Astrid flying home and me meeting cyclists

The weather was kind of shitty when we went to the airport. The check-in didn’t go too smooth, as we first got the answer that you didn’t need a box for the bicycle, and later they told us you would. Lucky enough, there were two guys who had just arrived who had a bicycle box. I think their plan was to save it, but they had time to get a new one and gave us theirs.

The airplane was delayed, as many others. It was  pretty close that all went to hell; the airplane Astrid would fly with was the last to land at the airport. As the clouds were really low and the weather shitty those small airplanes couldn’t land, and all the other airplanes were redirected to other airports.

After knowing Astrid had gone through the gate, I biked to the city to have a fika with someone I chatted a bit with earlier. It was nice and well-needed at the moment, and I didn’t feel like stressing about the kilometres, as I was a bit behind schedule anyway.

It was northerly winds, and strong ones, giving me a good push. Maybe too good, as I was passing cars in my bicycle lane, and the traffic went real slow. Someone was turning left, looking for an entrance to a company, and I didn’t have time to react, which made me bump into him in pretty high speed. The bag took most of the hit, and I wasn’t even sore anywhere; I felt a little above my right hip, but nothing more. He didn’t drive away at least, and not really feeling there were anything more to do than checking my gear, I told him to take a better look next time (I had a high visibility vest and helmet) and started biking again. Later I saw I had a 0.5 centimetre rip in my bag, but nothing I really cared about. All the gear inside was okay!

I made a stop at a bicycle shop I passed by, as I have wanted a mirror for my right side as well, but haven’t been able to find one so far. They had an actually good one, and I felt it was a bit expensive, but after using it for a while I know it was a really good investment! I also stopped to refill food, and when I came out again it started to rain a little. I continued. 

Even though I had started as late as 15.30 I had already done 45 kilometres, much thanks to the wind helping me push a bit. I did meet another bicycle tourer on the way, a guy from Quebec, Canada, who was going the other way. He had strong headwind but aimed at 160 kilometres; he had less than two weeks to go from Invercargill to Picton, so he was biking a lot. His gear was sparse, probably only what he really needed.

In Wakefield I decided to try and hitchhike instead of stressing trying to cover enough kilometres the next coming days. I gave it 20 minutes, but after about 10 I decided to go a few hundred metres down the road, as there were people turning in an intersection and coming out of it as well, and I could cover more from the other position. While biking there I saw a car waving to me; they had seen me, and had a trailer, but needed to turn around. Easy as usual! They were going to Murchison, which would shave off about 100 kilometres, and save me a day. The rain started pouring down as well, and the road wasn’t too wide, so it seemed like I had chosen the right thing to do.

When checking for places to stay at I saw there was a Warmshowers host about 16 kilometres after Murchison. He had built a small camping which was free for people using Warmshowers, but they didn’t have any coverage out there, and had written you could just appear and hope for the best. That’s exactly what I did, and they were home!

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After pitching my tent I borrowed the shower to get clean, but more importantly, to get warmer. Everything I was wearing was pretty wet, and my 15 year old rain gear don’t really have it anymore.

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On my last bicycle trip I had stayed at a place right before Andorra, which probably was the coolest home I had stayed at through Warmshowers. This place reminded me of it so much; outdoor shower, just a small indoor home, and a nice view!

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The evening was really nice, I cooked my dinner any we spent the rest of the evening talking about everything; my transition, how peoples prejudice affect their views of other people regarding gender, if it would be a good or bad idea to let robots do all the jobs no one wants to do and have a standard salary for everyone, making work optional, and lots more. I went to bed too late, but totally worth it.

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I slept in a bit longer than usual, and fixed a few things on the bicycle before I left. A had put the mirror down on the fork, but I didn’t see enough, and put it on the right side of the handlebar, which would be a much better position. I also put my extra rear light on my helmet, so I would be more visible in the dark, or when it was raining.

Some of the spots I passed by were really cool, and I stopped to take pictures at a few of them. It looks like they’ll have to do something in the future, or the road will disappear!

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I was starting to think of lunch, but though It could to ten kilometres more, to have less in the afternoon. When ascending a hill I saw two people with bicycles sitting and making food at the resting area, and of course I couldn’t miss the chance to speak with them! Every time I have seen bicycle people, but not stopped to speak with them, I have grieved afterwards. It is usually when I have a good speed and don’t really have time to think, and suddenly the chance is gone. Now, they couldn’t flee, though!

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They were two polish people who had been out for the last two years. They had actually met the Swedish girl, Fredrika Ek, who is biking around the world! They had even met her twice, but missed her this time, as she had already left. I had been biking in the same country as her without even knowing!

While we were sitting there a new friend of theirs, from Switzerland, biked by and said hi as well. She seemed to be a bit in a hurry though, and soon continued. They also told me about a German who was living in France, who I would probably meet later as I was biking faster. So many bicycle tourers on the south island!

As their money was running out, New Zealand would be their last country before flying home. I do think their plan was to save up and get out again, though.

When I arrived in Westport, which would be my destination for the day, the bicycle computer turned over to 10000 kilometres! That is 1 690 kilometres done home while commuting, and a total of 8 310 kilometres done touring! Hopefully I’ll reach another 0 in not too many years.

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I decided to celebrate this and make it comfortable for, and for the first time this trip I paid to sleep indoors. I also bought a bottle of wine and a quarter kilo of chocolate to have after dinner. At the backpackers I stay at there were two more people in my room, and one of them had been bicycle touring bit around Europe!

The evening was really relaxed, with a long, hot shower, kind off nice dinner, a good chocolate desert, some wine and Lord of The Rings: The Two Towers! As usual, I went to bed too late.

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