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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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Preface: Yes, we know, we've been home for a month now, and have only just got around to posting this. Our excuse is a combination of things ranging from being slack, to getting home and re-acclimatising to normal life, then having to go back to work, then having to go home to work from home...

DAY 24

Today we rode from Mossburn to Bluff;

like we said- straight...

the end of the road!

It was a good days riding- we left ‘early-ish’ (8:15 is early, right?), and thankfully the headwind and rain from yesterday

had completely disappeared. For our first 50km, we averaged an unheard of 25kph. The roads were straight and not the most interesting, but they averaged downhill, so we didn’t complain.

cheese and bread! who would have thought?!

We rode most of the day with Kip, another cyclist who we’d started with, but hadn’t seen since the Whanganui River. We made a slight detour to Dipton for a quick pie and made the locals feel pretty uncomfortable with our lycra (the sideways ?looks?). Kip is Australian, so when we stopped next in Winton for elevensies, we had the privilege of introducing him to the Southland Cheese Roll. He was amazed.

Actually it was quite some time before he stopped singing its praises: it is in an entirely different league to the humble cheese toastie! Just out of Invercargill we saw a bull who had clearly been doing too much CrossFit. He could be the ‘Southland local’ that we needed for our photo checkpoint.

this guy .. has too much spare time

As we passed through Invercargill we were cheered on by some locals. We didn't even know these people but they had been following our journey since somewhere up north and had taken a few hours off work in the afternoon especially to meet us, cheer us on, and give some finish line drinks to put in the Esky. Thanks!!

Then we rode on to Bluff. It was a strange mixture of relief, happiness, satisfaction, nonchalance and fatigue that we felt on arrival. We didn’t even attempt the lift-your-bike-above-your-head victory pose because a) the Raleighs are way too heavy, and b) too much cycling means we have weak T-Rex arms.


Today’s stats:

Elevation gain: 174 m (phew!)

Distance: 139 km

Time spent on bikes: 6 hours 11 minutes

Max speed: 38.5 kph

Calories burnt: 5137

Now that we’ve finished, here’s our Oscars speech:

We would like to thank, in no particular order:

Everyone who has donated to City Mission on our behalf. Thank you so much for your generosity! If you haven’t, please do so- They do awesome work for people who really need it in Christchurch. We are immensely privileged to have been able to take time off work and ride the length of NZ, and we are really keen to try and help people who don’t have the options that we have.

Dan, for riding with us, being the chef and camp dad and waking us every morning, we would have let you feature more in the blog if you'd just ridden a Raleigh 20....

Dan's friends Dave and Alicia in Helensville- for providing us beds and hospitality, even though they had a new baby.

Jeremy's Aunty Steph who met us in Helensville- it was really nice to share dinner and not just talk about cycling!

Ken for directions in Auckland- good luck for the 2022 Tour Aotearoa

Rae and David, and Fraser, Bevin, Ollie, Caleb (and Micah- hope the broken leg is healing!) - thanks for the visit in Matamata, and all the food- home cooked food is waaay better than bought muesli bars, and we fought over your biscuits the next day..

Israel and Sarah- thanks for the amazing roast dinner, your hospitality, breakfast and putting up with us half a day as we put off leaving!

June in Apiti, for the fresh cheese scones, and all the butter.

Eric’s Mom and Dad, thanks for feeding us so extravagantly on day 11, and all your messages of support.

AirBNB owners in Featherston- it was a great little place, and thanks for doing our washing.

Sherwyn and Noel for your hospitality in Picton- for dinner, beds, and breakfast, all at quite short notice- thanks!

Arnie and Nick for looking after us in Nelson, for dinner, laundry, and beds.

Dave, thanks very much for watching our tracker instead of working, and for giving us access to you hunting hut- it truly was one of the highlight places we stayed the whole tour!

Jeremy’s mum and dad- for making the effort to drive for literally hours just to see us and provide us with such fantastic lasagne, and for all your regular messages of support.

Ikamatua publican- for such well priced, clean accomodation and excellent food.

Reefton bike shop- for the excellent service, the Raleigh 20 enthusiasm, and the free tyre!

Jason, the TA rider, for paying it forward on a tyre at Reefton- Eric got a decent rear tyre that lasted the rest of the tour- thanks!

Trail angels on the Big River Trail- it’s pretty cool to come across random buckets of treats hanging from a tree in the middle of nowhere- thanks!

Tom, for giving us access to your bach at Lake Kaniere- what an amazing spot- thanks very much!

The owner of the backpackers in Haast who did our washing for us while we went to get dinner- now that is good service!

Geoff and Maureen- thanks so much for the random call; it was right when we needed it. Thanks for going out of your way to look after us so well in Hawea!

Mossburn Hotel staff- for your hospitality, good food, great atmosphere- another tour highlight!

Paul and Austin, for riding with us to Bluff, for taking the bikes back to Invercargill, and Paul for the transport and beds- thanks!

Thanks also to the Kennett brothers for all of their work in organising this event- it must be a mammoth job, and (despite Polson Hill in Palmerston North!) we appreciate it.

All of the other cyclists we rode with, chatted with, shared stories with at various points along the way. The camaraderie amongst cyclists was one of the real highlights of the tour.

To the people back home:

To Mel, thanks for your support, for organising us accommodation when we needed it, and for the amazing job of looking after everything while Eric was away. Elisa, Theo and Emma, for supporting your dad in his daft ideas.

To Lydia, for putting up with all Jeremy's video calls and watering the indoor plants...

To Michelle, for letting Dan come and cook 2 minute noodles and brew coffee for us.

To all of the people who have given us messages of support along the way- all of the texts, calls, random encouraging conversations. If we didn’t reply or weren’t very communicative, it wasn’t because we didn’t appreciate it, it was probably because we were tired!

To all of the people who have watched our tracker, looked at our photos, or read our blog: thanks, and we hope we provided some entertainment, even if you didn’t get the catastrophic bike failure some of you were probably expecting...!

And finally, the key-est of key stats:

Total riding distance: 2911 km (total distance 3,015km incl ferries)

Total elevation gained: 29,363 m

Total riding time: 171 hours 30 min

Maximum speed achieved: 78.5 km/h

Total elapsed time: 23 days, 9 hours, 35 minutes

Total calories burnt each: 130,000

Total weight lost: 14kg (combined)

Mechanical issues: 1 broken spoke, 2 broken mudguards (fixed with zip ties), 4 tyres destroyed (2 sidewalls shredded, 1 worn out, 1 popped), 6 punctures

Muesli bars eaten: 192 (combined)

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