Never say never.

2020 has been a year like no other. We all know that, we have all been affected in various ways.

The sad reality of cancelling our Italian, French, Swiss cycle holiday in May plus our cycle tour of Taiwan hit home. The saddest part is knowing I won’t see one of my kids (Ben) for what literally could be years (as he lives in Switzerland).

I have always needed goals, and with two being removed, saddled with another reality check of Tony being made redundant after 25.5 loyal years with Caterpillar (and that was via Skype) new goals seemed difficult to find. We always knew that one day this would occur, but we had a plan…I would take 6 months off and we would travel. I never did factor in a global pandemic. The timing was a bit sucky.

My travel guide reading started to resemble the picture below….

My work had changed. I’d been pulled off my usual activities and was establishing and administering a grant program for business continuity. I was also assessing a sustainability grant and loan applications. Daily my job involved reading multiple stories of financial and personal distress particularly in the hospitality and tourism sector.

Much coffee was consumed…reminding me again of the cycle tours where it was cafe to cafe to cafe…..reminiscing of wonderful trips of years gone past.

Trek ambassador these days…complete look with socks and coffee. 😊

We had never contemplated doing a cycle tour in Tasmania. Whilst the roads are superior to Europe we do not have the same cycling mentality/acceptance with our car drivers. Frankly they can be pretty scary here…and it only takes one careless driver to snuff your life out…in a split second.

As I sipped that coffee it hit me…no, not the car….but C19 presented a unique opportunity as there were no tourists (at that time). Our roads, in theory, should be quieter. Hopefully quieter would equate to safer.

Since that realisation, our borders have opened to most states of Australia, but not international tourists.

I also have not had one day off work on annual leave since last Christmas. There was one period where I worked 7 days a week for over a month, under a lot of pressure. It has been a tougher work year and a bit of time off would be good for the mind, body and soul.

So we started mapping and came up with a plan.

This route is just over 2100 km. Far too much climbing, and some gravel sections. But this is touring and we will chillax as much as possible, trying to get on the roads a bit earlier (as most places here do not provide breakfast options like Europe) to try to minimise traffic as much as possible.

Our first port of call is Low Head. Other overnight stops include Gladstone, St Helens, Swansea, Orford, Port Arthur, Acton Park, New Norfolk, Strathgordon, Mt Field NP, Lake St Clair NP, Strahan, Corinna, Waratah, Cradle Mt NP, Deloraine, Poatina, maybe Deloraine again, then home.

I have certainly got a serious amount of km in my legs…41,000 km this calendar year…that is more than the worlds circumference. The legs are tired, having just finished a massive October raising $ for kids cancer charity. I rode in excess of 5,000 km, and raised $16,800. Full recovery won’t be possible before this tour starts, but we will be taking it easy. This ride is not about speed but safety and enjoyment.

Covid presented other opportunities this year including being the first female Zwifter, globally, to ride 100,000 km. That occurred in April. I am now at 129,500 km. In addition, this assisted me in becoming a Trek ambassador in Australia….so look for the opportunities in difficult times.

Door to door cycling has its advantages…no packing your bike up. We will roll out our driveway maybe 7 am ish…..this coming Saturday. Cycle touring is all about ‘ish’. So stay tuned for the latest adventures.


Kia ora

For the third consecutive Christmas , we are in New Zealand to do a cycle tour. I guess you could say that we like the place!

Kia ora is Maori for welcome. As a kid I knew the word Kia ora….it was the brand of sickly sweet green cordial my mother used to buy for us to drink. I do like the way that New Zealand has embraced its Maori heritage with so many examples of dual naming ( ie. English and Maori). The Welsh do it very well too, and can only wonder why we do not in Tasmania to acknowledge, recognise and value our extensive Tasmanian aborigine history.

Our flights out of Melbourne were delayed for multiple reasons. The plane arrived into Melbourne late due to the 44 degrees Celsius temperature accompanied by very strong winds and bushfire smoke closing one runway. All flights in and out of Melbourne were taking off and landing on the one runway.

When we finally boarded, the plane was incredibly hot. The pilot apologised. We could not have any air conditioning until he turned the motors on and we were waiting for two passengers who ‘will arrive shortly’. Famous last words.

Some 20 -25 minutes later two ladies boarded. Still they did not shut the doors. Waiting, waiting, waiting.

15 minutes later, the two ladies left the air craft.

Still the door remained open……

Maybe 10 minutes later, the two ladies reboarded the plane, with one holding the hand of a stewardess who seemed to be very insistent.

Immediately the captain asked for the door to be closed and cross checked!! She was trapped!!

As a result, we did not arrive into Auckland until around 12.45 am, and then at our overnight stay at Gervase and Deb’s house close to 2 am this morning.

First job, after some sleep, was to put the bikes together and Tony discovered my rear disc had been bent in transit. Poop! This needed to be rectified, or a new disc purchased otherwise I could not ride.

Here are Gervase and Tony discussing the situation. Fortunately for us, Gervase has the most bike friendly house ever, including a wide range of tools….disc was straightened successfully.

I am so fortunate to have a number of wonderful friends in New Zealand. I truly value and appreciate the friends I have made through cycling. Coffee and Christmas tarts with Gervase and Debra and we were on our way leaving Forrest Hill around 11 am.

We had arranged to have coffee with Dave at Waitoki. He is a Zwift friend, with us both being leaders for The Big Ring (TBR). When I used to lead Mink’s Centurion ride, Dave would regale us with corny jokes (sorry Dave), and describing his yoga efforts.

Proof of the catchup!Kaukapakapa was next after bidding Dave ‘ooroo’. This was the town where my stolen backpack was located in March last year by an eagle eyed cyclist.

Local park in the town with some interesting features.

The bikes all geared up.I am not sure what this is…fish? Maybe you can stand on it and walk along it for balance? Maybe you just look at it and photograph it.The hills started to get a bit more serious with some 13% pinches. The temperature had picked up to high 20’s. There was a really stiff breeze. Predominantly a headwind with occasional side gusts from our left, pushing us further from the verge.

The elevation map shows a few steep and nasty little pinches.

You climb, you get great views as a reward. Lush green farmland with sea views.

I like this sculpture and the cows who could not give a hoot.

Up and down, more views, more sculptures.

A very tidal river does not prevent a boat club from existing. Mangakura Boat Club has a lovely position alongside this river. We could see from tops of hills, that this river feeds out to a larger harbour and the west coast of North Island.Incredibly lush green farm land. In Tasmania many farms are already very dry and brown, so there must be solid rainfall here.

The last climb was a nasty little climb that just kept giving. I was very glad to be at the top and enjoy the views. Really any excuse to stop at the top of a hill….’oh, I just want to admire the views…”

Looking to the west.What goes up, must go down….so it was a nice descent and a few more rolling hills to arrive in Wellsford, a busy service town, and our overnight stop.

We were pretty keen for dinner, and walked the length of the town (that might sound impressive but maybe only 1km each way from our accomodation 😂 enjoying using different muscles for a stretch!)

The meal choice was standard pub fare bar the local cuisine speciality….wait for it…stew on toast!

We chose steak…Tony ate my chips and I ate his salad. The home made plum sauce ( in the wine bottle) was actually very nice, packing a peppery punch.

We will hit the sack early tonight to catch up on our beauty sleep.

Today’s route ( bar a straight line section where my Garmin was turned off under the Highway One sign).

Returning to our accomodation two final sights.

The heritage museum murals reminded me of Sheffield. Tasmania.

I did wonder why it was named Albertland having a quiet chuckle, as in my teenage years when I did cross country, there was an elderly lecherous athletic official named Albert who used to chase my running friend Catherine and I around the place as we tried to escape him (and we were very successful being far more agile and nimble).

I was somewhat stuck with Albert as my mother had arranged for him to give me lifts to cross country but she was unaware of his ‘tendencies’. I kept quiet as it was my only way of getting to the different venues to run until I got my drivers license and purchased a car.

I later figured it out…Port Albert is not too far away.So thanks for reading. Tomorrow is another day…new adventure….new memories.

Llamas or alpacas?


Saturday dragged slowly….I got up at my normal 5.30am and did a few hours training, packed my bags, did loads of washing, house cleaned, emptied the fridge, and still had spare time!  I sat around twiddling my thumbs thinking about the extra km I could have done that morning training.

This is my bike bag packed…


It is summer in Australia, not that you would know that as we walked onto the plane. You can see the bikes at the back of the luggage. It was cold and wet….

Hoping for better summer weather!

The plane was delayed out of Melbourne. By the time we arrived in Auckland, collected our gear, transferred by taxi to our accomodation it 2.38 am when we got to bed.

I guess we got 3 hours reasonable sleep, then 1 hour drowsy style thanks to the most raucous sounding cat I have ever heard. It sounded like a sulphur crested cockatoo. Eventually, the noise made its way into our bedroom. This is what stood on my chest, dribbling saliva, loudly demanding my attention.

I was soo tired…

The cat is named Cluedo

Cluedo has a counterpart…the much quieter Yahtzi. Glad they did not have one named Jumanji! That could be really scary!

Welcome to New Zealand, feline style.

So 4 hours sleep was all we were going to get. Coffee, coffee, coffee…wherefore art thou coffee!! Right, I’m off to search for it, and if Cluedo gets lucky, I might find him some food to shut him up!!

My resident bike mechanic kindly put my bike together and sorted out a derailleur issue.  We posed for an obligatory selfie before heading off.


Plenty of stopping and starting getting out of Auckland with traffic lights galore.  Our first stop was Cleveland. Looking for a bank….no go, but did find a cafe with a few cyclists, so ordered an iced coffee.  It went down a treat and we also got to chat with local cyclists…who thought we were mad too.

We had some nice little climbs, nice views. It was really warm too, hitting nearly 28 degrees.  For the first time I appreciated the headwind breeze in the morning.



The last chunk of the ride was relatively flat following the shoreline.  I was amazed by the tremendous road damage from the one in a hundred year storm in early January that Sue and I got caught up in. Landslides, road washed away…partial rocky and gravel roads…and then BANG…first puncture.

So nice having a resident bike mechanic….Thankyou Tony 😊

The shoreline ranges from shelly to rocky, with cockles being collected in the area. The daily limit is 50 cockles per person, per day.


We are staying in a great Air BnB right on the water front. During the storm in January, the high tide came to the top of the second step.


Directly behind our unit is a Maori burial ground with some impressive memorials. Out of respect I took no photos.

Our data from today…



The highlight today was meeting Jane and Adrian, friends we have both shared through  Zwift.  Recently they relocated from Gore ( South Island) to Thames ( North Island). We are most appreciative that they made themselves available to meet and chat.  We enjoyed a great meal together at the pub ‘down the road’.


So first day done…well it was really a half day ride providing us the opportunity to get used to the touring bike with gear on it.

Tomorrow is a bit longer, just over 100 km with a bit of climbing, warming us up for day 3.

Guaranteed that tonight we will hit the sack early.  This is the view from our deck as I get ready to post this blog.  It is also where we are heading tomorrow.

Ooroo, sweet dreams 😊💪🚴




200 Miles – I can, I will…

Disruptive change is a term that is used within my professional work sphere.  It refers to an innovation that creates a new market, disrupting an existing market.

Zwift is a virtual cycling revolution – disruptive change to the way cyclists have traditionally trained and competed, transforming training regimes in a safe environment.

The platform has attracted riders such as Matt Hayman who broke his arm in a cycling accident just 6 weeks out from the 2016 Paris-Roubaix 1 260 km event over cobble stones. By training on Zwift, he won that event!

At this year’s Tour De France,  Mark Cavendish suffered a fractured shoulder blade in a shocking crash 200 metres from the finish line in stage 4 when he tussled with Peter Sagan.  A week later, he was on Zwift training.

Now I like to watch these guys racing on tv – but I am just a 55 year old woman who wants to keep as fit as I possibly can. I like to train before work.  Pre Zwift I was always under pressure to make sure I was home by 8 am, so I could quickly shower and ready myself to leave at 8.30 am.

However, in the process experienced punctures and inclement weather conditions that impeded and stressed me.  I have also collided with a car before work.  So when I learned about Zwift I was keen to see if it would work for me.

The answer is a resounding yes!

Over 18 months I have increased my weekly training load.  In the last 4 weeks, according to Strava my weekly average has been 692 km.  This figure is somewhat distorted given what I did on Saturday – I rode 323 km, or 200 miles.


Through Strava I met (virtually) Matthew Double, an Adelaide based cyclist, who by any measure, has had a rough couple of years.  Doing this ride showed that by working hard together, with the support of others, you can achieve whatever you set your mind to.

For me it was a challenge as I am not blessed with great knees.  Following an accident and 4 surgeries,  I was told 2 years ago by my orthopedic surgeon that I would be unable to cycle more than 5 km, but if anyone could do it, it would be me. Red rag to the bull moment.  I cried at first, but then got my resolve back, supported by my GP and my physiotherapist.

Me at my worst – out of bed and onto the bike!  Think I was meant to put the glamour shot in – but this is me at my most basic!

So Matthew and I set out to ride 200 miles – just because!

The start – 2 lonely riders head out on a long journey!

We started off at just before 8 am and had 3 breaks – 160 km, 230 km and 280 km.  We limited our breaks to 5 minutes to ensure that our legs did not cool down too much, nor our minds!  We would go to the loo, change knicks, more chamois cream, grab food and the ubiquitous coffee!

What I ate at the 160 km mark – all ketogenic friendly!

We had the most wonderful support on this journey from such a large list of riders including Ed “Cleatless” Ray from Sussex, England who rode with us for 3 hours in the middle of the English night, and Brian Barlow, Yorkshire, England who rode with us from midnight!  Why – just to support us in our goals.

Zwift has pretty amazing scenery – the fancy Tron bikes dominating this section!

There were multiple Australian riders who spent anything from 30 minutes to 90 minutes just riding with us, keeping us company.  I am a leader with the Spin and Sprint (SAS) Club – and most of the leaders hopped on at different stages to ride with us.  Tony rode 30 km in the morning and backed up later with 100 km.

We chattered heaps – and it really does help to keep your mind in a much more positive frame when things start to ache and hurt.

I was a little teary when I finished – why?  I was so touched by the support received.  This was my goal, along with Matthew’s – yet others were so generous in their time to support us, encourage us.  Most of these people I have not met face to face – I hope to do so over time.

The finish – 323 km!!

I have pulled up and recovered remarkably well – better than I could have anticipated. Straight after the ride, we hopped into the car and headed down to the local river – Tony sat in the car (it was cold!) headlights pointed into the river, whilst I did my thing.  The next day I did it all over again, in a local creek – and then I had a second go in the ocean.  I really do think the cryotherapy (!!) numbed my knee into a quick remission!

Post ride – soaking my legs in the freezing Forth River – fairly low tide, sloping bank, fast outgoing current, hoping not to fall over…

I have been knocked by some for doing Zwift versus facing the in real life elements for training.  I have been knocked for the distance I do – but this is my choice, my life, my story!

So stay tuned – Bordeaux is less than a fortnight away.  Touring rides – slower paced as we check out new countryside, and hopefully don’t get too lost!