Today’s ride started with a ferry ride across the harbour, where the beautiful, clear skies lifted my spirits immensely. There was only one other passenger, as everyone else was heading in the opposite direction.
When I disembarked the ferry, there were thirty or so people lining up along the ramp. I wasn’t keen to take the stairs, so I said to the lady at the front of the line “excuse me, I need to use the ramp, I’m on wheels”. She crossed her arms, didn’t budge and snarled “yeah, good luck with that”. I wanted to crush her with my bicycle, but I chose the high road instead. I patiently waited as all thirty passengers shoved past me. I smiled out of politeness and they gave me glares and snickers. If they actually gave me Snickers bars, I wouldn’t have minded, but I was annoyed that a group of strangers would band together and collectively shun me.
I know that there will always be kind people and not so kind people everywhere I go. An isolated incident like that shouldn’t make me write off an entire city. But for today at least, I had enough of Auckland.
I carried on with my ride, I was yawning the whole time, as I didn’t get enough sleep again. It was only a 60km ride, so there wasn’t much to it. Before I could get to my coffee and snacks at the half way mark, I started feeling really down. I’m not an emotional person or anything, but I just wanted to cry. I didn’t know why, I was probably just tired and my mind was playing tricks on me. It was odd because weatherwise, it was a perfect day, all sunshine and warmth glowing down on me.
I reached Silverdale, at the 30km mark and had a cream and custard twist with an iced coffee. A kind man offered me a lift and we bagged on Auckland for a little while. Lynette (from the gift shop yesterday) warned me that the Google maps route planned ahead was riddled with hills, so I opted for the coastal route instead. It turned out to be a good move because there was a lovely walk and cycle way, stretching all the way to the beach.
I had plenty of time, so I parked my bike at the surf club, took off my shoes, socks and leg warmers, then headed to the water. It was icy cold, but very refreshing, so I walked along the beach and collected some seashells.
I did get around to figuring out why I was feeling so glum, and in hindsight, it’s extremely obvious. I was burnt out. Not physically, that was my primary concern for this trip, so I prepared myself adequately beforehand. It was the touchy feely side I tend to forget about, that needed some attention. I’ve made a fairly drastic change, going from a 9-5 job and having a super organised life (with a diary for my social activities and a seven day meal plan prepared every Saturday morning) to a life on wheels. I’ve packed and unpacked between hostels twelve times now and I never know what my next place will look, smell or feel like. Each day I go through the usual ups and downs on the road, check in, upload Strava, shower and feast. I’m usually excited to meet fellow travellers in my accommodation and prepare routes for the next day. I have almost no wind down activities before bed, which explains why my sleep quality has started to drop off. Before then, being able to effortlessly fall asleep in any situation was my mild superpower.
I felt much lighter after having this revelation, and conveniently it was lunch time. Normally I wouldn’t stop at a place called Alley Katz Café, but despite the poor spelling, I saw some super comfortable looking couches in the front. I ordered a burger and it was awesome, just what I needed to power me through the last 27km.
The last 18km followed State Highway, which was not very cycle friendly due to roadworks and insufficient road shoulders. I realised that when I mention road shoulders, you probably don’t know what I’m talking about, as I haven’t taken pictures of any. Here’s a sample of one of the unpleasant road shoulders from today’s ride. Basically my bike goes between the kerb and the white line, and I walk to the left of it. Sometimes the left hand side is muddy, steep rock or not wide enough to walk on. The white thing on the grass is a flattened hard hat with tyre tread marks all over it. This road was busy and it was going to be my primary route for tomorrow’s ride too. Luckily I made it through safely, but I’m going to have to weigh up my options for the next two rides.