The Greater San Fransisco Area

Continuing my quest to travel the world.

It has been my quest to cycle around the world for a very long time, although I have ticked off 16 countries to date, I still haven't achieved the ultimate goal of cycling the world. I cannot wait any longer for the conditions to be perfect, age is catching up with me, so it is now or never.

picture drawn by Jim my Step - Father on our trip across Australia

picture drawn by Jim my Step - Father on our trip across Australia
After our trip to Vietnam in 2012.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Cycling couple


Niel and I

Some people like to be solitary, there's a big difference between being solitary and completely alone. Niel and I are not social butterflies, we like being by ourselves, however we don't like to be alone. The Guinness race requires the riders be alone for 90% of the event. I am not allowed to accompany Niel on my Vespa, for him to be a legitimate candidate for the race. I offered to stay at home, so that he'd be on equal footing as the rest of the competitors. He didn't want that, we are a partnership. We always will be. As I said : the couple that cycles together, stays together. So  yes I'm cycling.

Am I cycling the Guinness race? As tempted as I may be to get the first female world record, no, I'm not. Are we cycling around the world? Well, sort of.

As a couple, we have already cycled over 55,000 kms in 15 countries and 3 different geographical Continents. Now we want to finish the other continents [less Antarctica - which is impossible].It's our goal to have cycled all 7 of the 8 continents, and that's achievable using a round the world airline ticket, and getting off and on Planes to fulfill our goal. The result would be an achievement to be proud of. And that's the crux of all this - being proud of each other.

We weren't the only ones enjoying a brilliant Spring day

Kaiteriteri Beach

On our 100 km ride today, out to the beautiful Kaiteriteri beach, we opened up about how proud we were of each other.That mutual pride creates a strong bond.

 I loveVespa riding. And to my Vespa loving followers, I'm sorry to disappoint you for not circumnavigating the globe. Frankly the whole Vespa thing was getting completely out of hand. Did you know it costs over NZ$14,000 just to get a Carnet, which is an international vehicle passport? I knew the freighting charges would cost a lot, but the red tape was a major challenge, Did you know that some countries won't allow you ot use your own vehicle without a special permit, other countries won't allow you to use  your own vehicle - you have to hire one of theirs, and that doesn't even cover the problems crossing Borders. Did you know that to put a motorbike on a plane, you need a 'Dangerous Goods licence' - because of the battery, and fuel / oil tanks. I won't go on, but you get the picture.

The other issues for our change of plans, was being away for so long. 6 months is a long time to be away, And our poor old house desperately needs some attention,  which the reduced costs should now allow.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Polar blast

I had to go to the hospital this week - nothing drastic - just 'girl stuff' that guys don't want to know about. I had to be there by 8 am. The Hospital is 25 kms away. So there I was Vespa- ing at 7.30 in the morning in a hard frost. I swear my hands were on the edge of frost bite. They were so cold, I was slapping my leg as I rode along, trying to regain feeling in them. Yes I was using leather motorcycling gloves. When I arrived, I couldn't take the key out of the ignition, or get my helmet off. A combination  of no feeling and acute pain.

We've had our 2nd Polar Blast for the winter. Apparently it was straight from the South Pole and was a 50 year Meteorological event. Actually we didn't get much snow in Nelson, not like the last time, but it was a great deal colder this time. My bike computer froze and hasn't gone since, even the cooking oil in the kitchen froze. Nelson got off pretty lightly compared to the rest of the country . They even had snow in Auckland - the largest Polynesian city in the world,  where the winters are usually so mild, a lot of people don't have heaters.
Fresh Snow on the Mountains.

It was with this Polar breeze and the Snow on the hills, that I Vespa-ed in the hard frost into town. One more amendment to my 'what to take list'. Light woollen gloves to wear under my leather ones. After all it could be very cold in Kazakhstan in April.

Coming home from the Hospital, it was warm and sunny and perfect Vespa weather. I took all the back roads home, just so that I could prolong the pleasure of the ride. It's amazing the difference the temperature makes to the enjoyment of riding, whether it's a Horse , Bicycle, or Vespa.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

I've realised how different I am.

I didn't realise quite how different I am to other women. Sure I do a lot of exercise compared to other women especially 50 year old women, but really I love eating , so I'm sure I'm only doing enough exercise to stay healthy. 200 kms cycling, 10 kms running and 2 gym sessions a  week sounds like a good balance, but I've still managed to put on weight over winter, so maybe it's not enough.

 With this in mind I've decided I'd like to do the "Round Lake Taupo" bike race at the end of November. 160 kms of non - stop hills. I need a goal to train for. I've need to burn off those winter kilos, but more than that, I need a point to my exercise. Now that I'm over 50, I've entered a new age bracket. It's good to see other women doing the same thing - it makes me feel normal, and gives me hope for the health of people in society, where the norm is a sedentary lifestyle.

Niel and went off on our favourite circuit, 105 kms around the back blocks of the Tasman district, the views were spectacular with snow covered mountains and green growth. There were warnings of Ice on the roads, and there was ice on the gravel bits in the shade, but that just made the gravel more solid, so a great day was had by all!

Niel with Mt Arthur behind.

Ice warning

This week there was a late night radio poll on how many children people should have. Well that immediately got my back up. The world's population has trebled in our lifetime. What gives humans the right to keep having kids, just because they can? The world's resources are already stretched to the limit. There's not enough food and water, there's not enough jobs and everyone is addicted to cars, which are destroying the atmosphere and making them fat, and using astounding amounts of petrol that have caused wars to ensure they don't run out. I give credit to the Chinese and their 1 child policy. The world owes them a lot of gratitude. Yet no wants to talk about this because their so emotional about kids. I'm one of 5 siblings, only 2 of them have had kids, my lady boss hasn't had kids, and the majority of my friends don't have kids. It's a growing trend. I didn't think I was particularly different by choosing to go childless, and being thankful for it. But when I mentioned it on the talk back radio - I've been abused. I also realised that there are two sort of women - those that live for their children, and those that live their own lives, and neither understands the other.

I've just had a vision of the women on the talk back radio  Vespa - ing around the world. The vision was so far retched - I burst out laughing.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Brilliant Ride

Picton is 130 kms from Nelson. It's a small town with a busy Marina and Port in the Marlborough Sounds at the top of the South Island of New Zealand. It's where the Ferry from the North Island docks.

The beautiful Marlborough Sounds

Rob, our long lost Nephew, was meeting us there, the ideal chance for Niel to start his training and for me to re-acquaint myself with Vespa riding on the open road. Riding through the Marlborough Sounds is one of the best rides you will find anywhere . Very few cars use that road, as it's too twisty and up and down and nausea inducing, [they use an alternative route,] but on a bike or scooter it's fantastic. The weather was perfect, not a cloud in the sky and not a breathe of wind. In Summer it's busy with cycle tourists and camper vans on the tourist trail, but in late winter - it was so quiet only 2 cars passed us, simply brilliant.

Being late winter there was frost on the shady corners, which the council had laid grit on. This was a bit dicey on the Vespa, so I took it slowly and carefully. I had given Niel a 2 hour head start and was astonished that he had done 100 kms before I caught him. I went on after a food stop, got to our Motel in Picton, took our bags inside and 10 Min's later he turned up, I envy his fitness.

It was awesome to catch up with Rob, and with another spectacular day, we headed back through the Sounds again towards Nelson once more.[ Rob joined us for the first bit before heading back to the ferry].

Niel and Rob leaving Picton

I realised a few things in the ride. Firstly - having not ridden on the open road since autumn, I'd forgotten how atrocious New Zealand drivers are, particularly concerning scooters. All the car drivers see is a scooter that must be passed.  I was thinking that if you had traffic police on scooters that could radio ahead to a patrol car, they could get all their yearly quota for traffics offences in one week. I'm convinced that NZ drivers are the most intolerant and inpatient drivers in the world. I've decided to make a study of it on our big trip, I'd love to be proven wrong.

I've also realised how cold it gets on the Vespa when it's not high summer. A lot of our trip next year will be decidedly unsummery, so I'll need some decent Motorbiking trousers and boots, and I've definitely added a hot water bottle to the 'what to take ' list. This list needs constant refining. If I add something to it, then something else needs to come off it. i don't have and unlimited amount of space.

With views like this, Vespa riding is pure pleasure.