beaten I then drowned it in clear Colemans Spirits. Things were a bit clearer now but the WiFi wouldn't switch on? The cure for this suggested Utube was to blow torch the phone and then let it cool down. The blow torching went beautifully , cooling down in the freezer took some time, but too no avail , WiFi would still not switch on although to be fare to my efforts the phone was no worse.
With that iphone consigned to the dustbin a friend at work said he'd sell me his old iphone for $80. So I'm up and running again and determined to be more careful with this one. It's a bit doggy but I cant justify the hundreds of dollars for a new one. You can see that I'm totally addicted to them now though and when I need another, I have decided to by the oldest model iphone that you can  buy new.
Later this week I have the final 600km qualifier for PBP to complete and it looks like rain. We need the rain, but what a bummer because in an effort to save money and hold steadfast to my principles of unsupportedness I have decided to ride the 100km to the start of the event and then home afterwards and to sleep in my one person coffin tent at the start / middle and finish. Ive got 40 hrs to complete the 600km. The others have all booked accommodation for the rest stop but I will settle for a patch of flat ground somewhere at the 350km mark. These things always sound so easy when you plan them on the couch. Think of the time I will save not having to check into a motel or having a shower. I'll also have to carry the tent , a sleeping bag and other bits and pieces that can only serve to make me stronger. The whole thing is easily justified until you actually have to do it. I just tell myself that it cant be any harder than the Kiwi Brevet that I did last year. In fact when it comes to unpleasantly hard cycle camping I have a whole host of experiences to draw from. You have got to feel sorry for people that haven't suffered like a dog on the bike and have nothing to bring to mind when they need cheering up.

Next week I'm going to invest in a solar charger for my iphone and cycle light. The idea being that when I'm cycling in Europe later this year I can freedom camp as much as possible while still maintaining the charge in the phone. This will be the first time that I will solely  rely on my smart phone for communication and blogging. I can save a lot of weight by not taking the netbook and its charger. But I think that buying a credible solar charger is not as easy as looking at a couple hundred reviews and putting your money down. I think there are a lot of charlatans selling fake and totally ineffective solar chargers out there. I'm resigned to the fact that I will have to buy it from a local store and not on line, just because no matter how much research you do on a particular model, the nagging doubts are still there. The store will have to take it back if it proves ineffective ( cross fingers). It would of course be easier to make the choice if they knew something about the products they sell. A, "we've not had any come back" only goes so far to reassuring the customer. And they wonder why they are losing sales to the on line stores. The on line stores are telling me that they have 200 satisfied customers and 20 customers that think the product is shite and will never do business with the company again. I don't want to be the 21st. I'm going to go with one called the Solar Monkey Traveller. Here's hoping that I can attach it to the rear rack of the bike and in the course of the day it will charge the phone.

Had a nice paddle at the beach today. The over-spenders where all back at work and the children and carers where confined to the shallows. Frolicking among the waves and surfing in on the swells was all going swimmingly until I en counted a dead and bloated whale drifting down the beach. The smell alone drove me ashore where I promptly packed up my kit, hitched the canoe and trailer onto the back of the Mercian and headed home. I might have been able to provide a picture had I not decided to never take my phone canoeing again. At the rate of drift I would say that the whole smelly mess would be washing up amongst the paddlers in about 40minutes. By then I should be back at home with an alcoholic beverage.