Up at a reasonable time today, but I am excited. I finally get my bike back, but not until 3PM. Do the usual morning stuff, do some packing, and head off toward downtown Auckland for some lunch and to trade in some novels as I've finished the last two. I get a Discovery Pass, which allows me full travel on any ferry, train, or bus in the city (other than the ferries going to the various islands around Auckland). It's only NZ$13, a sweet deal for everything I would be using it for.
I also met an Australian cyclist who introduced himself as Mad Max. He is 59 years old and is a marathon river kayaker (competing in the international Masters race in 6 month's time in Australia). He is a total kick-in-the-pants. Says that long-distance river kayaking is about 60% legs, which allows him to jump straight into cycling without having to pass the training stage first.
He is riding an 80's era steel bike that he found on the side of the road. He put some new components on it and it works great for his two-week cycling escapades. He is finishing his trip, as his plane is leaving tomorrow for Australia again.
Very fun guy to talk to, and it is a very enjoyable morning spent discussing just about everything.
Mel Gibson has NOTHING on the real Mad Max. He is depicted in the above photo without the typical radioactive ruin and destruction.
I end up making it to the North Shore Avanti dealer right at 3PM, and the bike is indeed ready. The total price? Less than expected, but still steep - NZ$1600. Ouch. On the plus side, though. . .
. . . I have a bike now with some flash. The frame is upgraded from the "comp" model to the "pro" model, which I am sure gives me an additional 15mph or so. At least, it LOOKS like it's faster, what with it being Ferrari red.
I'M BACK, BABY!!
Ride the bike down to the ferry terminal (about 7 miles) and hop on.
Coca-Cola owes me for this shot.
The new bike, settling in with its new, tiny friends on the ferry.
Hop on the train from downtown Auckland, and it is only the $1 fee to take it all the way to Manakau City - just 30 minute ride (bus is 60 min).
Talk some more to Max. He mentions that, back in the '70s, he was in the US and was brought in to one of the bodybuilding championships that starred, who else, Arnold himself. He was trained in the poses, and stepped out on stage - lily-white and tiny - as a joke in the middle of the competition. I want you to go check out the picture of Mad Max above one more time with this story in mind. Made Arnold laugh, and he ended out the day hanging out with Arnold and the rest of the massive crowd. Says he was a really genuine guy. Go Arnie.
I spend the last of my evening packing, then crash around 11PM. Tomorrow, I am off, finally.