Day 20: May 8 – Paraparaumu to Whanganui*
Cycled Paraparaumu to Foxton, drove Foxton to Whanganui
Daily Distance = 66.51km, Trip Total = 650.89km, Today’s Climb = 212m
After a having a toasted bagel with peanut butter in the community kitchen at the hostel for breakfast I loaded up my bike and headed on the road.
I was able to pick up bike paths for the first 15km but after that I had no choice but to cycle along the shoulder of State Highway 1. This section of the highway is quite busy and the shoulder width ranged from almost a full car width to less than 1 foot and in some cases (specifically over bridges) there was no shoulder at all. Adding a semi-moderate yet persistent head wind I wasn’t spending much time taking in the scenery around me, instead I was focused on the road and my mirror.
The traffic remained busy on SH1 until Levin. On the outskirts of Levin I came across a fruit and veggie stand and was ecstatic to find some strawberries for only $1.50! This was my first strawberry sighting so I had to stop.
In Levin I was able to find side roads for a few km’s before rejoining SH1. SH1 north of Levin is quieter than south of Levin. I suspect some traffic turns off in Levin to head towards Palmerston North, but it is still a bit busier than I would have liked.
While on this stretch of the road I bumped into another tour cyclist, Andrew, who stopped and chatted for a bit. He is from New Zealand and is doing a short tour, taking in some of the windmills along the way.
Andrew informed me of a massive bridge that I was approaching and told me about a great cycle path beside the bridge.
Just before 2pm I arrived in Foxton where I met up with my parents and caught a lift to Whanganui.
Carrying a bit more of my gear today (notice two full panniers on my bike instead of just the one partly full pannier I previously had), and the persistent headwind, my legs were tired and I was ready for a break. It will be interesting to see how the ride goes when my bike is fully loaded – it might take some time for my legs/body to adjust to the extra gear!
In Whanganui we picked up some groceries, made dinner, spent some time in the hot tub and had a relaxing evening.