500 KMS CYCLE TOUR ROUND THE EAST CAPE IN 6 DAYS !

5 semi-experienced cycle tourers + 5 more or less experienced cyclesses sacrificed their relaxing summer holiday this year to venture into the rugged hills and amazing coastal scenery of NZ’s East Cape. The trip was a bit of a challenge to complete in such a limited time, but so far we’re all still talking to each other.

Day 1 – Gisborne to Matawai (27/12/08) – 70kms mostly uphill – 1 flat tyre, 1 warm summer’s day

After parking the cars in what thankfully turned out to be a safe neighbourhood, the punters were keen to begin the adventure, and a steady pace set in but was interrupted soon after for morning tea! This was shortly followed by the first flattie, but then a good run until lunch before the big hills started.

Mittagspause_

It probably wasn’t quite as bad as expected, though there were a few sore muscles and some very hungry people…

Day 2 – Matawai to Opotiki (28/12/08) – 70kms mostly downhill – 1 flattie, 3 broken spokes, 2 mislaid items

We split into 2 groups today, with 4 punters keen to tackle the mtb route on the unsealed Old Motu Coach Road, and the other 6 preferring the easy sealed ride following the windy scenic road downhill along the river.

Waioeka gorge_

This proved to be the wise choice for 2 unsuspecting punters who each suffered a broken wheel spoke.

Day 3 – Opotiki to Whanarua Bay (29/12/08) – 85kms coastal views – 1 flattie, 1 VERY BIG storm!!

Mein Radl_

The plan was to leave at 8am due to this being our longest day, but the boys luckily hung back to buy some spare wheel spokes when the sports shop opened, and to visit the coffee shop ! Though it wasn’t long before they caught up and we all re-grouped for lunch at a lovely coastal spot before the big storm hit later in the afternoon, which thankfully mostly rained itself out all night. This day was particularly scenic along the coast.

Day 4 – Whanarua Bay to Hicks Bay (30/12/08) – 65kms easy day – 1 flat, 2 broken spokes, friendly locals

Some of us were not so keen as others (who obviously desperately wanted a real cafe coffee!) to leave this gorgeous piece of paradise and go back up the hill to the road, but again we all re-grouped for lunch…at a cafe…though unfortunately for some the locals couldn’t understand the modern concept of a moccacino…

Holzkirche Raukokore_Waihau Bay_Day 5 – Hicks Bay to Tokomaru Bay (31/12/08) – 100kms hard slog – 2 flatties, 1 spoke, 1 VERY hot day

Felsen bei Mels Place_

Again, some of us were not so keen as others to leave our lovely little spot by the beach, and the group split up a bit today, mainly due to technical difficulties and the need to rest in the EXTREME heat. It was a very long day for some of us, and we supported the locals by purchasing numerous cold drinks and iceblocks!

Ab jetzt nur noch bergab nach Tokomaru Bay_Day 6 – Tokomaru Bay to Gisborne (2/1/09) – 100kms home run – 4 spokes down, 1 very helpful passer-by

After resting on new year’s day, the punters were rearing to get out again, one before the crack of dawn ! (to avoid the heat).

Tokomaru Bay_Morgenstimmung kurz nach Toko Bay_

But we all rode down the infamous Tolaga Bay Wharf, and had a long stop at a beach before Gisborne. While the last few kms of lovely scenic coastline seemed to go on forever with the increase in traffic, road glass & wind, we all finally finished our loop round the Coast ! & headed to the pub of course….

Ich am Pouawa Beach_PUNTERS:

1 Fabulous Trip Organiser Victoria McGregor
1 Old Motu Coach Rd mtb chick Lynda Bushe
1 Fast hill climber/beer carrier Richard Mansfield
1 Team Ortlieb Red Express Pete B & Uli N
1 Very competitive cyclist Erik Vanderspek
1 Hot windstopper/masseur Maarten Ruiter
1 Very funky music chick Natalie Child
1 Wheel spoke supplier Jake Brown
1 Wheel spoke destroyer Sharleen Grounds (author of this report)

“We all highly recommend this amazing trip, though perhaps over a slightly longer period of time to allow more sight-seeing and resting of tired muscles!”