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RideNZ, Cape Reinga to Bluff


Apr 12-May 1, 09.  Many cyclists have talked about riding the length of the country, not many actually do it.  Meet a group who have just completed this journey. Read their ride diary for all the details.

The purpose of the ride is to promote health . . . particularly men's health. This is a promotion based on the premise of 'prevention rather than cure'. "Activity and optimal nutrition will maintain a healthy state" says David Payne, Spokesperson for the group. Average New Zealanders need more challenges and more activity to get back to health.


The RideNZ team

David encouraged other cyclists to join in their ride for an hour or two, a day or the whole journey which was mainly down State Highway 1.  He stressed that it is a ride and not a race therefore everyone can join in.  The original plan was to have four riders doing the whole route, but that is down to three but David says they had many promises from riders to join them along route.

Ride Diary 

Installment 18 - Success!
May 1st.  Today dawned fine with the sun shining through. However it was a doozer of a frost. So well clad, we set out on the last 29km to Bluff. While very cold it was also very beautiful with the frost and fog around. Interesting hearing the deer calling out..........not the straight gutteral sounds of Red Deer but a higher pitched almost melodic call. The girls in the car didn't hear that! BTW Bluff was established in 1824.

About 1.5km from Stirling Point (southern most point of Bluff) all the air went out of my rear tyre. I pumped it up by hand to get me to the next service station where it got the full 70psi. That got me around to Stirling Point where we changed the tube. Talked to a Scots couple who sure enough, live just 18miles from the town of Stirling!! A glass of bubbly and some photos here and we were off to Bluff Hill.

This is a gutbuster after 2100kms of riding. It is so steep that if I sat on the seat and pedalled, the front wheel lifted off the road. So it was a very zig-zag ride up that very steep road. At the top we were greeted by Bill & John, Sheryl and Pamela of course and the reporter from the Southland Times. Bill & John had brought five dozen, fresh this moring, Bluff oysters and several bottles of Guinness.!! Sheryl had arranged bottles of bubbly and Peach Schnapps as well. So we celebrated. We were joined by Michael and Daisy a Chinese couple from Auckland, several Australian tourists and a few Kiwi holiday makers. It was a very jolly ending to a long ride.

We enjoyed the food and drinks and learned lots about the area from Bill & John. Bill Ryan has lived in Bluff all his life. He used to be a fisherman and now has a pack-house for oysters and crayfish. He has a real enthusiasm for the region and certainly knows lots about it. We really appreciated his hospitality and that of John as well.

I would really like to acknowledge my cycling buddy Justin Ryan. Justin has ridden in many parts of the world and knows a lot about the "past-time". He has been so good to work with over the past three weeks. One of life's really good people.

Also a big thanks to Sheryl and Pamela, our support crew who organised our food and accomadation. I believe if you are thinking of doing a long ride like this to carefully consider the support. Everyday, we really appreciated being able to ride up to where we were staying and get warm and get fed.

Everyone is now asking us what's next? Well, first we get to make our way home, Justin to Christchurch and us to Taranaki. Then, who knows? Watch this space. We are really keen to promote a length of NZ cycleway on the main trunk rail line.

For me what has really made this trip is the people. People we travelled with and people we met along the way. There are so many good, decent people out there. The media would have us believe otherwise. On a bike trip like this you get to meet the real people.

Finally thanks again to Merda Bikes, Visign for signage, Mainfreight, Em's Power Cookies, Usana Health Sciences, the Interislander/ KiwiRail, i-SITES, Turangi Campground, Leigh Sawmill Cafe, Bill Ryan & John at Bluff,

While this event has been a cycle ride to promote health and activity....never2old2rideNZ, it has turned into an excercise in GOAL SETTING and ACHIEVEMENT.



Installment 17
Apr 30th. After a hearty breakfast, we hopped on the bikes and headed from Balclutha to Clinton. Temps were low and we felt cold. Rain was threatening and we were prepared. Clinton is in the death throes. Not much left there unfortunately. At this point we took the Old Coach Road from Clinton to Mataura. The idea was to lose some of the trucks and to shorten the trip slightly. However the trucks now use this road, so they are still there. However it was very scenic and interesting. Johnny farmer was rebuilding his fence with his Tibetan wife (very happy, smiley face) after a cow got out last night and a truck hit it.  

On the Old Coach Road there is a farm called Jeff Farm on which I counted 5 homes. At the front entrance is a plaque on a rock saying thet "under instruction from Sir Sanderson Jeff, this farm is owned and operated by the Salvation Army for the work they do in NZ". Amazing uh?

So Mataura was a little forbodingas we rode in. the Mills were all closed and a lot of houses very run down. One was for sale for $45,000. The Kohanga Reo came out and met a nd talked with Justin, Sheryl and Pamela and were most inspired by what we were doing. So another 55km of mainly falt down to Invercargill and a hot bath....preceeded by the obligatory Guinness of course. For Health reasons only!

A total of 128km today, so quite a good ride really.

Tomorrow is our last day and we have Oysters and Champagne booked for the top of Bluff Hill at 10.00am. I can only imagine the emotion that will surround the completion of this ride. Let me tell you about that tomorrow.

Once again thanks to our very reliable Merida Crossways 500D bikes that have carriedus all this way without incident. They are such a reliable bike obviously. over hill and down dale, they have done the job for us.


Installment 16

Apr 29th. We left Dunedin to an overcast sky and very low temps. It's a *** of a place to get out of on a bike. Major detours through Green Island and Sunnyvale and eventually we hit the main road near Mosgiel. We were very cold and stopped at Waihola for a hot drink and food. Then it started raining.

We have had 17 and a quarter days of fine weather. It rained from Waihola to Balclutha, where it abruptly stopped. And so did we. Cold and wet, the attraction of a nice motel was too great. Fingers crossed with the prospect of fine weather again tomorrow. We have seen a little blue sky so here's hoping.

In the north of NZ, especially around Auckland there is much complaint about the number of trucks on the road. However, the numbers on these roads around Otago way far exceed the numbers of the north. There are masses!

It was interesting today. We have just two days to go to the end of our epic. It was as if the mind was tricking me and energy levels were depleted. Like I was seeing the end before we we really there.



Installment 15

Apr 28th.  So today was an early start in Oamaru to allow us to get to Dunedin in good time. We were hoping for tail winds but got just a few puffs...........unfortunately quite a lot of head wind. The day was beautifully fine all the way. The ride around Moeraki and south of Shag Point is beautiful as you are so close to the sea. It's most impressive.
Sheryl purchased a copy of today's Timaru Herald...............there we are, Justin & I at Makihihi on page 3. !!!! World famous in Timaru

I ducked into Maheno and looked at the St. Andrews Church which has quite unique cladding and in both cases. As I was about to ride away the "Vicar of Dibley" came out of the nearby house waving a giant key to open the church. Wearing a large, velvet maroon dressing gown she enthusiastically invited me to open up and have a look inside the church. It is absolutely beautiful inside, Built in 1938, it seats about 70 people. Has a bell tower as well. The interior is lined with Oamaru limestone and beautiful timberwork.

Lunch was at the Rail Cafe in Palmerston...........a quaint little town.

On my way past, I called into the Evansdale Cheese factory. It is housed in an old hospital where there is the Creation Museum and various church buses. So in the factory shop I met 68 year old Colin who is the owner. He has a couple of Cheese-makers there and he runs the shop. Colin gave me a piece of Ruby Red cheese which was enjoyed with nibbles tonight. On the way out I noticed a sign with two arrows. One arrow pointing to "Jesus" the pointing to "Chesus".!!

After a long haul up the Kilmorg and "motorway" hills we finally made Dunedin. The good thing about hills is that for every up, there is a down on the other side.

So to Balclutha and beyond tomorrow. Just three days to go.


Installment 14

Apr 27th. After a wonderful Rest Day in Timaru................American Cars, Gypsy Fair, a couple of beers in the sun, visiting Sefton B & B- John & Trish ( be sure & look them up if you want somwhere to stay in Timaru), we headed out just after 9.00am for the Timaru i-SITE. Quite a crowd of dignitaries assembled for the release of the new "Central South Island Mountain Bike Trails" booklet.

Karen has spent nine months planning, designing and producing this amazing booklet that shows public access bike ways in the area. After lots of intros and well-wishing we rode off with Karen and Christine who showed us a local track that follows the beach and goes through a wetlands area. Very nice indeed. Then Christine rode with us to Pareora. She then headed back to work again. it was an honour to be associated with these women and Katarina and Anna and all the people from the i-SITE in Timaru. They really are doing a wonderful job there.

So we continued on down State Highway 1. Around Makikihi we were chased down by a reporter from the Timaru Herald who got our story and took some photos. Maybe because the Timaru Courier had attended the earlier book launch .... couldn't be outdone!!

With mostly tail winds we made good time to Oamaru. BTW what an impressive sight is the Waitaki River.................lots of water and of beautiful colour.

We saw potatoes being dug, potatoes being cooked into chips, fields being ploughed, and gift shops in the middle-of-nowhere!!

So we duly arrived in Oamaru a little after 3.00pm and settled into our motel. After a quick shower we headed to the Whisky House, watched the Penguins come ashore and hada beer with Tony our absentee host from Christchurch. Yes, he was on his way to Dunedin and took time to have a beer with us. Oamrau is quite beautiful. A population of only some 12,000 and yet has facilitiesway beyond that.

Tomorrow we ride to Dunedin. Justin explains that maybe tomorrow will be the most difficult day of all. We have seen all sorts of road conditions so we'll see if tomorrow is worse than anything we have so far experienced. Will let you know tomorrow night.



Installment 13

Apr 25th. We left Christchuurch at 9.00am thinking that Ashburton was an easy ride away. We had a tail wind and the ride is basically flat so got there very early. Justin was averaging 35km/hr!! I was doing 25-30km/hr.

So after a quick discussion we said, "Timaru here we come." So here we are, 166km later in Church St., Timaru. What a day. The road was flat, a tail wind until the Rangitata and the sun on our backs most of the way. The south island rivers are amazing. The water in some of them is a turquoise blue and in all is very, very clear. The Rakaia Bridge is so long and narrow, that we had our support creww follow us all the way across, with hazard lights flashing and our "Caution" sign showing. All the cars followed dutifully and we had no problems at all.

It's interesting the little things of the NZ countryside. At the Arowhenua Pub there were three horses grazing in the paddock right by the pub. Obviously the riders figured itwas safer bringing the horse than the ute. Can you be arrested for D.I.C. of a horse? As soon as we crossed the Rangitata Bridge the countryside changed yet again. After the flat organised farming of the Canterbury Plains, the south Canterbury region is different. Just different.

Tomorrow is a full on REST DAY. No riding, just recuperating and having a look around Timaru. So far Timaru looks very impressive.

I forgot to mention yesterday something very significant. When we were leaving the Mud House Cafe at Waipara, Jac rished out and wanted to speak with us. Jac is Alex (Grizz) Wyllies daughter. She explained that she felt her life had been at a standstill and that we had inspired her with our ride. She asked for our e-mail address and wants to stay in touch. I thought about that today and got quite "emotional". Imagine that everyday we lived our lives like that...............looking to help a stranger everyday!!


Installment 12

Apr 24th, What an amazing day! We started 8km north of Cheviot and raced down the north Canterbury areas of Hurunui, Dommett and Omigi at great speed. While very cool, the sun was on our backs and it was very pleasant. Calling in at Mud House cafe we met with Rugby legend Grizz Wyllie and had our photo taken with him.

Had a Chardonay there before leaving for Pukeko Junction for lunch and then to Prenzl's for liquer tasting. From there we went on to Kaiapoi to visit Colleen at the i-Site. Also caled at the bike shop in Kaiapoi who are Merida sellers. They said the Limar 737 helmets that we wear are their most popular selling helmets!!

The ride today seemed easier and quicker. Not sure why. "Some days are diamonds, some days are stone"................there is a song in there somewhere!!

So tomorrow it's off to Ashburton and more adventures.

It's not so much about the programme as about the possibilities each day offers. We have little adventures each day. There was another young guy at the road-works today. He starts each day at 7.00am and finishes at 7.00pm showing drivers when to stop and when to go. Amazing really.

Looking forward to the start of our mid-Canterbury trip.


Installment 11

Apr 23rd, Today we woke to a beautiful clear sunny sky and snow on the Inland Kaikoura's. The beach and bay at Kaikoura were absolutely stunning. We had chosen the motel because it had a sea-view and it paid off handsomely. We would all recommend the Norfolk Pine Motel at Kaikoura as a magnificent place to stay.

The coastline all down the coast and over the Hundalees is magnificent. We saw more seals and a huge flock of Mutton Birds. John, who lives in Invercargill & we met at Oaro, told us these birds were Mutton Birds (Shearwaters). They were flying about a metre above the sea apparently looking for food. And yes, they were flying in V-formation and swapping over the leader as they sped down the coast. The seals are right up close to the edge of the road.......not sure how friendly they are, but they sure look impressive.

I would like to acknowledge our bikes. The Merida Crossways 500D's have performed magnificently. Apart from a couple of punctures everything else has done all we have asked. We have ridden some 1300 kms at this stage so we should have ironed out the bugs by now.......................and there are no bugs!! So big ups to Merida and their bikes. Even the seat is staring to become comfortable!! Well maybe that's stretching the truth a bit.

Tomorrow we head to Christchurch via an appointment at Kaiapoi with the Kaiapoi i-SITE. The weather will be brilliant again like it has been today.


Installment 10

Apr 22nd. Third world NZ is sealed?  Cryptic title for today's blog.We left a very chilly Blenheim at 7.45 am and rode toward Seddon where a hot cup of soup from our support was very nice. However, something strange in Seddon. Two people had come to a tap at the school. So I asked this young mother , was the water special. No not really was the response, as the town water supply is undrinkable, I have come to this tap and fillthe bottles with specially filtered drinking water. That is 3rd world standards and should not be tolerated here!! The grape plantings through Marlborough, Dashwood Pass and Awatere Valley are immense. At one point of the road, the view both ways is full grapes as far as the eye can see.

So on to Ward for a hot pie and then on down to Kekerengu and "The Store" cafe which could grace any major city. Here we caught up with Julia, Justin's partner, who is off to Germany tomorrow. After farewells we headed on down the coast to Kaikoura. On this stretch there were 1000's of Seals. Large, medium and small, they were all over the rocks, in the sea and right up to the road. I have never seen so many seals anywhere before. To think there were none here just a few years ago.

As a 130km ride over hills and round narrow roads, this was a big day on this ride. The roads through the Kaikoura coast area are interesting for a bike rider. For long stretches of road there is no berm outside the white line for a cyclist to use!! This is not a good thing. A night at the Norfolk Pine Motel in Kaikoura will sleep away all the aches of the day.


Installment 9

Apr 21. What a blast today. Left Waikanae just before 9.00am with Matt Oliver leading us. Matt picked up our trip from RideStrong and joined us accordingly. He was brilliant to show us the cycleway from the Fishermans Table on down to Wellington. We were met on the beautiful Titahi Bay coast by Kieran Allwood who had ridden over from the Hutt Valley to join us. So the four of us rode into Wellington's Pipitea Wharf. After a coffee and expression of great thanks to Matt and Kieran our support crew of Sheryl and Pamela drove onto the ferry while Justin and I walked our bikes onto Deck 4 and tied up with the railway carriages.

After a three hour or so sailing through the beautiful Sounds we tied up at Picton Wharf. Now 5.30pm plus, with darkness approaching we needed to make a decision. So we were off to Blenheim. At this stage the temperature had dropped considerably so we through on many more clothes. 28km to Blenheim, almost all in the dark. Quite an experience. Afast trip into Blenheim, chilly and dark.

Safely arrived we rolled into the Blenheim Spa Motor Lodge.  Norm from Peak Fuels dropped in to see us and leave us some products for our trip.  What a day!! So satisfying.

Just wanted to say a big thanks to our supporters............................................................Mainfreight, Burgerfuel, Usana Health Sciences, Ems Power Cookies, The Interislander, Peak Fuels, Visign,

Installment 8

Apr 20th. This morning we left Bulls and headed for Sanson just down the road. There we took the road through Orua Downs and on to Levin where we planned to have lunch. However, that road is so flat that we arrived well early and continued onto Otaki for lunch. There we decided to continue to Waikanae and stay there the night. That puts us well ahead for the ride into the Wellington Ferry tomorrow for the 2.15pm sailing. Our crossing has kindly been provided by The InterIslander a division of KiwiRail.

It is interesting riding NZ as most places are very scenic. That cannot be said for the road between Sanson and Levin. It is almost a desolate area, completely lacking in coffee shops. So don't be caught out. Be sure and fill up at either end as there is nothing in between. Well there was one nice cafe open at Foxton....The Lazy Fox.....very hard to see but nice once you are inside. Fresh Muffins will always win the day. Sheryl tried the banana & apple straight out of the oven..............very nice!!

New Zealand must get into the 21st Century. Some of the road bridges over rail and over rivers through the Manawatu and Horowhenua having been built early 1900's simply don't suffice for today.

Justin's concept of a cycleway following the main trunk rail line really has merit. It takes cyclists away from any hazard posed by those narrow bridges. BTW credit where it's due. Bulls has put in a cycleway under the very long narrow bridge just south of the township. Tar sealed and away from the traffic it is just ideal.

So while today was a short 82km and mostly very flat, it was testing toward the end with a sharp headwind. Very satisfying to be this far into the ride. We go sailing tomorrow.


Installment 7

Apr 19th.  Taihape dawned bright and beautiful......well it is Sunday! We had stayed the night at Taihape Motels under the care of Con the Greek who has owned these motels for 40 years!! Yes, that's right.............fell in love with a Kiwi girl and had to come to NZ & Taihape. Con sings as he walks around the motel units doing his work. So nice to experience.

The trip from Taihape down to Bulls is almost literally down hill all the way. The hill leading into Mangaweka is specatcular. Justin reached 77km/hr without even trying. When you are passing thru Mangaweka be sure and stop at the Mangaweka International's the one under the DC3 aircraft mounted up high and which you can walk into. They have the best coffees and hot chocolates and muffins between Cape Reinga and Bulls!! .........and we are now experts.

We are now ensconced in the Bridge Motels at Bulls having arrived here before 3.00pm. That's quite gentlemanly really considering we left Taihape at 9.30. The short day and early finish is really very pleasant..................considering it was our scheduled rest day. It does mean we are well ahead of schedule and can make the ferry crossing on Tuesday with ease.

We'll go through to Otaki tomorrow and then Wellington on Tuesday.


Installment 6

Apr 18th. We have such a beautiful we rode from Turangi to Taihape.....just a short 91km today. The scenery across the Desert Road is so spectacular and so under-rated. Ruapehu was clear with just a little old snow in places. The colour of the mountain streams.........saphire blue in the pools!!

Talked to this truck driver who drives a B-Train Auckland to Bluff and return, twice per week. He racks up 300,000kms per year. Owns a house on Great Barrier and plans to retire there in two years. In Bluff he picks up Aluminium ingots from the refinery. Works for Freightliners....nice guy doing his thing.

Turangi i-SITE were amazing. Maryke had children and adult cyclists (one being Shaz who provided us coffee this morning on leaving) greet us into town. Then we had a BBQ..............I think I did this last night!!!!!!

So this morning with a big kiss from Maryke and a wave from Ironwoman Jenny, we were off.

Justin's suggestion of using the main trunk railway- line is gaining momentum. Imagine a Northland to Bluff contiuous bike track just beside the rail line. Old railway stations could revitalise as coffee and food outlets and country hotels could be rejuvenated. We are working on the idea of a Cape Reinga to Bluff race that would become a NZ equivalent of the Tour de France. Imagine Lance Armstrong riding here on our Tour de Aotearoa down the mail line.!!! BTW we haven't seen one moving train in seven days of cycling State Highway 1.!!! How is that?


Installment 5
Apr 17th.  What a way to finish a brilliant day. A nice long soak in natural thermal water at Tokaanu.

We left Mary and the children of Tokoroa at 8.40am and rode through Taupo to Turangi. Me being the slowest ( I talk to people on the road side) I arrived at 5.20pm in Turangi to be told to shower ready for a Guinness and a BBQ prepared by our hosts John & Olwen who had been organised by Maryke at Turangi i-SITE. Fabulous people, Maryke and her team Lois and Christine. John has the largest barbeques I have ever seen, enough to feed 200 comfortably we were reliably informed at the Turangi Camp Ground. This was a village for single men building the hydro-electric dams etc in the 1950's & 60's. Apparently a lot of them were Italians, some of whom madethese giant ornate barbeques which sound like 747's taking off when fired up.

BTW talking to people on the road is fascinating. One guy I met this morning just south of Atiamuri dam is a road inspector. His job is to measure all the roads between Cape Reinga and Wellington. He measures distance from set reference points, location of sumps, width of road and 7 various other things. I now know enough info to go and build a road!! But what a nice guy, going around doing a very important job which most of us are probably unaware of. He was so enthusiastic about it as well. With a handshake and best wishes from him, I carried on cycling toward Taupo.

Justin found the first part of the day challenging as far as energy levels go. A new pair of bike pants saved my day (and other unmentinables)!!

When we came down the hill into Taupo the scene was absolutely beautiful. The lake and mountains in the distance were like a picture done in pastels. We had never seen it like that before.

The little bays on the way to Turangi are also stunning, especially with the late afternoon sun streaming in on them at a low angle. So it's breakfast at "Shaz" tomorrow. Shaz and a friend rode the last few kms into Turangi with Justin tonight and she owns a top eatery here in town.

Installment 4
Apr 16th. The trip is going really well. We are staying in a beautiful home in Tokoroa tonight, which was organised by Mary at the Tokoroa i-SITE. Our hosts Yvonne and Ian have this beautiful old home with a 3bdrm cottage on it as well as their own large home. The 2 acres of gardens are beautiful.

The i-SITE folks have held a Food Pyramid competition for which we are presenting the prizes tomorrow as we leave. They have had our story in the local paper and also on the local radio station. Tirau's Gemma, organised a Best Dressed Bike competition and we did the judging for that. They had got Woolworths supermarket at Tirau to supply food which was enjoyed by all, including an Asian lady who didn't understand English!!

All in all things are going well.

So day five was another big one with lots of mini-events along the way. We also want to mention Award Winning Lisa & Brent Quarrie of River Kitchen Cafe in 237 Victoria St., Hamilton. They were so hospitable and gave us some beautiful food for the journey.

For us today, the sore point is "the bum". However I/we am sure it will be fine tomorrow.


Installment 3

Apr 15th. This is the web address for Justin's GPS can monitor our progress live from here.

We are eating up the kilometres with the help of the guys from rocket bikes in Whangarei and Greenlane in Auckland. We have been sponsored by Merida bikes and Murray and Jarrod from Whangarei and Nigel and Jack from Greenlane have been fantastic on checking our bikes over and doing any needed repairs. Call in and see them they are great.

When in Kaitaia stay at the Northener Motel. Elle, the manager there, was fantastic and was very pleased to offer us FREE accomodation. A spa which was so nice after a days cycling was also included. Early next morning we headed to Kawaka of course we had to visit the world famous toilets there.

We stayed at the Centrepoint Motel in Kawakawa and our host Julie Perry,from New Plymouth, was very accomodating (excuse the pun). When cycling along on these beautiful sunny days I am in absolute awe of this amazing country we live and the wonderful generosity of the people we have meet and are meeting along the way. Its amazing what goes through your mind when cycling along on your own.

We arrived in Welsford as it was getting dark. Boy it seemed a long but satisfying day.

Last night we were guests of a long time friend of Justine's who lives on a lifestyle block just out of Matakana. In fact with his family he owns a well known restaurant "The Sawmill" They have a great reputation make it a destination and have a meal there. Edward cooked us a delicious meal.

We were up early this morning, said goodbye to Edwards friendly donkey and headed through Orewa to the USANA office in Albany. (we were looking forward to riding through the new tunnel but "no bikes allowed".) USANA provides us with the amazing nutritional products which have definately given us more energy and a quicker recovery rate and definately cut down on the sore muscles and prevents any cell damage from the pollution from vehicle emmissions. So you bikers take a look at the products I think you will impressed.

From Albany we headed to Devonport just in time to catch the ferry to Auckland CBD. really enjoyed the ride in the sun. From the ferry we were met by Pamela and Sheryl and then through Parnell, New market and to Rocket Bikes in Greenlane. From there to Howick to stay at David's mums who happens to be in New Plymouth looking after Davids cat.

Talk to you tomorrow.


Installment 2 from David Payne

Apr 13th.  Today we left the northern town of Kaitaia nice and early. A stroke of brilliance really. Low traffic count and cool conditions..........just perfect. Then we struck the Mangamuka Hill. What a gutbuster!! Then to add salt to the wound there is a miserable hill just before Okaihau. It was such a long grind but then the support crew had lunch ready at the top at Okaihau. We were tempted to buy some Kava from the local store. Then there was the old Indian guy sitting on equally old chair out front of the half burnt out Liquor store missing one wall.

However there were some real highlights. What a beautiful country we live in.

The Waimate North church out in the country......started in 1851 and the current building built in 1872. The sign on the big front doors have a sign up saying "not locked, come in". The graveyard is a storehouse of history. Then there is the guy who owns the second hand store in Moerewa. Bought the shop in 1970 as a general store and later converted to what it is now. As is obvious, he has lived in the area a long time. 78years to be precise. He says Moerewa is a great place to live. Having your family around and being happy is his advice.

Sore knees and high spirits for tomorrows ride to Wellsford. If you want to find out when we are in your town and you'd like to ride with us, check out attached schedule. We can be bribed with a bottle of Guinness!!


Installment 1 from David Payne

Apr 12th. Wow !! What a day!!

Cape Reinga to Kaitaia. 112km. Further than I have ever ridden a bike before. Yeah, it was a big effort but not so much for Justin. Justin has cycled Tibet, Europe and who knows where else. Yorinda also rode well and we all pleased with her efforts.

What a stunning area of NZ the far North is.!! Cape Reinga is absolutely beautiful and the views out to sea and the Three Kings Islands is awe-inspiring. The locals have developed the parking and visitor centre to 21st Century standards. I thought that maybe the Far North had a reputation for being run-down. Not so! The schools and Marae and public facilities are all well maintained and look very prosperous on the whole.

People have been very helpful and friendly. Colleen at Kaitaia i-SITE was particularly helpful finding accommodation. Noeleen and her Man-Friday Glen at Houhora Chalets were very accomodating. Glen even washed our extremely dusty support 4wd vehicle.

Sheryl and Pamela were great with their support role in providing food and drink on the way and with getting a place to stay.

Looking forward to another great day tomorrow, heading to Kawakawa.