16km bicycled, 3.5 hours, 30km hitched (20 min)
Defeated. You would think that a defeat on a four month long hike would come from a tall mountain, a raging river or terrible thunderstorm. Nope. It was the very nearly flat bicycle ride from Lake Tekapo to Twizel.
It started off well. We were sheltered from the wind and the northwesterly gale was at our back so we didn’t really notice it. The first 8km were done in half an hour. Then the trail turned 90 degrees, the hills vanished, and the wind shifted.
We were biking next to a canal, perhaps 10m across. It was white capped. The water level was 2m below the path, yet we were being sprayed with strong gusts.
We could bike no longer. We got off and pushed our bikes. We could not push in a straight line. Gusts moved us across the path, nearly picking the bikes up and banging into legs. At one point the canal, water flowing opposite to the strong winds had a standing wave you very nearly could have surfed on. We went from 15-20km/hour to maybe 2km/hour or less. Eyes were drying out, dust whipping in our face.
Don’t rely on the weather app on your iPhone from wind. It’s wildly off. The remnants of a cyclone that hit Fiji are causing this wind and in places gusts of 90km/hour are being shown this morning.
We reach highway 8 after 2-3 hours of pushing our bikes against the wind, chain them to a fence, tell the cycle hire company where to find them, and hitch the hell out of there.
We’re picked up by a German tourist who stopped to take a photo of the canal. He says it’s the strongest wind he’s experienced in his life and wonders why we were trying to bike. He takes us to Twizel, but stops for a few photos of Lake Pukaki along the way.
Going to have to forfeit this one.