Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Day 9: Pukekawa to Hamilton

Distance: 70.3k
Distance so far: 537.1k
Speed: 18.7k/h

Runkeeper logs: 1 2

Today's ride was one of the days I had in mind when I set out on this tour. Clear blue skies, moderate temperature, and not a hill in sight (except the one I rode down at the start). Most of the day had me following the Waikato river along country roads, on the opposite side to State Highway 1, though a dismaying few kilometers were unexpectedly on a gravel road, which made things briefly unpleasant. Other than that, the lack of wind and the flat terrain made today's ride a pleasure.

I set off early again at about 7:15, and stopped around 9:15 at Huntly for a very good breakfast and a coffee. Shortly thereafter, my cellphone died - I've been having problems with my solar charging solution - so I had to ride the rest of the way without a cycle computer. That's also why it would be a good idea to distrust the reported speeds in Runkeeper for the second half of my journey.

Continuing south on the quiet side of the river, I made it to Ngaruwahia, where State Highway 1 crosses over to the same side. Rather than swap over to the other side myself, I opted to take my chances with State Highway 1.

Fortunately, this stretch of SH1 has a wide, evenly paved shoulder pretty much the whole way, so although it's busy and noisy, and the speed and frequency of cars and trucks are a bit unnerving, it's fairly safe. The only downside was that the main road was paved with smooth new blacktop, while the shoulder was still chip-and-seal - so the next few kilometers felt like being taunted with the smooth ride that was just out of my reach. Oh well.

Heading into Hamilton was a bit unnerving, as I had to navigate through heavy traffic, but I soon got on to the quieter side-roads, and found my way to my stop for the night fairly easily.

Tomorrow I'm headed towards Rotorua - I'm looking for somewhere to stop halfway along - and possibly a side-trip to see Hobbiton, which is pretty close to the halfway point.

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