Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Bicycling New Zealand: part 1 - Auckland

Ralph the ginger Tomcat is curled up inside my cardboard bike box, discarded in the sunny gravel driveway out here in Auckland.  You can see his feet in this photo.  Aims and I have decided to assemble the bicycles today, a beautiful morning on our second full day in New Zealand.  

What an amazing country so far!  I can't even begin to describe how wonderful our hosts Toby and Vic have been.  We were met at the airport by Vic, big smile on her face, waving a colorful sign declaring "MoZo!" as we wheeled out of customs.  We felt so cool!  Neither of us have ever been met with a sign at an airport before.

We've spent a lively few days meeting a bunch of musicians ("musos"), having great jams. Some nice mashups of trad tunes with Aims' snare backbeat gave me a few ideas.  I've been practicing my Maori pronunciations, though everyone here seems to have a slightly different accent, so it takes a bit to get it right.  Vic has been phenomenal in pointing out all the traditional names for every mountain, valley, plant, animal, you name it!

Auckland reminds me quite a bit of Seattle and the NW.  Beautiful, liberal and environmentally friendly. Mountains and oceans and bush all rolled together in one little area.  We took a spin through the Waitakere range to the west coast beaches and ended up in a huge cave.  Apparently the super fine, soft black sand has been slowly filling it up for the last couple hundred years, and the cave floor is now buried about 22ft below.   We hear tell it used to be a European community center, and that there is a kauri (a coniferous tree) dance floor under there!  Imagine that huge cave with an additional 20 feet of ceiling space...amazing!  We sat around playing a bit of music, the acoustics were so sweet.

First show of the tour is Wednesday night, got to get our sets together.  First up though, is a ride through the hills today, past Titirangi.  We've got to get our legs in shape after all this sitting around! Ralph disagrees, stretches his legs, and seems to say he'll meet us back at the house.


  1. Oh yeah... give us more when you got it. Love reading this!

  2. I went out to my garage and looked at my bike today...

    It's the first step in a world wide bicycle tour.

    I should pump up the tires...