Cycle touring in Otago the hard way

The mission has been to creat a testing type adventure down in Otago, with bikes , “Bob”our bike trailer , Barb my intrepid cycle buddy and our new Hilleberg tent , a very special tent ( Swedish ? ) . A tent we think ideally suited to a couple who want to engage in serious long distance cycle touring . Our mission statement is to test out all equipment , including ourselves and see if we could ( in theory ) commit to a long distance long time frame cycle tour in Europe , Putin willing .

The the end of this trip we will book for a 2 month cycle tour in France into Germany , Holland if we pass the test . Has to work for both of us and this trip will help us answer the question .

Hilleberg tent ( in Ranfurly )

It’s an interesting very roomy tent that allows one to have space to store all the kit without compromising the sleeping area . Too heavy to tramp with , but with Bob , anything’s possible . Our friends Carl and Rose are also proud Hilleberg owners and maybe … maybe they will join us in our EU ambitions .

We parked up at Cromwell then had a prequel day on the testy trail from Cromwell to Clyde ( covered in a recent vid ) NOT FULLY LOADED .

It was a challenging ride for us both ,particularly Barb who has not been indulging in any recent bike riding , so cycling fitness not so good. This amazing rides had a couple of longer climbs that require some muscle work . As the ride progressed Barb started to “ tank out “ complaining that she was riding on empty .

Coffee stop on Lake Dunstan

Was a strenuous day and Barb did a bit of bike pushing up the steepest hills and confessed to using a bunch of swear words ( very unusual ) I waited at the top of the big hills and she had this frustrated look on her face that made me attempt to guess her train of thought . My 2 guesses below .

“ I wish I could trade this bloke in for an older ( slower ) guy

OR ,

I wish I was riding one of these e-bikes ( that kept whizzing by)

OK — the second thought more probable .

Packing up our bikes in Alex

Our approach has been to load up my bike to slow me down a bit and keep Barb with a more conservation load to make it a more “ even “ effort .

We parked in in Alex and loaded up all the gear as we headed down the Otago Rail Trail. But a small problem emerged from left field .

Barbs front hydraulic brake on her bike seems a little flaky , spongy and weak so I had a quick play without the right gear and in fairly short order complete stuffed it so that it was 100% inoperative… damn

What to do ?? We had committed to an early departure and now this problem . I briefly engaged Barb with the proposition that “one good brake “ should be ok. I lost that short debate in very short order so our new plan was an early diversion to town to get it fixed at a bike shop .

Fortunately the bike shop was able to service the brake by 10 am ( lost 2 hours ) , get it into some semblance of relative function , not fantastic but now it does function.

We departed Alexandra at about 10 am into light showers but not cold .

Barb and I had a bet about how many cyclists we would encounter on our ride to Lauder .. she won but the number was modest at only about 10 . Mostly couples on nice E bikes , cycling close together like “ fused at the hip “ close . Not the way Barbs and I do this . Mostly she was well ahead and in indulged in playing the “ catch that chick “ game .

She did very well . We stopped at Chatto Creek for coffee then a pie at Omakau for lunch then just another 7 kms to Lauder for our destination . Free camping close to the old Lauder rail Station

CHATTO Creek coffee stop
Free campsite at Lauder

Day 3 was Lauder to Ranfurly with a coffee stop at the historic Hayes engineering establishment.

Photo opp
Ranfurly Station

So here we are at Ranfurly and we have declared a “ 48 hour BUM STOP “

A day off to allow sensitive tissues around the “ sit bones “ to adjust to the regime of long days bike riding . The campground here at Ranfurly is very comfortable .


  1. Wonderful to read your latest adventure Bruce on Bob and Barb on ….B? Betty! Gorgeous NZ. Thinking of your poor north island flood victims. We are still in recovery from our big one last year in the NSW northern rivers.
    All the best for your prep for the EU trip. Best regards Roz n Dean

      • We moved back to Ballina – home of the Kimberley Kruiser before Covid hit fortunately. Enabled us to support elderly mother and family through that time. Having the big flood last year has made life interesting and busy as we along with the region repair homes etc. Living in the driveway in a caravan that is sizable but not so towable. So we are looking forward to delivery of a new KK so we can enjoy some mini escapes when we need to take a break.

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