|Tasmania 1988 The First Overseas Cycle Trip|
I'd done the correct thing. My mother would be proud. Married , bought a house, started a career with the Government. Would babies follow?
Not bloody likely. My mum told me that it was not unknown for women to trick men into having babies. So Adi was under no illusion, that should she try that with me, I'd be on the first plane to Sydney (anything would be better than coming home and tripping over kids toys in the driveway).
Luckily Adi wasn't that sort of a girl and she soon informed me that she was sick of paying off mortgages and that it was time to get on the bikes and do a real trip.
So we headed to England! My dreams were to be realised.
|England 1992. Lands End to John O Groats|
Our appetite's had been wetted, there was no going back. When I returned my work mates said that it was good that I had got that out of my system and that it was back to the grindstone." You'll settle down and have babies now Niel". Niel the wheel does not settle down and have babies was the answer. There are plenty of babies in the world. what we need are more cycle adventurers!
My sister asked me if she should keep her baby stuff for me.
"Sell it" I said . I don't want all my surfaces cluttered and my bike frames not suitable for child seat.
We were grounded long enough to pay off our mortgage and then with tenants living in the garage (one needs extra income) . We were off to France.
|1996 Tour de France 4500km.|
A trip of a life time we thought at the time.
Climbing the great great alpine passes and watching the Tour de France hero's ( Adi almost passed out when Indurain looked at her. ) I burst her bubble by saying that he was just looking through her to the next corner higher up the road.
Ah those passes. I loved them being a natural hill climber. The same cannot be said for Adi however.
"I'm being plagued by flies".Just ride up the hill faster was the Wheels response. "I cant ride any faster" said poor old Adi.
We both suffered hypothermia on the top of one pass (rescued by a beautiful french B&B owner) and then Adi got sun burnt the next day on the beach at Nice.
|End to End Italy 2000|
By Italy we were pulling BOB trailers. The Italians thought they were great. We thought they were great too. At the bottom of one high pass Adi decided to pass her BOB trailer over to an Italian roadie showing us the way to the top. Showing that true Italian pride he zoomed ahead. Adi couldn't keep up.
Niel was informed after he had already cycled 120kms that day that he would have to keep up with Louie since everything Adi owned was firmly attached to his bike.
The psychological war was on. Sitting on Lou's wheel 'Niel the wheel' suffered silently like a dog until Louis muscles finally conveyed the message to his brain that another 30kgs had been added to the equation.
Lois started making excuses about waiting for Signorina to catch up.
The Wheel powered on.
Lois was about to enter lactic acid hell or lose face.Italian roadies don't lose face.
At the top Lois had recovered by the time signorina turned up.
|2003 Velo Around Spain and Portugal.|
"Well forever" was the reply. "It's not like we do anything here except read the newspaper and drive around doing windsceen inspections"
My mother was right the government would have been a good job. If I could have permanently put my brain in neutral.
I left my part time cycle mechanics job as a varsity grad to work for the government and the senior mechanic said "once you get in there Niel you'll never get out". He was almost right
Luckily the Wheel was encouraged to leave. Serious desk work got in the way of my cycling!
|Portugal. My Marco Pantani Look.|
|Crappy Mountain bikes in Fiji|
|2005 Tour of Germany & Austria.|
Working part-time in a bike shop enabled me to replace every part of that GT over the next few years with campag and other quality components. The only GT part left was the frame. I had to have quality so after the second frame cracked I searched for a replacement. Something that would take me anywhere and would sit well with Brooks leather, campag components, Gipemme wheels.
It had to be hand built and it had to be light weight steel.
|2007 Dublin to Dublin Around Ireland.|
In 2007 the Tour De France was in London. Adi and I were there also to once again see the contenders flex their muscles, and in Adi's case there buttocks. Once the buttock flexing was over we headed to Mercian Cycles in Derby to order my new frames, and Buttock boys headed for France.
We cycled around Ireland in pretty much glorious weather while the boys at Mercian built me a real frame made to measure and a spare just in case. I know these frames are designed to last a long time, but I'm a realist and can't be laid up for three months while my frames fixed.
My last GT frame got me around Ireland despite road surfaces that I thought were only available in the third world.
Shortly after I arrived back home in New Zealand my new frames arrived. And once being fleeced by NZ customs for tax I finally had the bike of my dreams.