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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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West Coast Welcome

DAY 16

We woke this morning to the sound of a trapper heading up into the forest to clear his possum traps.

It was a good thing, as we have had a few late starts and today we really needed to get to Reefton to some accomodation we had booked and to do washing again (it’s one of those annoying things you can’t actually do that easily when you are bikepacking and arrive late like we always seem to).

The trapper casually mentioned that there was rain coming. He may have used some quite strong language when describing the rain which led us to think that it might be worth leaving the jackets out because coasters usually know a thing or two about rain.

So off we went, into the drizzle, thinking that maybe (hopefully) our trapper friend was wrong and this drizzle was as bad as the rain would get.

We stopped in Murchison for 2nd breakfast (of course). We had a conversation with some tourists about our bikes. And we bought some snacks, but not lunch, because lunch would be in Maruia in a few hours time.

Then we proceeded to ride the back road to Maruia over Maruia Saddle. We passed some cheery road workers. We climbed gradually up the Matakitaki River valley on seal, then gravel. We climbed and descended, crossed bridges, passed bush.

We turned off onto Maruia Saddle Road and climbed some more, and passed through beautiful native beech forest. Eventually we got to the saddle and ate the last of our snacks. At about 3 pm. Our optimistic timeframe estimates are really getting the better of us...

Next was a coffee in Maruia, then a chocolate milk in Springs Junction at about 5:30. My parents arrived with precooked homemade lasagne just as we were leaving, so we sent them ahead of us to ensure it was hot when we arrived in Reefton. And it was only one small climb and then down hill all the way to Reefton. But .. in the rain.

somehow this doesn't quite capture the moistness

We stopped for 2 min to high-five and celebrate 2000 km on the hairpin corner 5 km down the road, and got to the top just as the rain started in earnest .. and every km we went, the rain came down harder.

And then, Eric disappeared. We waited and waited. In the rain.

He didn’t come down the road, so we rode back up the road to look for him. In the rain.

Eventually we came across Eric riding down the road - he had blown another tyre. In the rain.

But he had fixed it now, so all we had to do was ride down to Reefton. In the rain.

We arrived in the dark - you guessed it - in the rain .. and wetter than a fish.

But all's well that ends well, and hot homemade lasagne makes short work of bad memories so it turns out it was another brilliant day completed!

(Thanks Mum and Dad!!)

Key stats:

Total Elevation gain: 1345 m

Distance: 134 km

Time spent on bikes: 7 hours 23 minutes

Max speed: 58.3 kph

Calories burnt: 3972

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