January 31 - A Day In Auckland
It was raining when we woke up after a good night's sleep. Being 21 hours ahead of Pacific time is like a three hour time change except that we are a day ahead of home. Jet lag is not a major issue than trips to Europe. In any case, we expected rain and it was refreshing considering the draught conditions on the West Coast.
We decided to have breakfast at our hotel. The continental breakfast was enough for me. I had juice, cereal, breads, coffee and yoghurt. Ann settled on scrambled eggs on toast along with her coffee. We went back to our room until 10:00 when it was time to take my bicycle case down to the lobby. This was the rendezvous spot to load a courier van to transport all of our cases to Queenstown, our tour destination.
BAC New Zealand - 2015
By the time that the van was loaded, the rain had disappeared and the streets were getting dry. I decided to put on my cycling gear to do a short shakedown ride to make sure that I reassembled by bicycle correctly. I rode down the hill in front of our hotel and took a right when I got to the water. I cycled a few short miles along the beach. I started out on a rough bike path but soon jumped onto the street where it was smoother. I watched several serious cyclists hammering up the road before I knew it would be safe and legal. Drivers are very courteous and leave lots of space when passing.
My ride went past several small districts with shops and cafés serving to full houses. On the beach side of the road, there were lots of people strolling but few people in the water. It was lots cooler than yesterday and a little breezy.
I turned around and headed back, catching some good views of the city. I rode past my turn back to the hotel so that I could visit the local bicycle shop and see the main waterfront area of the city. The bike shop was large with lots of upscale bicycles and accessories and friendly clerks. They were very interested in my S&S coupled bike which they had never seen before. I saw Bob Barrows and Michael Blake at the shop. Michael's Richie breakaway bicycle also caught their attention.
I rode down the road a little farther to reach the old ferry building and the cruise port. The Sea Princess was at the dock.
I turned around and found my way back to the hotel. Riding on the left side of the road is not so difficult if you concentrate all of the time.
After I showered, Ann and I went to a small cafe down the street called Rosie. We heard good things about it from some of our group. It is very popular so we had to wait for a table. Were we're glad that we waited because the food was delicious and the staff was super friendly. I had hot chocolate with salted caramel along with an omelet with smoked fish with a caper sauce. Ann had a watermelon mango drink along with brisket on a toasted ciabatta bun with bread and butter pickles.
Our first meeting for the trip was at 5:00. Everyone had arrived and was there. John Gradwell, our ride director, went over all of the introductory subjects. He passed out really nice cycling jerseys to us. We introduced ourselves. The co-leader, David Williams from New Zealand, and our driver, Asbjorn Pettersson from Australia, made remarks. Then we filed out to a banquet room where we had a decent buffet dinner.