Cromwell ๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ฟ Cromwell

Cromwell ๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ฟ Cromwell

Christmas is done ๐ŸŽ„ and Iโ€™m keen to be back on my stead ๐Ÿšดโ€โ™‚๏ธ before the New Year.

I first set about swapping my ever-faithful Schwalbe Marathon tyres for Continental Travel Contacts. These Iโ€™ve dragged all the way from the UK, so Iโ€™m dam well going to use them! Not the best idea Iโ€™ve had, just been a pain hauling the extra weight, but more importantly, the space they take up in my rear panniers (folding type). My plan ๐Ÿ™„ is to explore the lakes and mountains on them.

So here we are, a re-greased bike and new spankly tyres. Lets rock!

I set off up the Kawarau Gorge towards Queenstown, stopping about 10 kmโ€™s out of Cromwell at Goldfields panning and jet boating layup. Already the traffic on this narrow, winding road is overly excessive. Every man and his sand-fly is out this pre-New Years weekend! The traffic is just plain nuts ๐ŸŽ๏ธ Iโ€™m not feeling comfortable at all with itโ€™s proximity. I stop to take stock as to whether I carry on. Itโ€™s another 40 kmโ€™s of this to Arrowtown. Destination for the day.

Itโ€™s not always an easy thing to turn round, but one thing Iโ€™ve learnt as a pilot ๐Ÿ›ฉ๏ธ if one has any doubt, donโ€™t carry on. Itโ€™s not clever, and taking any kind of risk with two-ton vehicles squeezing past behind, at speed, plain stupid. Itโ€™s like waiting for the shark ๐Ÿฆˆ attack … you wonโ€™t know about it! Especially, when it’s holiday makers who’ll not be used to their cars/camper-vans and the road. I turn around. It feels right ๐Ÿ‘

The next day I make headway, and attempt a route over the Nevis Range โ›ฐ๏ธ The road snakes through the small village of Bannockburn. Quaint.

A small task now of climbing up the Nevis. 4WD country. So expecting my new tyres to pay back. We march on as anything is better than vehicles circling me.

A few 4 x 4 past me on the ascent. The climb is steady, but not too arduous. Iโ€™m still in the saddle, just!

A German guy catches up with me as I dispense with a bit of air from my tyres, and then promptly replace the air! Heโ€™s amazed Iโ€™m attempting the Nevis with a laden bike. Iโ€™m having my own doubts too, but donโ€™t tell the Bosch ๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช

It all then turns pear-shaped! ๐Ÿ The road (more track really) goes nearly vertical. The bicycle now becomes a true push-bike in the sense, as thatโ€™s about all I can manage. Even with good touring shoes (Gearne Vegaโ€™s) with Vibram soles, Iโ€™m slipping under the loose dirt.

After finding shelter out of the wind, I indulge in a spot of lunch. Along with taking shots of the valley below and Cromwell. I would struggle to get a tent up in this, with also the possibility of losing something to the wind, never to be seen again. I then meet my fellow German cyclist ๐Ÿšตโ€โ™‚๏ธ as heโ€™s on the way down. Heโ€™d been attempting another route from the peak back down, but said it was too windy with the cliff dropping away. Iโ€™m not even at the top. He also says the top is blanketed in dark cloud and blowing a hoolie ๐ŸŒฌ๏ธ (my words not his!)

Once again, bugger this, and I start my descent. Now, with the sheer gradient plus a weighted bike, my brake blocks and rims take a hammering. Also, my pannier racks and fittings feel like theyโ€™re going to snap with the undulation under tyre. In hindsight, not quite my best idea ๐Ÿ’ก

For once, very glad to be off the gravel and the sweet-sweet sound of bitumen. ‘Again’, a leisurely ride back to Cromwell ensues. Bliss!

The Travel Contacts were fine, but I feel my Schwalbeโ€™s, with a bit of air let out wouldโ€™ve performed better.

The Travel Contacts are 1.75 thickness compared to the Schwalbeโ€™s 1.5. With the Contacts I did notice a bit of wobble ๐Ÿ˜ฒ with weight at speed on the front. The Schwalbeโ€™s certainly hold the road better and definitely give more rigidity to the wheel with their wire rim.

The Schwalbe Marathons are duly back in their rightful place. I hope to sell the Continentals through โ€˜Trade Meโ€™ here in New Zealand (equivalent to eBay).

So where to now? Well, the next day I had an offer of nine-days work back at the The Catlins backpackers in Owaka. So there Iโ€™ll head in due course. Why? Well it seems like a plan!

Iโ€™ll NOT discuss my route, as I seem to have trouble keeping to a route plan! My cycle touring ๐Ÿšดโ€โ™‚๏ธ history is littered with it, โ€˜Cornwallโ€˜ as an example! So miles first under tyre, then yarn about it afterwards!

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