“It’s never too late to become a cyclist…” – Guest blogger

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May 9, 2013 2

Another guest blogger! Today’s blog comes from my friend and Aunt Chris who lives in NZ. She only took up cycling a few years ago and she just completed 600 kms in seven days in the tour of NZ which was held in late April. She was also the fastest female in the 60+ age category (as well as the only woman of her age mad enough o take on the challenge!). She is living proof that it’s never too late to start cycling.

If you would like to share your cycling adventures overseas or even your everyday travels – email me! info@bikegal.com with a photo of you and your bike. Tell us why you ride, where you like to ride.

Now… over to our guest blogger Chris…

When I bought my road bike 4 years ago the manual sternly warned of all sorts of ways you could injure or kill yourself if you didn’t follow the instructions (no doubt to protect against law suits).   It didn’t tell you about an even greater danger; cycle addiction.

My name is Chris, and yes, I have become one of those addicts.  Starting with pleasant 20km rides in 2009 I progressed inexorably on to harder stuff (think, the 160km Lake Taupo Challenge) (Editor’s note – a gruelling kiwi ride).   I cycled over mountain passes in China, and cruised around the temples of Myanmar.

Last week I went mainline, cycling the length of the North Island of New Zealand  – 600 plus kilometres in 7 days – as part of the Tour of NZ challenge.   Ho hum, you may say, if you are a fellow addict.   But I should add that I am 63 years old and I think that makes it quite an achievement.

Tour of NZ – our route – from top to bottom

It was a great adventure.   If I didn’t already realise how hilly New Zealand was, I certainly know it now.  We rode some very beautiful country roads although my interest in the scenery did falter from time to time.    The wind was mostly from behind which was a great help since the event proved very much a race rather than a tour.  We had mixed weather: torrential rain in Northland, very cool temperatures on the central plateau, and strong headwinds on the final day.

Nikki and I tackling one of the mega hills with gusto!

I was thrilled to finish the fastest female veteran in the 60 plus category.   The achievement is perhaps a little less magnificent than it might seem… I was also the only woman in that age group.  Nikki, who came over from Sydney to ride with me, won the 50-59 category.

Some stretching after day one

Some of the beautiful scenery along the way through Waipoua Forest

And it wasn’t all sunshine!

There were only about 50 of us on the ride so it was easy to get to know everyone, and they were a very friendly, helpful bunch.  Nikki and I had a lot of fun with Francine, a French Canadian woman who is travelling alone around New Zealand on her bike.

Left to Right, me, Nikki and Francine all rugged up in what Nikki called our “slow clothes”. Our attire always differentiated us from the gun riders who seemed to go out in all weathers wearing just their light cycle tops.

I am not writing this to brag, but to show that it is never too late to become a cyclist and enjoy the benefits that come with it; fitness; camaraderie and a chance to see the world differently.  You can enjoy all this, whether you choose to ride for fun or decide to take it more seriously.  It might seem hard work at first but stick with it and you will find it very rewarding.

If you do enjoy wind, rain and lots of hills then perhaps you would come over for the next Tour of NZ in 2015 (www.tourofnewzealand.co.nz).

Given the nature of addiction, I do worry about where mine will end….. has anyone cycled up Everest yet?

  • May 10, 2013 at 4:54 am, Ginni said:

    You are a BLOODY LEGEND Chris! What a fantastic achievement and I am suitably proud of you! What a great thing to do. I hope I can be following in your footsteps and completing crazy, mad endeavours such as this when I am post 60. Good on you and I loved reading your guest blog and checking out the photo’s Ginni xx


  • May 20, 2013 at 12:30 am, Rachael said:

    Total legend – so impressive



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