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05 February 2015

Spyders in New Zealand

 

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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.

Keep Left

The very first thing you need to learn in New Zealand is riding on the “correct” side of the road. It actually becomes a matter of almost second nature within a day or two.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RT models Spyders are actually a rarity in New Zealand.

RT models Spyders are actually a rarity in New Zealand.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

One of the few things I've ever found even more exciting than riding my Spyder is riding up the Shotover Gorge on a 400HP jet boat! (Queenstown, South Island)

One of the few things I’ve ever found even more exciting than riding my Spyder is riding up the Shotover Gorge on a 400HP jet boat! (Queenstown, South Island)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kea Bird 1

You never know when a Kea bird might sneak up on you!

If there is any real danger in New Zealand, it is the Kea Bird, a large parrot that delights in tearing up any kind of textile it can find, such as my partner John's riding jacket. But the real danger is that they like to tear up bike seats!

If there is any real danger in New Zealand, it is the Kea Bird, a large parrot that delights in tearing up any kind of textile it can find, such as my partner John’s riding jacket. But the real danger is that they like to tear up bike seats!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last year about a dozen Kiwi Spyder riders rode over to join us our first day in country.

Last year about a dozen Kiwi Spyder riders rode over to join us our first day in country.

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Kiwi Spyder Ryders

More of our new Kiwi Spyder Ryding friends. What a fun group.

 

 

Long & Short

Leave it to Cherrie to make friends with the tallest Kiwi Spyder rider…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Kiwi Spyders invited us on a giant Toy Run sponsored by the European-based Ulysses Club. I love their logo...

The Kiwi Spyders invited us on a giant Toy Run sponsored by the European-based Ulysses Club. I love their logo…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Over 300 motorcycles and 20 Spyders showed up for the Ulysses Toy Run.

Over 300 motorcycles and 20 Spyders showed up for the Ulysses Toy Run.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Something you just don't see at home - Penguin Crossings on the road!

Something you just don’t see at home – Penguin Crossings on the road!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fastest Indian

A must-see, made famous by the movie “The World’s Fastest Indian,” is a display of Burt Munro’s motorcycles in Invercargill.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Zealand is one of the most "green" countries in the world, utilizing the volcanic nature of the islands to pipe steam right out of the ground for generating electricity.

New Zealand is one of the most “green” countries in the world, utilizing the volcanic nature of the islands to pipe steam right out of the ground for generating electricity. (Rotorua)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of my favorite places - the Flying Pig Cafe in Duntroon (population 16).

One of my favorite places – the Flying Pig Cafe in Duntroon (population 16).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!

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