Otago Rail Trail--March 20-24, 2006

Can I really bicycle 150k??

I decided for the next part of the trip that I needed to get some exercise and that I should do something off the beaten path. I had read about the Otago Rail Trail and did some more inquiring and decided it was not to be missed. The Otago Rail Trail is a 150k long trail that was an old railroad. It has now been converted to be used for walkers, runners, bicycles, and horses. People can use any or all of it. A lot of people bicycle it in 3 or 4 days depending on your fitness level. I opted for the 3 day trip and arranged for accommodation at each stop along the way. I set off on an overcast day and set off to do the first 60k.

As you can see I traveled with all my gear with me. The bike rental included the rental of panniers to carry my belongings. I didn't really need to take much with me. A change of clothes, toiletries, rain jacket (which I never needed!) and snacks. There were cafés and pubs to stop every so often so to have a bite to eat or a cup of coffee.

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A Big thank you!

As I started the trail I took a few pictures and then went on my way. After about 15k I stopped to take another picture and realized that my camera was not in my bag. I had forgotten to put it in my bag before I rode off the after I took the last picture and it had fallen off onto the trail. After swearing a lot I set back off in the direction I came in search of my camera. I was afraid that I would have to go back 10k or so which did not bode well for my first day of riding. After about 500m I came across a couple (Cary and Stuart) from Christchurch and asked if they had found a camera and luckily they had and had put it in there pack in hopes of finding the owner.

After many thank yous we set off and wound up cycling together for the entire trip. It was nice to have someone to travel with and to keep me encouraged to keep on going. Not having cycled in a while and never that far before I was pretty sore and my knees were reminding me of how old I really am and it was nice to have others to talk to along the way.

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The trip took 3 days in all. Two days were about 60k each with the third day being about 30k. I spent a lot of time counting sheep and cows and deer and more sheep. The trail was very scenic, following a river for most of the trip and then through the hills and tunnels and over bridges from the old railway days.

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