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Day 14: Waipara to Ashburton

Rakaia, New Zealand

"Well, this is the junction with Manchester Street, Claud, so do we turn right here?" Claud shakes his head. "Oh, so we turn left?" Claud shakes his head even more vigorously. "OK, so it is straight on, then?" Claud shakes his head madly and begins nodding his head, too, in the most alarming way. "Oh, my god, Claud, what's wrong with you?!". Claud clanks a few times and throws a wobbler. "I think my head is about to fall off", he squeaks.

We judder to a wobbly stop. Then, believe it or not, I look up and see Penny Sport Cycles' shop, right in front of us. Claud has broken down literally at the street junction in Christchurch which is the site of New Zealand's biggest bicycle shop! We have not actually passed a bicycle shop since we unpacked Claud in Whangerei two weeks ago. What kind of luck is that? I do not carry the large spanners needed to adjust the headset, so anywhere out in the country and this would have been a stopper, as Claud has suddenly become unrideable.

The mechanic in Penny's tightens Claud's headset - he now has his head screwed on properly and we are off again through pleasant Hagley Park and heading South down a boring stretch of Highway 1, reaching Ashburton at 7pm, our latest stopping time.

Another touring cyclist, Ray, arrives and we both jump across the barbed wire fence and the railway line, to Robbie's bistro, to have dinner and a few handles together, swapping cycling stories. Ray has a collossal load on his bike, maybe a hundred pounds. He even has a two-man tent and a folding solar panel! It all seems most odd, until he explains that he is from Calif-ornia - ahah, say no more! I show him my modest 28 pounds of equipment. "You only have one cycling shirt?!" he exclaims, "how do you manage?" "Well, I wash it each evening and it dries in about 30 mins, I explain. Ray shakes his head at this bewildering news, while anxiously fingering his portable satellite navigation console for comfort.

Ray tells me proudly that he averages ten hours cycling per day, and has once covered 100Km in a day, stopping at 10pm. He walks up nearly every hill.

No photos today, as the route is very flat and dull, except for the following one, of a very weird rainbow effect around the moon. People were standing outside their houses at 11pm, all gazing and gasping at this unique sight. Unfortunately, the picture does not capture the colours - you had to be there, I am afraid.

Distance today: 153 Km, cumulative: 1678 Km, remaining: 603 Km

permalink written by  John and Claud on January 31, 2007 from Rakaia, New Zealand
from the travel blog: Cape Reinga to Bluff
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Just make sure you go shopping for a new set of clothes before you join your fellow travellers on the flight home!!
Love wife

permalink written by  Pat Taylor on February 1, 2007

Claud! What are you doing?? Maybe he saw the cycle shop and thought a break down would be a nice excuse for a break from his punishing schedule!!

permalink written by  Claud Sympathiser on February 1, 2007

pops! oh well the story of claudes fated break down reminds me of our New Zealand dilemma in which our car broke down and we got a flat tyre-just outside of a tyre shop! such luck! see New Zealand is a lovely lovely country. well youre doing so well, I´m very proud and glad you seem to be making companions along the way. looking forward to seeing the infamous ´john Taylor ribs´don´t think ive ever seen them before! although upset my favourite game of poking your podgy belly seems to be all over. keep it up JT and remember, don´t be shy with the deodorant! great photos. love daughter x x x x

permalink written by  daughter on February 2, 2007

poor old claud sounds like youre running him into the ground. had me laughing wen reading about the dramatic american, atleast hes ventured out of his country, shows hes one of the ones that actually has a passport.
great photos dad, but im left clueless as to how u take some of them, especially the ones where u are cruising on the road...surely these are staged????
glad everything is going so well and the body seems to be coping with it all easily! sounds like u will need another challenge after this.
very jealous dad and proud ur doing so well...
much love

permalink written by  weasel-bee on February 2, 2007

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