Maungaturoto to Ahipara 296 km in four days (three days of cycling + one rest day)
I had a rest day in Waipu with my warm showers hosts because of the bad weather that was passing over New Zealand. That day it rained and the wind was too strong to even walk, let alone cycle. The next day the rain had stopped but the wind was still there. I had planned to continue north along the east coast but now the wind was coming from the east so it made sense to go west. It didn’t take long to make the decision and I was on my way to the west coast.
Starting a long cycling trip (actually anything longer than a few hours) is not easy on the mind or the body. After buying and preparing Traicho Junior (the bicycle) in Auckland, I was ready to leave on the slightly overcast December 11.
Auckland is a city made for cars but there are some bicycle lanes. Getting out of Auckland directly north though is a bit complicated, so I decided to go west first and then north. And to avoid breathing all the car exhaust, I took the suburban train for 6 NZD to a station in the west. Bikes are allowed on trains but not on buses in Auckland.
In four days I did 224 km over quite a few hills and some rain.
On the last day of November, I found myself in Auckland – the largest city of New Zealand. This was my second time here. The first time was six years ago on my round the world trip when I was too lazy to write a blog. However, back then I wrote an article about Auckland (for money), whose main purpose was to explain how the North Island of New Zealand looks like a fish and Auckland would be its anus…
Auckland is not exactly a Manhattan but coming here after five months in Melanesia it felt like a super busy place. The first day I had problems crossing streets and I got completely lost in a shopping mall – took me about an hour to find an exit. It was refreshing to be in a place where I could be anonymous, but then noone would respond to my hellos on the street.
I wanted to buy a bicycle in Auckland and then spend the next few months (as long as New Zealand’s summer weather allowed) cycling. Back in 2008 I travelled mostly on the South Island (including by bicycle) and now I wanted to concentrate on the North Island.
I spent ten days readjusting to civilization and rediscovering shopping therapy. (more…)