Today I took my first bike ride in New Zealand. Yesterday evening I had sat down in my hotel room to study the map of Auckland and plot the path into my GPS so that I would be able to find my way. But before I could go to Mount Eden I had to make one more stop in the opposite direction. I had to visit that bike shop in Quay Street once more to see if they sell me a derailleur hanger.
Here I have to ride my bike on the left side of the road. I had done that before due to some bike trips in Scotland, but never in a city as big as Auckland. But since this was a Sunday I thought the chance to be stuck in rush hour-like traffic would not be a very huge one.
Once I had left the hotel I wondered if I had made the right decision for the day. The humidity seemed high, higher than the day before even though it was only 10a.m. But not only that I also had forgotten to take my water bottle with me. Since I did not want to turn back right away, I figured to take the ride to the bike shop as a little test. If things worked out I would go to Mount Eden, if I felt it would be too hard to do so, I would have gone back to the hotel and had to come up with a different set of plans for the day.
Once at the bike shop I figured that I could afford to buy a new water bottle - as well as some electrolyte tablets that I wanted to have anyway - and they were kind enough to fill it with not only cold water but ice cubes as well. They did not have the derailleur hanger for me though, but when they saw how I had put up my pannier bag I was told that the derailleur hanger would not be a problem for me, since if I crashed my bike I would land on the pannier bags on that side anyway. To be honest I don’t think that I have fallen off of my bike on the right side yet anyway.
Now that I had my water bottle filled, I was ready to take on the ride to Mount Eden, an extinct volcano. I returned to Queen Street and made my way up the hill - not under or over, just up.
I would find my route - actually less by following my GPS or my map but more by following my memory - telling me that Mount Eden should be somewhere up to the left from where I was.
When I found that I had cycled long enough into one direction I made a turn to the left, not being very certain if I was following my GPS or not.
Somehow it was telling me to turn left when that made no sense at all. So I had to dig into my bag after all and find the map to figure out where I was and where I had to go to if I wanted to make it to Mount Eden.
Well it turned out following the road I was on for a couple more meters, then turning right and left shortly after each other I would be at the foot of Mount Eden. But by then it had really gotten warm and humid. And the climb on Mount Eden, though not the steepest one that I have ever done with my bike, was too steep for me that day. I actually had to push my bike and take some breaks here and there. By the way, if you ever want to go there by bike, the foot path that looks really nice and would stop you from blocking the road for cars and busses will unfortunately stop suddenly. So you’d better stay on the street.
But yea, I did make it onto Mount Eden with my bike! And there it was again: Sky Tower and the Skyline of Auckland.
After enjoying the view for a while and taking some photos from the top of Mount Eden, I still had to get back to my hotel. That ride turned out to be as surprising as the ride to Mount Eden. Somehow I took a wrong turn and ended once again on a suddenly-ending bike path. This time though it would end along a four lane road. Sometimes it is really good to do bike rides in foreign places on Sundays. Since there was not too much traffic I decided to take the road and make my way. The car drivers were all nice, but still I was happy when I found the next turn down from this road and onto a pedestrian's path again. The Sky Tower in sight, I knew exactly the direction I would follow for a while to make it back to my hotel.
A nice refreshing shower was waiting for me.
One day later I would once again go to Mount Eden, this time I would be sitting in the group bus with all the other participants of the tour. Actually when one of them heard that I had made that very path the other day by bike, she was stunned. And I wondered, because even though I was pretty much toast after that bike ride, due to the humidity and temperatures, I also knew this climb would be nothing compared to what was waiting for us.
But yes, my adventure has started - we’ll see where it takes me.
Here you can find more photos of my journey across the North Island of New Zealand