Arthur’s Pass to the Coast

Tues 20th September: Flock Hill to Hokitika – 137 km

Despite having just survived some of the ‘gnarliest’ conditions our guides had ever seen there was no time to reflect as the next morning we were up at first light to get our bikes serviced. Thankfully the weather system had passed and although it felt bitterly cold the skies were bright blue. I wrapped up in every layer I had and probably looked a little like the Michelin Man but after the previous days events I was taking absolutely no chances.

Andy in all his LayersClimbing in my layers this time!

We had been briefed about the descents the night before. We were warned to concentrate and were shown how to brake in a manner that would avoid our tires from blowing out. Cyclists had died on this route before so we needed to be very careful. I did my best to be as cautious as I could but I had no idea just how fast the roads down Arthur’s Pass would be. I clocked up speeds I had never come close to before on my way to ‘Death Corner’. It was spectacular.

Arthur's Pass, New ZealandCycling down the spectacular Arthur’s Pass

There were a few short steep climbs to the coast but all in all it was an enjoyable 130km. The views were incredible and the promised head wind never materialised. We even got to see the cheeky Kea, a large alpine parrot, found only in New Zealand’s mountains. By the time we made it to our Motel in Hokitika I was completely energised and was already looking forward to another day on the west coast.

A Kea on the roof of one of the support trucksA Kea on the roof of one of the support trucks

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