In a world increasingly preoccupied with throwaway materialistic things; where people are constantly busy earning money to pay for those things, or so their children can have those things;
This is the story of my dreams of travelling the world by bicycle. Because it's there. And because I dont want to die without experiencing the truly important things in life .

A sense of wonder and a sense of adventure.

Saturday, 30 June 2012

Painting , Pumping, but Ultimately Cycling.

The water stopped coming out of the shower rose last week.  Unfortunately for me I was under it at the time having a final soap down. For townies when this happens it’s either the councils fault or they haven’t paid their water rates. For us at Potters –End it can be the result of one of a number of reasons. The most expensive cause being  because some knob has let the water tank run dry and the water pump is pumping air and  about to have a meltdown. If this has not already happened. Time is of the essence in situations like this so I throw on my rags from the bathroom floor and dash out of the house to the sound of Adi calmly informing me that there’s no water coming out of the kitchen tap.

Other causes of a lack of water in the past have been;

1.       That the neighbours cows have been drinking so much that we, being last in line, have not received a drop until the sun goes down (9pm in the summer)

2.       That the orchard on the other side has been irrigating to such an extent that our well has been sucked dry. (They have a deeper well)

3.       A cat fight in the pump house. Nobody there to own up but plenty of ginger fur. And one of the little varmits managed to pull the plug on his way out.

4.       A rat stuck in the outlet. This is a particularly distasteful way to run out of water and mentally challenging since you’re never sure how long you’ve been savouring rodent enriched water.

I reached the pump, checked it, and had to report back that it was a partial meltdown and bearing failure due most likely to old age. In other words it was dead, coput, stuffed and a cheap handyman fix was not an option. Adi’s response was “Can I put a load of washing on?”

“Go on then. Maybe the laws of physics don’t apply in this case. While you’re at it could you bake up another pump .But be sure to take it out of the oven before it’s too dry.”
O' goody a new water pump.

A new pump was the only option. I would have liked to buy an Italian one. After all they not only now how to make a styli bicycle but also grow pretty juicy tomatoes there so must know a thing or two about pumping water. But in the end I opted for another Davey pump as the last one had served us well and although the pump place reckoned it’s stuffed I’m betting that if Andy the bike engineer can get it apart for me I can put some new bearings and a seal kit in it. Davey pumps are made in Aussie and you’d have to wonder how they got any expertise in pumping water when they don’t have any? (Probably got the skills from fighting forest fires I suppose).

Its mid-winter here at the moment and although I continue to cycle every day to get about I am trying to concentrate on home maintenance. Currently I am trying to paint the roof and simply cannot fit in a 100km ride and paint. This time of the year there is a window of painting opportunity between noon and 2pm when the roof temperature is above 12C and painting is possible. When the weathers not good enough for painting I don’t feel inspired to do any cycle circuits. Funds for home maintenance are limited to about $50 per week so the amount of work that can be done is limited. So as the daylight hours increase I’ll be able to fit in more long rides.

The cycleway to Potters-end continues towards completion with the opening day for the next section this Sunday. I tried the new suspension bridge yesterday. It’s not finished yet and has no sides but the decking is in so I was onto it! After clambering over all the tape and danger keep off signs I was away.  It was awesome and I can’t wait to tackle it legally at speed.
A Bit Nippy in the Villa  Last Night.

The temperature in my bedroom last night was 4.8C! That’s a record.  Bloody freezing. I wonder what the World Health Organisation would think of that. Just as well I’ve got a good pair of thermal tights and a hottie. I really don’t give a dam because in 7 weeks I will be in Hanoi with Adi and bicycle. Adi’s got seven weeks to re-train her legs after the operations she’s had and I’ve got seven weeks to get my head around a couple of months of cycling Southeast Asia in the wet season. Mudguards and a good saddle cover might be the go.

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Work. And a New Route There.

I’ve given up waiting for my job offer to come through from Brooks England or Mercian cycles. I’ve dropped a few hints here and there. I’ve casually mentioned that I have a British passport and am flexible on working hours as long as there’s a proper balance of free time for cycling versus hours behind the counter. The letter box is still empty. It must be the tough economic climate in the UK. God knows I’d be making sacrifices. There would be no way I could take Bob or Woo with me. Bob’s already cost $4000 at the vet so extra quarantine fees would be out of the question. Woo couldn’t handle the English winter and Adi wouldn’t go without Bob. So it would have to be just the Mercian and I.

It’s just as well then that Mike from Avanti Plus in Nelson got in touch just as I was wondering where I was going to get the money from for my next set of tyres. Or more correctly Adi’s next set of tyres. As she gets the new ones and I get to carry on using her old ones until I can see the canvas. There’s something satisfying in riding them right down to the fabric even if you do have to fix a puncture a day. (Adi doesn’t however see it this way. She’s so extravagant.) It was good of Mike to offer me my old job back as its winter and the bike shop can happily run without me. Things got a little complicated for a week or so as I had worked the odd day or so at Village cycles in Richmond the town closest to home. I’d gone in there to see the guys and Jim had said that I could stand behind the counter and sell stuff to his customers now and again if I liked. So I did this. I got to know the guys, found a hook that my bike looked good hanging from , and then Mike rang . I felt like a bike shop whore. I’m lucky enough to get on with most of the bike shop guys in the region so it came down to the fact that I had recently bought a swag of Avanti clothing on special which would have been outlawed at Village Cycles. And there was the small issue of 7 weeks cycling in Southeast Asia that I will be doing in August that Mike knows about and I hadn’t quite got around to discussing with Jim yet.
Can We Help You Sir?

So here I am again, an extremely part-time bike shop guy. All money earned will go towards cycling adventures, starting as I’ve said with Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore.

I’m extremely excited at the moment about my bike ride home along the new cycleway. For once it seems that the ridiculous amount of rates that I pay is actually going to benefit me! The contractors are building the cycleway bridges across the river that separates my place from town. I will have two different ways home each along it’s own cycleway complete with swing bridges. Adi tells me to keep calm about this but I can’t. Unlike the cycle ferry idea further alone the cycleway west which I poo pooed a year ago, these bridges look the part. I’m going to cycle the 25kms into town along the coastal track and then come home via the old railway route.

As you can see from the photo the main supports are in and painted a lovely Mercian blue. They may as well be building these bridges for me as I think I’ll get the most use out of them. I can’t wait to ride over them in a spring flood! I am a little concerned at the right angle approach to the bridge. I imagine they are putting corners into the approach to test and improve my technical skills, but I want to hit the approach at full speed and I’m sure my roadie friends would agree.
What, For Me!

I’m conscious of the fact that I haven’t written much on my blog of late but this will change as I re adjust to home life and urban cycling again. I will have 12 weeks of winter city cycling and then if all goes to plan Adi and I will be away cycling Southeast Asia for 7 weeks.  We plan to do this in August and September. I don’t want to leave it any longer because the bike shop will need me in spring and also my Vietnam visa will expire.
Got to go know, I'm posting this at the public library and the librarian is hunting me down for the $2 I owe them. Last week when I took a book out they advised me that this fine was now overdue for a considerable period and it was luck that they weren't charging interest. I told them to do their worst. And think that they have spotted me lurking behind the travel section. I find I can rarely make a fast getaway as the computer before logging off has to download  20 or so useless updates from Microsoft.