10 Mar 2015 | 498 views | No Comment

You might have noticed the lack of posts on this site since early 2013. The short story is that I’m broken and haven’t been on a bicycle since December 2012.
We have been busy with a new house, new jobs and a wonderful dog, so in the last two years we haven’t just sat around twiddling our thumbs.
But settle down for a long read. :)
Regular readers of this blog might have read that we had to stop cycling in New Zealand and cut our tour short because what happened to me. Shooting, constant, throbbing pain, just like when you hit your funny bone, from my fingertips on both arms, to my shoulders.
Numbness, pins and needles in hands and arms and the lack of feeling. If I was holding something, say a glass, I could see I was holding a glass, but I couldn’t feel if I had applied enough pressure to lift the glass.
I had to ask Peli to pack my panniers in the morning since I couldn’t use my fingers and hands or make a fist without using all my strength and enduring extreme pain. After 30-45 minutes I could use my hands and arms, if I did …

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Review: What we like about our Hilleberg

We have recently described our frustrations with the zippers on our Hilleberg failing in this blog post. There are plenty of features we do like about the Hilleberg, however, and if they could only get the zippers problem sorted, we think it would be the perfect tent.
Fabric strength: It has taken some serious beating. We have heard of people losing or ripping tents while pitching theirs in Patagonia. We pitched in very strong winds which we could barely walk in and even in the middle of the night on Tierra del Fuego, and the fabric withstood such battering admirably.
Rigidity: We endured a massive thunderstorm with winds from all directions which shook the tent and bent the poles down so they touched us laying inside, for more than 12 hours on New Years Eve, 2012. Other campers bailed out and hid in their cars or the refuge shelter, while we woke up dry albeit in a ‘waterbed’ with 10cm of the wet stuff all around and underneath us.
UV resistance: Camping for more than a year in summer temperatures and in strong UV light in New Zealand, Australia, Argentina, Chile and the USA has caused the fabric to fade, …

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Review: When Hilleberg zippers fail. And fail again.

UPDATE: (07.08.2013) This issue has now been solved.
Since we first wrote this post we have received comment on this blog, via email and other online forums about our honest post about our experience with Hilleberg.
Hilleberg have come back to us offering to fit new zippers on our tent, so we’ll update our blog once that has happened.
Faulty zippers aside, as regular readers of our blog will know (as we bang on about our tent so often), there are many things we appreciate about our Hilleberg. If they could get the zipper thing sorted out, I think it would be the perfect tent. Read our Review: What we like about our Hilleberg.

Original post :
I blogged last July about the problems we’d had with the zippers failing on our (otherwise wonderful) Hilleberg Kaitum 3GT tent.
Despite Hilleberg replacing the sliders on the outer tent and providing us with a discounted brand-new inner tent, our zipper frustrations have continued. We’re now stuck with an unusable tent and here’s the story of how we got here.
In August 2012 I contacted Hilleberg’s US office in Redmond, Washington to explain that three out of our tent’s five zips had broken down irreparably. They …

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Blog: Meet Domestique
18 Dec 2012 | 27,145 views | No Comment
Blog: Meet Domestique

Highlights: Rain, knife making, pancake rocks, limestone arches, lakes and mountains.

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Blog: Queen Charlotte Track and a painful dilemma

Wellington, Picton, Ships Cove, Picton, Havelock, Nelson – 201km (Total 7137km cycled)
Highlights: Ferry, warmshowers, mountain biking the Queen Charlotte Track, bays, stunning views, broken hands.
Day 321-324 – November 21-24 : Ferry to the South Island
After two days rest up north we took the bus to Wellington, we had heard from other cycle tourers that the last bit into the capital wasn’t the most enjoyable to ride. It was also clear that I needed more time of the bike. So I time in Wellington was spend going around bicycle shops figuring out options for me. This wasn’t too bad since we are not so keen on walking around a big town looking at churches, queuing at museums and window shopping.
The ferry from Wellington to Picton we had booked departed at 8:15am, which meant a 5am wake-up call to give time to pack up and ride to the ferry terminal for a wonderful check-in time of 7:30am. We found a cycle lane that ran between the highway into Wellington and the train line. We didn’t see that as we’d cycled out to the campsite, it could have made a more enjoyable ride for sure.
We had great weather and Peli even commented …

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Blog: New Zealand, North Island : Onwards through the centre

Hot Water Beach, Tauranga, Rotorua, Taupo, National Park, Pipiriki, Wanganui – 414km (Total 6895km cycled)
Highlights: Active volcanoes, ice cream, wonderful hospitality, hot mineral pools, rainforests.
Day 309 – November 9 : Bus ride from hell
We had booked a bus to Tauranga to gain a few days and bypass a narrow and busy stretch, which had the nickname “The Suicide Highway”. A wise move, we thought.
The first bus arrived on time and the driver was helpful, nice and drove very sensibly. We changed buses in Thames and the new driver was a nightmare – swore at us, was unhelpful when one of our bags went missing (“I don’t care about your bag! I’ve a bus full of pissed off people and you’re pissing me off with your missing bag!” etc) and drove like a complete idiot. Yet another reason why we didn’t want to do this bit…
But after seven kilometres ride from the bus station in Tauranga peace was restored. We were in the beautiful home of John, Sylvia and Heather, the brother and family of Penny and Paul, two lovely Kiwis we’d met when we visited the South Island in 2010. We enjoyed a delicious meal and …

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Blog: New Zealand, North Island – Coromandel Peninsular

Auckland, Thames, Coromandel, Whitianga, Cathedral Cove, Hot Water Beach – 362km (Total 6481km cycled)
Highlights : Wild camping in Auckland, tailwinds, stunning views, new friends, hot water beaches and getting reacquainted with ripio!
Day 309 – October 31 : Leaving Auckland again
We got the bus at eight and pretty much backtracked the route we’d taken up to Kaitaia over the last few days. In Auckland we went via the university where – thanks to the kindness of many friends, and friends of friends – we managed to collect a supply of Peli’s asthma drugs to last her the next three months.
Then we joined the 50km long Tamaki Drive Cycle Path out of Auckland which snaked its way along the bays to the east of the city. The first part will for sure be packed with pedestrians and cyclists on a summer weekend. The path gave excellent views over the CBD (central business district, as they call town centres down here). We had a few hills to climb as we got out of town but spotted plenty of places to do a bit of wild camping in the many parks along the water and bays.
After a little stake-out we …

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Blog: New Zealand, North Island – Northland

Auckland, Helensville, Dargaville, Whangarei, Russell, Doubtless Bay, Kaitaia – 569km (Total 6119km cycled)
Highlights: Back in New Zealand, cycling with friends, Boysenberry ice cream, beautiful views and surprisingly good driving from lorries.
Day 293-295 – October 15-17 : Back in NZ
After being in the air for two hours from Portland to LA and then 13 hours to Auckland, where we missed out on October the 15 completely, it’s not really the best time to be spending three hours outside a windy, cold Auckland airport at 8am putting our bicycles together.
We cycled the ten kilometres to the nearest campsite, crawled into bed (we’d booked a basic cabin for two nights) and proceeded to sleep for 18 hours. We even missed dinner time! I know I watched four films on the plane, but can only remember three. We will never get used to long distance flying.
We spent a day pottering around a sunny, windy Auckland trying to find free and working internet access, which turned out to be rather hard. We had become used to free, fast and available wifi in the remotest of places in Patagonia and North America. But New Zealand is still stuck in the stone age of the digital age …

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Blog: Olympic National Park, Seattle and the San Juan islands

Seattle – Aberdeen (via San Juan islands) – 1046Km (Total 5550km cycled)
Highlights: Beautiful weather, beautiful views, beautiful orcas and beautiful sunsets. A reminder of the joys of cycle touring!
Day 233 – August 30 : Train to Seattle
The Amtrak Cascades railway route is one of the very few trains in the USA which allows bikes without needing to pack them into cardboard boxes. So the 3-hour journey from Portland to Seattle was very easy and stress-free.
We had ten miles of riding to get to our warmshowers host. They’d given us a brilliant route description which took us away from the busy road and onto good trails.
Day 234 – August 31 : Hilleberg visit
From Seattle to Redmond there is an offroad rail trail which runs almost door-to-door from our hosts’ house to Hilleberg’s USA HQ. So we made a day out of it, testing Peli’s legs on her first ride after all the asthma business, and we got to explore a bit of Seattle that not many visitors see.
The Burke Gilman trail goes around Lake Washington on the north side and then follows the Sammamish river all the way to Redmond. Yes, the same Redmond where Microsoft …

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