The hostel last night barely lived up to its mediocre rating. I awoke and again thought it was much later than it was. I blame both the Red Cross training schedule and Daylight Savings time in NZ ( which changed during training). Breakfast and radio checks started at 6:30 am the last 2 weeks.
Took a couple of tries to find the rental place, but I returned the car unscathed! I spent a long time packing while at the rental place at the airport. I’m used to having front and rear panniers, but only have rear ones for this trip (due to the rental bike). I had anguished over whether to bring my main camera. I brought it, but had correctly assumed I didn’t have room for it. I moved all the camping gear to the rack, and then my strap wasn’t long enough!
I had the same problem when I repacked for the lost pannier in Bulgaria, but at the time I scavenged more strap from the handlebar bag, which I don’t have this trip. The camera solved that problem this time by donating its strap after some cutting and melting.
Speaking of handlebar bags, I needed one. With everything packed away I had a hard time regulating food, because I had to unpack each time I wanted something. I noticed today I smelled like ammonia – I’m not getting enough carbs so my body is breaking down proteins for energy.
Tonight I crafted a handlebar bag from the case for my electronics and zip ties from the tool kit. Stiching with dental floss finished the job. I now have a small but workable handlebar bag. That removed things from storage and adds more space I desperately need. I have a few more ideas to try in the morning.
I’m camped near Miranda (which all day I kept saying in the same tone as Firefly), about 80 km from Auckland. Roads were surprisingly good. It did take three tries to find my way to the interconnect between highways 1 and 2, with access for bicycles restricted.
Notes on renting a bicycle:
While the shop did a great job with maintenance:
-No toe clips, just flats. I miss the toe clips!
-Straight (non-drop) handlebars. Fewer positions to put my hands; I’ve got a numb spot on one palm now.
-Aluminum frame. My ti/carbon frame dampened road vibration more. Lots more.
-Reversed brakes. Fortunately the weight on the back should help prevent me from flipping the bicycle.
-No front racks. I’m working around the lack of cargo space, but I disapprove of the handling characteristics without the front panniers.
-Limited gear ratio. I even recently improved my own bicycle!
-Wheels are a narrow 700×28. 700×32 I find optional, and usually err towards 700×35
-The top bar is squared off; I keep banging my knee into it.
I can now say I’ve cycled across NZ, if the short narrow way east to west. Tomorrow I head farther across the coast.
Obligatory castle photo