The Old Legs Tour of New Zealand – Day 23 and Day 24 from Greymouth to Ross and then onto Franz Joseph Glacier

Day 23 stats
Distance – 123 km
Time – 9 hrs 31 min
Climb – 971 meters.
Average heart rate -129 bpm
Highest heart rate- 173 bpm
Day 24 stats
Distance – 111 km
Time – 7 hrs 32 min
Climb – 1003 meters.
Average heart rate -129 bpm
Highest heart rate- 174 bpm
There are a million bumble bees in the South Island forests. They are huge brutes with nuclear stings instead of arses. They say that big lots of bumblebees are a sign of a healthy environment and a good thing. They obviously didn’t have bottoms lathered in manuka honey ointment. My rest stops in the forests are fraught with danger with my bottom attracting much attention. Bumblebees don’t know the word voetsak.
Apart from the vendetta against possums and stoats, New Zealand take their conservation seriously, and it shows. The South Island continues pristine with virgin rainforests, tranquil lakes and rugged scenery complete with snow-capped peaks of the Southern Alps. It is a bugger trying to describe it when you’ve used up all your superlatives on the North Island. Suffice to say it is better than the best.
Before I continue my travelogue, herewith my last comment on possums. I get that they ringbark tress and eat flightless birds including Kiwis, and I understand the need to cull, but the cutesy displays I saw in the possum fur shop in Hokitika were Cruella de Ville gross.
We rode from the historic port of Greymouth to the historic mining town Ross, also on the coast, climbing 1000 meters in the process. The bloody seagulls in Ross were much amused when we arrived back at sea level knackered after a day climbing mountains.
Josh Allerdice was especially knackered, but I hope we infected him with the Old Legs epic virus and that he will continue to champion Zimbabwe’s pensioners going forward.
We rode the Westcoast Wilderness Trail, 100 kilometers of single track that winds through better-than-best rugged scenery with pristine rainforests, tranquil lakes, blah blah blah as per previous blogs. It was very cool and for me entirely unexpected. I really should pay more attention in briefings.
NB New Zealand spend more on bike tracks than Zimbabwe spends on highways.
On Day 24 to get away from bloody seagulls we climbed up into the mountains to the Franz Joseph Glacier. We luxuriated on tar all day and my bottom and legs much enjoyed. We conquered Mt Hercules to the point where we hardly noticed it. I love the dirt roads and single track we normally ride on but they do take it out of you.
The temperature is dropping noticeably as we plunge southward slowly like paint dries. We have been so lucky with the weather thus far, but as Ned Stark had it, winter is coming.
I sort of look forward to deploying my Arctic kit,. although jury is out on my thermal gloves and leg warmers. The gloves keep my hands warm like burnt toast, to the point of sweating. And with them on, I can’t feel my bum to scratch it. And as for my leg warmers, there is a fundamental flaw in the design. For the life of me, I can’t keep them up. They insist on falling down after just 2 minutes of riding, and I end up with hot ankles only, looking like Jennifer Beals in Flashdance. It has been suggested I resort to nappy pins, at which point my street cred will be completely shredded. Alas.
Donald Trump, despite the onset of winter on my bike, please know that the Franz Joseph Glacier has retreated 1.5 kilometers in the last 15 years. We are talking millions of tons of ice gone, never to be seen again, because of climate change. Alas.
Ouch. We’re riding 145 kilometers today to Haast, climbing 1449 meters back down to sea level. We are riding New Zealand to raise money and awareness for Zimbabwe’s pensioners. Please help us help our pensioners back home by following the donate prompts below-
In New Zealand – .
In Australia –
In South Africa please direct donations to Mdala Trust Standard bank 374230927 Fishhoek 036009 SBZAZAJJ
And every else in the big wide world –
In closing, Happy Anniversary Tamson McKenna. Macca misses you muchly. And a big shout out from Nana and me to Jocelyn, Cailyn, Colton and Teagan, we miss and love you guys big lots. And please don’t forget to walk Wallace and Chuck.
Until my next blog from somewhere closer to the Antarctic,Have Fun, Do Good and Do Epic if you can – Eric Cold Chicken Legs de Jong

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