By Peter on May 4, 2009 10:55 AM | | Comments (0)

I went for a 250 km bike ride from Christchurch to Greymouth. The main problem was that I decided to do it just as winter was setting in on the South Island. It rained and rained and rained. I had to hitch hike the second leg of the first day because I didn't have proper rain gear and was freezing. To be honest, I probably wouldn't have made it up the side of the mountain just based on my general dislike of riding up hills (let alone mountains). So, it was lucky for me that a British family on vacation agreed to put my bike in the back of their RV. The windows were foggy and every time we got out of the RV to take a picture I quickly remembered that my shoes were soaked and I had an outdoor time average of about 15 seconds. We made it to Arthur's pass (halfway across the island and where I planned to stay for the night) and I jumped out and thanked them for the ride.

The next morning I woke up and it was still raining/sleeting and I decided that if I didn't ride it... I would regret it later on. Especially, while staring out a foggy window of a bus again. So, I bought some more rain stuff and wrapped my feet in plastic bags. I looked like a deflated lifeboat raft, but I was warm. The 100 km ride from Arthur's pass was almost all down hill (terrifyingly so at some points... a spoke broke on my front tire while I was going down a 16% decline). I changed my first flat in the rain. Never went down again. I was pretty proud of that. That night, I stayed in Blackball at the Blackball Hilton... or actually now it's called "formally" The Blackball Hilton because the "Legit" Hilton threatened to sue, I suppose. Seems like they generally save the "formerly" for the rare occasion that a threatening business suit dude strolls in. I was the only guest (unless there were some others sneaking around). I had a huge dinner, 5 pints of beer, an enormous breakfast in the morning, and slept there. The bill only came to 63 dollars. Obviously, worth trying out.

The next day I took the Tranzalpine train from Greymouth all the way back through the mountains to Christchurch. It was one of the more stunning things I have seen. Specifically, because it was the first sunny day I had the entire week. I was able to see the summits of all the giants that had been lingering in the fog the day before. I got back to Christchurch. Watched rugby and drank beer with my friend's dad. Flew back the next day.