Tomorrow I leave for my annual trek to the islands of New Zealand, both to lead a tour group on a two-week journey through both the North and South Islands, and hopefully to once again hook up with the Kiwi Spyder Ryders of New Zealand, who Cherrie and I made friends with last year. But before I go, I thought I might share some insights into touring New Zealand, for those of you interested.
Though I was able to borrow an RT for a month last year, we actually saw very few other RT models, and in fact were told that the New Zealand dealers didn’t even stock the SE model since demand for RTs was so low. I guess that makes sense since the very concept of long-distance touring (for which the RT is built) is practically non-existent. You see, New Zealand has almost no large, multi-lane or divided highways, and it is quite possible to ride the entire width or length of whichever island you are on in a single day. Considering all that, the RS model actually makes a lot more sense over here – not that we didn’t enjoy the RT just as much in New Zealand as we do in the US.
Believe it or not, I actually have to post guards on the bikes at some stops, to keep these wicked parrots from ripping up the seats! Last year at a scenic overlook, we saw a group of Keas attack a rental car, tearing the weatherstripping out of the windshield and breaking off the car’s rubberized radio antenna!
One of the more interesting things about riding in New Zealand is the extreme variety of climate change you can ride through in a single day, from glaciers and penguin crossings, to tropical white sand beaches and palm trees.
My second-favorite thing about New Zealand, after the amazing roads and scenery, are the small villages with their unique little bistros. Story has it that the two little old ladies who own this restaurant were “on holiday” from England with their parents many years ago when they told their Mum, “We’re going to come back here when we grow up Mummy, and open a restaurant.” To which their Mother replied, “Yes my Dears, when pigs fly.”
The pastries here are amazing!
And last but certainly not least — the main reason to love riding in New Zealand!