When winter wasn’t

Route 73When I left Christchurch I met five bicycle tourists in two days. That was six weeks ago and I haven’t seen one since. It took a tottering old man in a small-town pub to help me understand why.

“Shit bru, it’s too feckin’ cold. Ya need balls like coconuts to be paddlin’ out there.”

I wish someone had told me sooner. All this time I’ve been pedaling “out there” – around glaciers and over windswept mountains – without long pants, let alone manhood plucked from a palm tree. Had I not been so blissfully ignorant, I might have gotten hurt.

You see, I come from the Canadian prairies, where kids get early inoculations against measles, mumps and trepidation. I grew up watching people use their knees to steer vehicles around icy corners, one hand scraping snow from the windshield, the other punching an April Wine cassette into the tape deck. It wasn’t harrowing – it was our school bus.

Small wonder that all these years later I consider anything short of the apocalypse to be perfectly acceptable traveling weather. Give me warm feet and the prospect of a cold beer and I’ll happily push my bike just about anywhere.

I’m alone in this idea, of course, but really I don’t mind. New Zealand is stunning in every way, and sometimes I think the miles between fireplaces and soft faces are the best company of all.


10 responses to “When winter wasn’t

  1. sounds like you are enjoying NZ. Glad to hear you are safe. Off on my travels now. Hope you are still around when I get back.Safe travel

    • I hope so too! Enjoy your well-deserved travels and have fun on the other side of the WWOOFing coin. Miss you!

  2. From someone who also grew up in the prairies, I can relate to your description of what cold really is but my years in Asia have spoiled me! You’re right, ignorance is bliss 🙂 Well done on braving the elements, from your pictures, it appears to have been well worth it. I love the last line of your entry 😉 Safe journeys.

  3. That buffalo could easily stand in for one of the buffaloes flanking the Manitoba Legislative Building! 😉

    • Haha, I was thinking the same thing! Now I’m just waiting for someone to correct me and tell me it was actually a bison. 😉

  4. Hey Mike, good to see you made it to Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateapokaiwhenuakitanatahu on Route 52. They breed them tough on the prairies. Respect!

    • Well worth the ride, my friend. Thanks again for everything. I’m in Rotorua at the moment, heading to Auckland via Tauranga and the Coromandel coast. So much to see but so little time!

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