Weekend away Camping

Thought I’d do a diary style post (its been a while!).

I’ve been into cycling for a while now, a good few years, and one of my favourite races is the bikethelake which is a nice 42km loop of the Rotorua Lake, or 2 Laps for the main event. Since i had surgery i’ve been pretty lax about any exercise and struggled to get back into it and up to fitness, i decided that i needed to do it again this year. My daughter was keen to do some tandem cycling with me, so we found a 30 year old Healing Tandem on Trademe and cleaned it up.

Took a bit of hard yakka to get it clean, polishing all the surface rust off and bringing the bling chrome back to life. I didn’t dare take it apart to re-paint it so i just taped over the smaller bits and only removed the major bits (wheels and seats etc). As it was the pedals had to have their threads re-tapped to get them back on, and being 2 right pedals on each person meant we had no cleat useage, just standerd pedals.

So though it doesnt look brand new, it did look pretty awesome after finishing, and very retro with all the crome. No 120PSI tyres here, it was 60PSI and all standard car valves all the way! We did a few training runs around the neighbourhood and managed to sustain about 20km/ph fairly easily. We decided it was going to be a pleasure ride rather than race, we were just not fit enough or good enough to try anything more and it would have been silly to try with only 2-3 weeks training for a 42km race.

Since I’m also training for the oxfam Trailwalker Ive been trying to fit in longer walks with that, and thursday i went and walked 20km to Hamilton from home, whilst my husband was about to pick me up his car started playing up (gearbox) so when we went to Rotorua for the race, we decided to take mine.

This may seem ok to most people, but we have a family of 5 fitting into a 990cc Toyota Vitz here now, plus tents, bags, and a tandem on the back!

packedcarIn the boot was 2 tents (one larger, one smaller dome), bed rolls, blow up bed, my bag, food, bike gear, helmets, etc. That left no room for kids bags and pillows which sat on their lap. In all the confusion trying to pack that much gear into the car we managed to only remember to bring 1 blanket for my husband and I :/

So we got to campsite, put up tents, unloaded gear, etc and locked up the tandem, did race registration, found a couple geocaches, and then headed back to camp for a swim. I have to say here, i love the Top10 holiday parks, great service, and i KNOW the toilet isn’t going to be a long drop with bugs in it!


After having an awesome BBQ dinner, kids went to bed, followed shortly by us. The temp dropped fairly quickly and though we thought at first our only blanket would do combined with being crushed up against each other, we froze. I slept for about maybe an hour before waking freezing. Even with that single blanket over our heads, the air in the airbed went down as cold as the air outside, a nice balmy 6C. We stayed semi warm with socks, clothes and PJs on, so long as we were pressed up against each other. In fact we probably would have slept if that darned bird hadn’t started hooting from about 2am onwards. I think somewhere around 4-5am i tweeted

Forgot how fun camping was, freezing your butt off counting off the hours till dawn whilst contemplating ways to kill that noisy bird”

Luckily an soon after its friends all chorused in , and at 6am i got up and made a cooked breakfast of bacon & eggs and fried bread. It was still freezing, as my daughter and I setup at 7am for the bike race clad only in our shorts and cycling top. We were fairly warm by the time we got to the startline and made sure we sat in the son.

Race started well, the sun was out, the day was clear, i felt like I had slept well even though i must have only got 1 hour. The kids had slept well at least and were not grumpy, Chelsea and I chatted and made jokes and even sung badly through out. About 15km in a squeek got noticeably louder so i stopped to check the bike over. Good thing i had, turned out one of the pedals was half unscrewed! Pulled out the spanners from the back pocket and put the bike back together, and continued.

On the back stretch over the hill it was a mission going up hill, we would chant 2 syllable food related words to motivate ourselfs in time with the pedals much to everyones amusement.

Now to understand this fully, a normal bike can balance going fairly slowly. A tandem needs a bit more speed to be able to balance, so going uphill meant we had to just go a little faster than most. So people would hear us behind them ‘big, mac, big, mac, big, mac, milk, shake, milk, shake, milk, shake’ and then we would over take them. At one point some lady told us to add in ‘coffee’ which we most defiantly hadn’t thought of, so we did. The downhills were great fun, being heavier we pretty much let her go whilst screaming to guys in front “MOVE LEFT! COMING THROUGH!” as we went flying past. Lucky for us I had also fitted a 120 db air horn onto the bike also!

We were the first tandem to finish, and had a lot of comments about our awesome ‘retro’ tandem. In fact, we came first in the tandems doing the 42km! which was kinda funny because our Team name was ‘Last Place’. Ironicly we also came last because there was only 1 Tandem doing the 42km race! Bonus! There were about 10 Tandems doing the 2 laps, but im glad we didn’t !

After the race we cycled back to camp, packed down and refilled the car. Lastly i loaded up the tandem, and got into the car, at which point i said ‘has anyone seen my keys?’. We looked around the camp site, toilets, kitchen and saw nothing. I assumed it was in my bag packed at the very bottom of the car so used my spare car key on my husbands keyring. Went for a swim in the hotpools, then back to prize giving where we won nothing but a bit of sunburn, then headed home. By this time the hour of sleep and 42km bike ride was really kicking in.

Unloaded the car, and sorted everything out whilst husband went for KFC pickup duty. No keys in the car, no keys packed in any bag – oh dear! Hopefully they will turn up somewhere, however its no major as I have spares of both house and car (can you tell i loose them often?) Went to bed at 8:30ishpm and slept like a log!

Planning on a 2 night stay in Taupo in 3 weeks! we love camping! This time however taking husbands much larger car, and plenty more bedding!

Bikes vs Cars – Road Rules

There has been much debate in the media and on forums everywhere regarding the whole bikes vs cars thing. Whilst most cyclists are well behaved, and most cars are well behaved, i think there are a select few making things bad for everyone by behaving like a child.

So I would just like to clarify things for you all and quote the road code here, just in case anyone was in doubt.

80-90% of Cyclists are also drivers, they pay road taxes, etc and drive on the road just as you do. Stop using this as an argument to justify your bad driving.

It IS legal to ride 2 abreast cycling, this however does take up an entire lane and so single file should be used when overtaking parked cars, or if cars want to get through.

If you are a car, then sometimes they may not notice you behind them, it pays to give a couple of short beeps to let them know you are there. At this point people in bunches will start the call ‘Car Back’ which is passed from rider to rider and they should move into single file.

At the lights,  especially when there are people turning, cyclists will sit in the middle of the lane. This is so that nobody turns in front of them at all, and because they can usually do a fairly fast take off.

Probably the worst situation is the most common, and that’s when a car overtakes a cyclist nicely and without thinking with plenty of gap, then forgets they were there and turns left into a street or driveway effectively cutting them off.¬† Whilst the crash may be minor for the car involve if the cyclist can brake, a resulting road rash or broken bones etc can sting for some time.

Riding on the footpath is illegal for anyone over 12 who is not a postie, its not an option that works for cyclists. The ‘cycling paths’ that are painted onto footpaths¬† are great for teenagers and kids, and even those slower riders or beach cruisers, however they are not in any way suitable for anyone riding faster than 15km/ph. The reason is because often people have children and dogs on the same footpaths which are unpredictable and will often jump out in front of you, not to mention people getting in and out of cars which have to cross the cycle path to get to the walking part, and in general people just not honouring the actual ‘cycle path’ part being only for cyclists.

The average roadie speed on the flat is easily near 30km/ph. A lot of people underestimate the speed they are going and think ‘oh they wont get here before i turn’ or similar’. On a downhill, personally, I’ve seen a lot of cyclists doing up to, and over 80km/ph, can you please be aware of this when you are turning and see a cyclist?

Above all, both Cyclists and Drivers, try to be more tolerant and less angry. You dont NEED to get angry if you get cut off, or if somebody over takes you, its ok to just let it go. Life is too short to waste time on pointless anger or in a jail cell/hospital because of it.


Safety rules for cyclists

  • Cyclists must wear an approved safety helmet. Always fasten it securely, by following the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • It’s a good idea to wear brightly coloured or reflective clothing when cycling. That way you’ll be easier to see.
  • Don’t ride your bicycle on a footpath unless you are delivering newspapers, mail or leaflets, or there is a sign indicating it is a shared pedestrian and cycle path.
  • At intersections, you must:
    • follow the rules for motor vehicles, or
    • get off your cycle and walk across.
  • You can only ride alongside another cyclist or moped. You must not ride alongside a car, truck or other motor vehicle.
  • Always ride in single file if passing another vehicle.
  • Your cycle must not be towed by another vehicle.
  • Your cycle can only tow a trailer (one designed to be towed by a cycle) and must not be fitted with a sidecar.
  • You must not carry a pillion passenger on your cycle unless you have a pillion seat and footrest. If you are carrying a child, the pillion seat must protect the child’s legs from the wheels.
  • You must not leave a cycle blocking a footpath.
  • Where there is an adequate cycle path or cycle lane, cyclists should use it.
  • You must ride with lights on when it is dark (from 30 minutes after sunset until 30 minutes before sunrise).
  • You must keep your cycle in good working condition.


Safe driving around cyclists

  • Hazards like parked cars, potholes, glass, litter and opening car doors may cause cyclists to veer off-line and move into your path. Because of this, give cyclists plenty of room when passing them. Ideally, allow at least 1.5 metres between you and the cyclist.
  • Wait for a clear space before passing a cyclist on a narrow road.
  • At intersections, apply the same rules to cyclists that you would to any other vehicle on the road. Take care to indicate turns.
  • Only drive across cycle lanes when entering or leaving side roads, driveways or parking spaces.
  • If you are crossing a cycle lane, give way to cyclists before you cross.
  • Take extra care around young cyclists.
  • You must not drive in a cycle lane.

Ack i gained 5kg

So I knew I’d been eating more recently, in fact I had already started to knock it on the head. To be fair I was not supposed to be doing too much exercise either because of the kidney donation op.
So I decided to bite the bullet this morning and jump on the scales …. Bad idea Liz! 5kg gain in 6 weeks!

Soo not cool, wasn’t it just last week I was on tv for weight loss? Now I have womans weekly doing an article and photos and here I am larding it up again!

So today I’m officially back on the wagon, I’m doing a lot more low impact stuff to get things going again. No more baking or lollies, bring on the salads, protien bars, and 5am mornings! Who’s with me?