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*on Raleigh 20s.
A Raleigh Rally, if you will.

because why wouldn't you? New Zealand is so little and Raleigh 20's are known for their all terrain capability, their craftsmanship and their copious amount of luggage carrying capacity ..

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We’re two friends who have worked together and ridden mountain bikes together for a number of years.

Without any particular experience in endurance events or very much forethought, with a relaxed training regime and a lot of optimism, we’re riding the Tour Aotearoa on our Raleigh 20 bicycles.
But aren’t they kids bikes, you ask? Well, umm .. who knows, really. (We'll keep you posted ..!)

​Starting at Cape Reinga at 7am on 17 Feb, we aim to make our way 3000km all the way south to Bluff without breaking down emotionally, physically, or mechanically. (We're on the road now, you can track where we are here!)

We’re raising money for Christchurch City Mission, a charity that does incredible work for underprivileged people in Christchurch. If you’d like to support us and make our insanity worthwhile, please give generously to City Mission here.

Thanks to those who have helped make this possible- our families for tolerating our silliness, Bevan at Frontal Lobe for helping with set up, our employers for allowing us time off but who probably won’t miss us, and you, for reading this blog.

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Bells to smells, via a hill

DAY 22

Lake Hawea from the dam

Today was another great day (although I think we’ve been saying that about them all). We were fed and sent on our way by our hosts (thanks again Geoff and Maureen!) and after a short but perilous descent down a very steep driveway that required the foot brake in addition to full squeeze on the levers, we hopped on the Hawea-Wanaka cycle trail and rode on towards Wanaka and (you guessed it!) second breakfast.

This is another nice fast easy trail, especially with a decent tail wind. It is also widely used so staying in control is paramount. Luckily our Raleighs have excellent geometry for easy handling and when loaded up with all our gear they have the kind of handling that bike manufacturers have been trying to replicate since, well, the 70s I guess. It’s the stuff of dreams. Lovely dreams of course.

we didn’t realise but this was a photo checkpoint - lucky I’m obsessed with bridges

We made it to Wanaka without incident. We saw some people who recognised us from much earlier in our ride way up north in Paeroa and stopped to chat about the trip (NZ is a very small place); and I took the advice of the lady on the West Coast Wilderness Train and used my bell to warn people.

probably best of the trip, but definitely not best value

Now just so you all know, a bell is a happy notification that a cyclist is approaching. It isn’t urgent, or impatient, it isn’t intended to startle, and it doesn’t need you to do anything if you don’t want to, especially if there is already space to get past. Some people don’t realise this so I'm terribly sorry to the lady who was pushed into the ditch by her partner when I rang my bell 50 m away and the trail was 4 m wide. I could have got by easily, but thanks for moving anyway.

We had Eggs Benedict again in Wanaka.

Then we rode to Cardrona Hotel and over the Crown Range. If you like riding up hills (believe or not these people exist 🙋🏼‍♂️) then this is a brilliant climb.

We had been warned by Geoff that the ride isn’t over when you get to the top, even though you can see Queenstown, but it looked so close.... so we naturally discarded the warning and assumed we were nearly there.

that’s Queenstown just over the back there
and Arrowtown

After a decent rest we carried on. But what is 30 km of easy downhill and flat riding on the road, is 50 kms of downhill, level, downhill, level, uphill, downhill, level, up, down, level, up, down, level, gradual climb, down, level, up, down, level, and up by the TA route.

It’s a nice trail, but we definitely should have listened to Geoff. The cycle trails to Queenstown are well used and busy so the bell was put to use again keeping the trail adequately warned about our approach.

another bridge, this one is *historical* and crosses the Shotover River

In Queenstown we stayed in a dorm room and really have to apologise to the other occupants: the window was unceremoniously thrown wide open by them around 10 seconds after we walked into the room - a sure sign we needed a shower. We took the hint, showered, and had a large pizza each for dinner.

Key stats:

Elevation gain: 1326 m

Distance: 112 km

Time spent on bikes: 6 hours 10 minutes

Max speed: 55.1 kph

Calories burnt: 4696

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