Tomorrow I’m off to Wellington, New Zealand. For the first time, I’m taking a bike with me. After spending a few days in Wellington to catch up with friends and family. Then I’ll be cycling onto the Bluebridge ferry and sailing across to Picton and the South Island. This will begin a 20 day bikepacking journey from the top to the bottom of the South Island and back. It’ll be my first attempt at bike packing/touring and the first time that I’ve done anything longer than an overnighter. I’m a little lost as to what to expect. I’ve been training in Melbourne but I know the conditions here are tame compared to the wind and steep climbs in New Zealand. Do I have the juice to get through 2,000km of tough terrain? We’ll see soon enough!
I got interested in bikepacking a couple of years when I was staying in a hostel in Almaty, Khazakstan. I met a couple of Belgian guys cycling from Almaty back to Brussels and another French couple cycling to Japan. I thought I was pretty adventurous even coming to Khazakstan but the sheer awesomeness of what these folks were doing blew me away. “This is something I have to try”, so I set about planning.
Today I disassembled my bike and packed it into a cardboard bike box along with one of the side pannier, tent, mattress, sleeping bag, stove, and bike repair equipment. I picked up the free cardboard box from a bike store down the road a few weeks ago. Altogether it weighs about 10kg and will go onto the plane has oversize luggage. The other side pannier will come with me as carry-on and it just has some clothes and a few gadgets (an iPhone, Kindle and spare battery). It’s really no different from what I’d pack for a long hike.
Once I arrive in Wellington I’ll find a quiet spot to unpack the bike, screw it back together again, hook on the bags and cycle to my room in the city. I’m staying at Katharine Jermyn Hall, which is student accommodation that the University rents it out over the holidays. It’s way cheaper than all the overpriced hotels in Wellington and more comfortable than a dorm in a backpackers. They even have a garage with bike cages.
As I said, it’s my first time taking a bike on a plane and I’m hoping it’ll all work out as planned. I’ll let you know tomorrow. From Wellington.