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First World Problems

First World Problems

We currently share a house with my very inspiring brother-in-law. He is 84, and right now he is training for a South Island bike trip he has signed up for. In general he is one of the more positive people I have ever met, but he is also given to being glass-half-empty on certain subjects.

The weather, for example. Most mornings we retire to our corners and browse the news over coffee. I will say “nice day!”. He will invariably respond with something along the lines of “yeah, but there are showers forecast for this afternoon”.

Today we were in complete agreement. Try as I might to find a decent forecast, they all said we will get varying degrees of crap for the next week. I spotted a brief respite next Tuesday, but the site my bro was looking at said yeah, nah, rain.

Yesterday afternoon was pretty good, and I should have gone for a ride, but like an idiot I stayed in and paid bills. Now it looks like bike riding is off the menu unless I harden up, which seems unlikely.

Still, I can always look out the window and recall sun drenched rides like the two I had last weekend.

We had a tentative go at acting like summer was loaded properly, and went glamping in our little caravan. Lazed around, went for rides, and read an entire book in one gulp, which is the best way to read a book. Picking a book of the correct length for the time away can be a challenge, but this time I nailed it.

We parked up next the start of the Great Lake Trail, a network of pleasant enough trail along the northern reaches of Lake Taupo.

The trail is not challenging, but it is scenic, and does go a long way. It is possible to get about 70 kilometres out of it, and that includes passing through a little town twice. Which means ice cream, or coffee, or a selection of other fuels.

The only thing that can be a negative is the popularity of the thing, coupled with it’s dual use, two-way setup. Walkers, runners, and a phenomenally varied range of bikers can use the trail, and all of it can be used in any direction.

I had many pleasant encounters, a couple of scary ones, and one that went like this:

Steaming along a flattish section, the trail well camouflaged with foliage, I met a large German coming the other way at speed. We both threw out the anchors in time to avoid a collision, stopped with front wheels almost side-by-side, and both fell over into the aforementioned foliage, landing almost face-to-face.

It has been said that Germans have a strange sense of humour, or even none at all, but this one could see the funny side of the situation.

I was just glad to have been paying attention, and glad that the German was too.

You know how it is, expect the best but be prepared for the Wurst.

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