January 30, 2002 - An Inauspicious Start

I got off to an inauspicious start this morning. I was able to fit everything onto the trailer Monday, but didn't take it for a spin. When I left this morning the bike was extremely heavy in the back and the steering was really unbalanced. By the time I got up to the top of the hill from Rocky Bay, I decided to go back and jettison some weight somehow. It was really wobbly going down hill as well. As I was going up Marine's driveway, which is very steep, the front wheel came off the ground and the weight of the trailer pulled the bike over.

Marine hauled out a scale and it turned out that I has 65 lbs in the trailer. I've re-thought my travel plans and will stay in backpacker hostels primarily. I managed to jettison enough stuff, mostly extra clothes and some of my camping gear to get the trailer weight down to 35 lbs.

When I went for a trial ride, it turned out that I had badly bent the front wheel in the fall, so I'm off to a cycle shop in Auckland to get it repaired. Hopefully, they will be able to repair it and I can make my train this evening. They said they could when I called. Like a I said, an inauspicious start.

I was able to get the wheel trued at Adventure Cycles, which is now on Customs Street, not Fort Lane (as in their web site). It was only NZ$5.00. Other than that the day was sort of wasted. I was unable to upload the pictures to my site for inclusion in the log, an ftp problem of some sort.

I stopped at the old train station, now student accomodations, on my way to the train. It turns out that they have a cheap student cafe in the lobby. I got dinner for NZ$7.50 (just a little over $3 US).

The train is kind of funky, It is only three passenger cars, a baggage car and a single engine. There are no overhead racks, so everything except small items such as my daypack had to go in the baggage car. I grabbed my toilet kit, wind jacket and a water bottle before they packed away the bike and trailer.

One of the cars. not mine, thank goodness, contains a big group of young guys heading off to the national park. The train gets in there at 2am. I wonder where they go at 2am? As I was sitting on the platform waiting, this young German woman asked if this was the right platform for the train. She was heading for the South Island in full backpacker gear, a giant pack, which seemed larger than my trailer bag, plus a smaller pack, but larger than my computer backpack, carried backwards over the chest. I don't see how one can get around like that, but I saw many backpackers, mostly women, similarly attired in Auckland. The guys seem to only have the giant pack. Young guys must be much less concerned with accoutrements.

Updated: 16 March 2002