March 08 2024 – Day Seven and Eight of the Old Legs Tour of New Zealand – From Auckland to Orere Point and then to Te Aroha.

Day 7 stats
Distance – 68 Km
Climb – 791 meters.
Average heart rate -117 bpm
Highest heart rate- 165 bpm
Day 8 stats
Distance – 113 km
Climb – 385 meters.
Average heart rate -128 bpm
Highest heart rate- 174 bpm
We’ve just enjoyed our two easiest days of the whole Tour. Coming on the back of our first rest day, my wounded bottom could not have scripted it better.
With regards my sore bottom, I’m going with overkill in terms of treatment strategy. I continue to lather my bottom generously with Manuka honey and Pawpaw ointment before during and after each ride. Plus I’ve deployed triple padding and am now taller when I sit than when I stand. I can only just reach my pedals. Plus I’m sitting on the new gel saddle I bought in Auckland. My new saddle is like a Lazy Boy recliner but more comfortable. And so far, so good.
Because it is working so well on my bum, I’m also trying the Manuka honey on my chapped burnt lips, but not the Pawpaw ointment, because pawpaws taste shit. I’ve given up on lip balm because it’s been disappeared by my kit bag.
We’ve ridden an eclectic mix of mountains and sea level for two days out of Auckland. The scenery has been a mix of wow and idyllic. Both words were Made in New Zealand, as was gorgeous, but don’t tell that to the Springboks.
On balance looking back and befitting my Dutch genetics, I much prefer riding at sea level, although the mountain views are better. Had I seen an Orca though, I might rethink that, but I didn’t. Alas. I also didn’t see Godwits or Albatrosses. A Godwit is a bird that migrates from Alaska to New Zealand non-stop, losing 30% of it’s bodyweight in the process. My ‘Must See in New Zealand’ list grows ever longer.
We’ve ridden the length of the Firth of Thames, and I came sixth. Normally I come fifth, but we were joined on Tour by Steve Sprout, one of our sponsors from St Andrew’s Service Station In Hamilton . We were also joined by Steve’s daughter, Sarah. Like Howard, Sarah is a lawyer. Not that I’m saying lawyers are competitive, but our peloton has never gone faster.
Apart from when the girl on the go-faster e-bike rang her bell loudly to overtake us on the Hauraki Rail Trail. Like lawyers, we are not competitive, but Rob couldn’t help himself, and he put the hammer down and returned her to her box. Old guys rule, especially Old Plumtree boys.
Because of an over-swollen left foot, Rob has had to swop riding shoes for oversized Crocs and now slip slops, a.k.a. flip flops in Aussie, a.k.a. Jandals in New Zealand. Riding 3000 kilometers in Crocs that have been duct taped to your foot; they sure taught them how to do tough at Plumtree.
We’ve been so heartwarmed by the support received by the Zimbabwean and South African community in NZ. Macca especially was moved when we were cheered into Kawakawa Bay by a small crowd of supporters and well wishers. We enjoyed a delicious lunch hosted by Chevron Traffic Services.
And now we’ve been joined at our Te Aroha campsite by Jacquie Sprout, Steve’s wife, and by Mark and Veronique Richards, ex Chegutu/ Mvurwi and also Charles Cameron, Jonno’s old army buddy last seen 44 years ago.
It is so very cool to catch up with old friends and new ones on our Tour of New Zealand. The people we’ve met are New Zealand’s gain, Zimbabwe’s loss. Alas.
We are riding New Zealand from top to bottom to raise money for Zimbabwe’s pensioners. And we’re not the only ones currently on our bikes. A 23-strong Old Legs peloton will fly Zimbabwean flags riding the Cape Town Cycle Challenge on Sunday. If you are in Cape Town, please cheer them on. And please follow the donate prompts on
Until my next blog, Have Fun, Do Good, and Do Epic if you can – Eric Chicken Legs de Jong.

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