Days 5 - 6: Christchurch to Geraldine ... - From Ship Cove to Milford Sound: the length of the South Island the hard way - CycleBlaze

March 10, 2023 to March 11, 2023

Days 5 - 6: Christchurch to Geraldine ...

...taking it easy, briefly

Well overdue for an easier day, Bruce enjoyed a sleep-in before getting back on the bike for a leisurely pedal to see friends in the city for morning tea and then headed west to good friends in semi-rural West Melton.  (He had also met up with our younger son for dinner last night.) Dawn and (her) Bruce had been following (my) Bruce's little yellow tag on MAProgress since the start of his journey and were excited to welcome him.

An afternoon of couch, catch-ups and cups of tea was just what the doctor ordered. Dawn and Bruce had thought carefully about nutrition and made sure my Bruce was well fed and watered during his overnight stay. Thank you, lovely people!

The following morning, though, he had to get back to business.

"West Melton to Geraldine . . .

"This was about making the most of  (nearly) flat terrain and an occasional tail wind to get to new country to ride in. 

"Having left West Melton with Dawn’s excellent honey sandwiches, it was a nervous 10 km down State Highway 73 before turning off onto the backroads. Some were asphalt, often just shingle. I spent some time watching the flight of a hot air balloon against a clear blue sky. 

Hot air balloon ...another way to travel
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"It was a gradual 1 to 2 % climb (false flat) all the way to Rakaia Gorge. Just before the Gorge I got big smiles from two bike-packers going the other way at at twice my speed, for it was slightly downhill for them and the wind was in their favour. 

"Having driven over the Rakaia Gorge bridge a number of times on the way to Mt Hutt skifield, I knew there would be one steep, prolonged climb in the day. It registered 15% at one point. Then there was a fantastic 3 km where the gradient was perfect to maintain 30 km/hr without pedalling. 

Lots of straight roads today, often gravel
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"On to Staveley. There are some fantastic cafes throughout rural New  Zealand and the Staveley Store café  is right up there. I also noticed the small, well-maintained churches in a number of townships I passed through today.

Unadorned Presbyterian church, Staveley. Once, each community had its own small church. But there are not many as well-maintained as this one.
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All Saints, Ruapuna
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"On approaching Geraldine, I was taken off the road onto the local and very bumpy mountain bike track alongside the Waihi River for 5 km . 

"It was a relief to arrive at Four Peaks motel and to be well looked after by its proprietor, John."

Reward for another long day!
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Today's ride: 182 km (113 miles)
Total: 690 km (428 miles)

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