Thursday, January 29, 2009

1/28/2009 - Nelson is Sunny, After All

An excellent morning for sleeping in as my bike is being worked on. I make it as long as 8:30AM, even though my sleeping pad has deflated completely. This has been a fairly recent development, but an irksome one. The chiropractic positions my back was forced into by the under-tent root this morning was not, I think, officially used by any chiropractor other than a sadistic one.

It is a relaxing morning. I don't have to be at the bike shop until noon. It's a very nice day, not clear blue skies but broken clouds. After breakfast, I wander down the mile and a half to the downtown, just to check it out more fully.

Like I mentioned, Nelson seems to radiate "happy" and "bustling" in a quaint way. I can't explain it much better than this - it is clean, well-kempt, has nifty brick crosswalks, and there are lots of people milling around. A plethora of accents adorn the air. Part of the street is blocked off completely for cars, and a guy belt out some reggae with his electric guitar at higher decibel levels than are probably necessary. This clashes style-wise with the two guys pounding out a beautiful, haunting sort of oil drum style instrument just two blocks away. It is leisurely.

IMGP1493.JPGDowntown Nelson. Somehow, I have cleverly managed to make this bustling town look ghost-town deserted. The actual cool vibe goes for multiple blocks in every direction.

IMGP1491.JPGRandomly come across the local tug-or-war championships in the street. After all, it is Wednesday.

I head to the I-Site to see what, if anything, I am missing. As it turns out, the good beaches are a ways away, so I can't work on my Welsh tan (as I like to call it, freckle pointillism). There are any number of full and half day cruises around the bay, but I am not ready to drop the cash - I'll be bicycling up toward some of those destinations anyway.

I wander back to the bike shop. The wheel has been replaced, no problems. I sell my old wheel for NZ$50, no doubt less than it's worth, but a lot more than I thought I would get. Excellent. Roll down on the bike and lock it up to wander the town some more.

IMGP1489.JPGThe old wheel with the broken spoke duct-taped to the next spoke.

IMGP1488.JPGAnd the new heavy-duty wheel (emphasis on the "heavy"), now making this bike approximately 80% new. This trip has been hard on it.

As it happens, the One Ring from the Lord of the Rings was made here in Nelson by one of the jewelers. That just demands a stop. The store itself is tiny, but definitely lets you know that their jewelry was worn by the glamourous people, meaning, apparently, hobbits.

IMGP1495.JPGA replica ring is definitely for sale (So much for "one ring to rule them all"). This particular version of the One Ring was apparently sized for a guy with a serious pituitary disorder. I could probably turn this into a choker collar.

IMGP1494.JPGThey also were selling lots more gaudy jewelry that loudly declares, with distinctive quality, "I probably still live with my mom".

IMGP1492.JPGAn incredible find - the ABBA gift book, "Your Favorite Group!" If you are a twenty through forty-something who thinks you are a dancing queen. This book store was pretty incredible, though. They seemed to live by the motto, "If it's in your grandmother's attic, it's probably here." Nothing like learning Tai-Chi from a book where the guy on the front cover rolls with a mullet. From 1965.

Head back and grab some lunch, read the paper (New Zealand is having a bit of a spat with Fiji right now), and hop on the bike. Have to grab some food for dinner.

I make it about two blocks when the rear tire explodes. Luckily, I am only three or four blocks from the bike shop, and so carry it there for them to figure out (as they put it together and pumped up the tube).

The guy that was working on the wheel is still in the learning stage, and had forgotten to put the inner tape around the inside of the hub, which led to the tube being pushed through the little holes for the spokes and causing the blowout. The tube is not repairable, which is too bad as it was my last puncture-resistant one. They replace it free with a "slime" one (just as good as puncture-resistant, the slime on the inside of the tire seals any small punctures). As the new guy pumps it up, it, too, explodes in a shower of green goo.

"That's the second one I've had do that today," he comments ruefully. "I've still got tinnitus from the first one."

Alas, that is the last tube that has any puncture-resistant ability that they have in stock. He puts a regular tube in instead. Everything is ready to go when I notice that he has put the tire on backwards (it is meant to rotate in only one direction). Looking as deflated as the recent tire and with green goo still decorating his face and shirt, he starts over again, and this time all is well.

To make it up to me, they give me a free bike evaluation (to check that the geometries are set up properly for touring) - the guy who does this is very knowledgeable and helps me adjust my pedals to hopefully improve my knee pain. He recommends putting the seat back by about a centimeter or two as well, but my weirdo moon saddle won't accommodate that much movement. Will keep it in mind - would have to buy a whole new seatpost. At last, I am off.

After all that, I do some internetting and head back to camp. I have a mission to repair my sleeping pad.

After about an hour of soaking the mat and putting it underwater with only a sink to work with, I identify 6 tiny punctures. Let it dry out and patch them with a little adhesive. That should do it.

Cook up some pasta/tuna surprise, and finally turn in. Planning on either Motueka (30mi)or Quinney's Bush Camp (65 miles) tomorrow. My knee will tell.


  1. Your Tour should be re-named 'The Bike Shop Tour of NZ' Perhaps Avanti could sponsor you (although some of the staff come across as a tad hapless). There are opportunities for a travel guide, with a star rating signings, red carpet events, movie deals... You may never have to look at another man's itchy bottom again.

  2. You could cover up the band name on that cover and the picture would be a whole lot creepier. In fact, you would probably still have the same look on your face after reading the title of the book.

    Oh and your bike seat is still weird too.

  3. Would have really enjoyed a photo of the gent with
    the green goo from your exploded puncture resistant tire all over his face!

  4. That bike seat really is quite special ...


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