Friday, 16 May 2014

ALPS TO OCEAN BICYCLE TOUR - Day 5 - Oamaru to Christchurch, New Zealand

The first call of the day was to Riverstone Kitchen, owned by Bevan Smith, which was New Zealand's Restaurant of the year in 2010/2011. The following blurb has been lifted from inside of the front cover of Bevan's recipe book.....'Set in the gorgeous countryside of the Waitaki Plains in North Otago, New Zealand, embodies simple and elegant seasonal cooking, using the best local produce available.' A lot of the herbs and vegetables are grown in gardens attached to the restaurant.
I would have loved to have had a meal here but unfortunately, we had to settle for morning tea as it was too early even for lunch. I hope the photographs do the gardens some justice.

Back on the bikes again we travelled along a beautifully sealed road with very little traffic, passing copious farms as we made our way across the Pareora river valley on our way to the Pareora Gorge. 

Only a few more grunts and you will be at Pareora Gorge

Just another awesome scene on this ride
The climb to the top of the gorge was only a couple of kilometres long but it was certainly steep in parts, measuring 7 - 8% gradient but that is what day touring is all about, busting a gut going up hills, stopping to admire the view and off like a cut snake down the other side. Ah!! pure exhilaration. We were only on hired Trek hybrids, so you were trusting that luck was on your side and that the bike would hold together as some of us reached speeds in excess of 60 kmh, not wanting to deviate the slightest amount as we concentrated on our line through the corners. Imagine the speeds that could be obtained on a racing road bike. Irresponsible? absolutely but that is what old delinquents do as we try to relive our youth.

Pareora Gorge ride

The hill climbing victors

The top of the gorge and the start of the downhill run

It was a great way to spend the last day of our trip and with the adrenaline running through our veins, the rest of the ride was .....well!.... nice.

At the bottom again
 We stopped at a great little cafe at Pleasant Point where, after a very pleasant lunch we were back on the bus heading back to Christchurch for our last supper in the noisiest pub I've ever been in. So noisy in fact that some of us old groovers gave up trying social chat and managed to dance the night away....Well! for a couple of hours anyway and then it was on the kerosene budgie winging it off across the ditch to Oz.
Pleasant Point

Pip & Fiona
To Pip and Fiona..... you were absolute gems and I would like to say thank you because without you two being at our beck and call the Adventure South Alps to Ocean Tour could not have been as enjoyable.

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Cheers and safe riding,
Jimmy Bee

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