NZ Day 20 – Spoke broken, wheel tilted

Aiming to reach Kaikoura today, I start early with my morale very high. The feeling of 擔泥 (Translation: pulling mud up to the hill) is gone and I ride a lot faster than yesterday. On the way I meet another cyclist from Holland, Uncle Dutch cycled many places in South America, Asia and Europe, obviously very experienced. He stops on the way and points to a tree, it is full of apples. We both pick a lot because we just can’t buy it in supermarket, it is too expensive. He tells me in France and Spain there are many walnut trees that you can freely pick and eat!

I ride with him until Cheviot, but on the way, the strange sound coming from my bike really annoys me. I think there is still some problem in the rear break, but instead, one of the spoke of the rear wheel is broken, making the whole wheel tilted and it keeps rubbing the break and the body of the bike. Uncle Dutch tries his best to fix it, but he recommends me to repair the spoke in a bike shop because he doesn’t have the tool to do that. Then I also try to adjust the break so that it won’t rub the tire, but due to the deviation of the whole wheel, the break doesn’t work in some part of the tire circumference, while rub the other parts. There is no bike shop in Cheviot, and only a sport shop in Kaikoura, there are 3 bike shops in Blenheim. After I tune the break, the situation becomes worse. I can see when the wheel turns, the break follows the movement. Having no idea of how to fix it, I give up and put my thumb up.

When there is real problem of my bike, usually I can get a lift rather quickly, this time a blood donation car stops. The driver (I call him Mr. Kiwi) gets off the car and has a look of the problem, he takes out the rear wheel and quickly locates another problem, something is missing in the axis of the wheel (I don’t know the exact name of that component). It could be last time when they install the new discs, they forgot to put it back. Mr. Kiwi is going to Picton so he can take me to Blenheim. That will be nice, haha.

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Although I miss Kaikoura, the seal’s colony, it is not a big regret for me. I saw a lot of seals in Hong Kong Ocean Park when I was young, I know it is different, still I am not very keen on seeing them, and they are not endangered. But if you have extra money, you can join a helicopter ride to see whales in Kaikoura. Watching the biggest sea animal swimming can be very inspiring for many people! I will leave it as a regret of not doing it this time. Mr Kiwi is so nice to bring me up a lookout to have a bird eyed view of Kaikoura surrounded both sides by the sea. At least I have been to Kaikoura, he says.

I really want to donate blood but Mr. Kiwi tells me they don’t accept donation from foreigners. I used to donate 3 or 4 times every year when I was in Hong Kong, but since I travel, I didn’t have the chance. There are 2 reasons to donate blood regularly: to help people in need; and refresh your own blood. Red blood cells (RBC) have around 120 days lifespan, the old ones degenerate and your bone marrow reproduce new one. If you donate less than 10% (350mL for female, 450mL for male among 5-6L generally in human body) blood, it doesn’t harm your body, instead it creates a signal to your marrow to create new RBCs immediately. That’s why I always support blood donation!

We arrive Blenheim after 3 hours drive, and reach this bike shop.

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The technician is so nice and honest that he fixes my wheel for just $10. Then Mr. Kiwi still helps me to put the wheel back and adjust the break. Thanks him so much! Now my bike is perfect again, no sounds, breaks work well, effective chain…

I still have 2 days to be spent in this region, before I take the ferry from Picton to Wellington, but I am now only 28km from Picton…I don’t want to be stuck in Blenheim for 2 days, I will think about it tomorrow. Let’s find a place to sleep first, I always like to camp near a church because there is less chance that Christian kicks you out from their place, as Jesus said we have to take care of the homeless! Honestly, if all the campers follow these 3 rules, nobody will reject you:

  1. Don’t leave any rubbish when you go.
  2. Don’t start fire.
  3. Don’t pee or shit anywhere. Go to public toilets.

Good luck!!

Greta Valley to Cheviot 40km
Cheviot to Blenheim (got a lift) around 200km

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