Dusting off the roadies - Foray into New Zealand's far north - CycleBlaze

November 30, 2022

Dusting off the roadies

I don't mean to play favourites but you just love some more than others, even while claiming that you adore them equally (fingers crossed). You know how it is.

I emerge from the bike shed with my Liv Devote, a gravel bike that I use as a roadie. Sporadically. It's been neglected since our tour of the South Island's West Coast in March.  But there is a new tour on the horizon and the Devote, my least-loved bike, hands-down, is about to see daylight again.

An 80km shakedown ride to Havelock and back along the scenic Queen Charlotte Drive confirms that gears and brakes need some attention. The lack of a granny gear makes for some miserable riding but my general lack of road riding experience also has a part to play.

Duck watching at Momorangi Bay, en route to Havelock
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I'm much happier after a second training ride with access to all gears. Now it's time to turn my thoughts to our next adventure. 

We leave the South Island , Te Wai Pounamu, in a few days for the far north of the North Island. This 10 day supported tour will see us cycle in an anti-clockwise loop north from Whangārei right up to Cape Reinga, the northermost tip of New Zealand, then make our way down the west coast to our starting point.

The national conservation agency, DOC, sums up the significance of Cape Reinga better than I can:

For Māori, Cape Reinga is the most spiritually significant place in New Zealand.

An ancient pohutukawa tree and a lonely lighthouse mark this special place. 

It is here that after death, all Māori spirits travel up the coast and over the wind-swept vista to the pohutukawa tree on the headland of Te Rerenga Wairua.  

They descend into the underworld (reinga) by sliding down a root into the sea below. The spirits then travel underwater to the Three Kings Islands where they climb out onto Ohaua, the highest point of the islands and bid their last farewell before returning to the land of their ancestors, Hawaiiki-A-Nui.

Northland is a very special part of Aotearoa,  and a region we have visited many times. I'm looking forward  to exploring it this time from a new perspective however.  The Liv may not be my favourite choice of wheels but she's fit for purpose. Come along for the ride!

Aforementioned duck family in close-up
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Scott AndersonThis is a tour on road bikes, on sealed roads? I’ll look forward to following along and seeing how it goes. We keep talking about giving NZ a second pass to see if anything much has changed in the last 30 years.
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1 year ago
Robyn RichardsTo Scott AndersonYes, Scott, though we will spend one day riding an off-road trail. Cycle tourers are much more of a presence now than 30 years ago but I'd imagine that rural NZ hasn't changed in many respects.
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1 year ago