Monday, 14 March 2011

Christchurch and Cycling Day One

Well it's been a while, we've been away from technology. We left Kaikoura for Christchurch with a bit of trepidation as to what we would find, the bus actually stopped to watch a pod of dolphins along the way, it doesn't happen on the way into town! We got to Christchurch, it was a hot day with the apparently notorious wind blowing into the city from the mountains and it was hellish. The bus could not get to it's replacement stop as the street had been closed while an unstable building was demolished so we arrived on a street next to the cordon for the closed CBD with the wind blowing dust from the demolition site right into us. Outside the city you wouldn't have known anything had happened, apart from a few bits of liquifaction the buildings all looked OK, as you got nearer there were chimneys down and the road was having more repairs and then actually in the centre (or as near as you get) it was like some scenes from a war zone.

We made our way eventually to the Antarctic Centre near the airport to be collected by Andy from Natural High, this seemed a fab place where all the various countries set out to do their research expeditions in the Antarctic, all sorts of weird vehicles to see and stuff. We were very kindly put up by Andy and Kay from the bike hire company at their family home in Lincoln about 15km outside of the city (the house was like something off Grand Designs and there was bedding and towels and everything!).

After a late start we set off on the bikes the next day with a bit of a wobble, it's been a while since we rode bikes with panniers, all seemed to be going grand until we turned into the winds which we had encountered the previous day. The roads on the Canterbury Plains are unbelievably long and straight, many kilometres in just one direction; with the wind basically blowing you backwards and the soon obsessional counting of telegraph poles it was a long day. About 3pm we eventually arrived at the first sign of civilisation since 11 that morning, Hororata and it's very welcome cafe. After a refreshing break we set off again on the hideous straight roads until we reached the campsite st Rakaia Gorge, we would have stayed here for the night, shower or not, but we had no food having no opportunity to shop anywhere, on again therefore to Methven. This could have been the end of our cycle adventure as there was a long uphill to endure but the mission was saved by an 11km freewheel into town and pizza for tea.

Only one photo as the whole day was so depressing and long!

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