By Loretta Henderson
I am sitting alone in my wet frosty tent, crossed legged, inside my sleeping bag with my bike light in my mouth. My rained soaked figureless cycling gloves are challenged to keep my fingers warm enough to type. Each morning my ice cold tent and warm sleeping bag beckons me to dream another dream.
Today I cycled 80 kilometers along the dirt road as part of The Mavora Lakes Cycling Route as spoken of in The Pedallers’ Paradise, A Cycle Touring Guide to New Zealand, South Island by Nigel Rushton. The dirt but doable Mavora Lakes road winds through the Snodown Conservation area and dead ends on Lake Whakatipuat at the The Walter Peak Farm Station on the southern side of the small city of Queenstown (population 6000), South Island, New Zealand.
The Livingston Mountains have been hugging me all day as I scribble Pandemic The Magic Bicycle round and round down the dirt road. Listening to music has become my crutch and my cycling rhythm has become more of a dance. A dance that will no doubt eventually lead me to crashing into a ditch but for now with a captive listening audience of many cows and sheep, I sing, pedal and dance on, grateful to be finally pedaling north in July to the southern hemispheres warmer climates before the onset of a rainy chilly New Zealand winter.
This is the New Zealand I had imagined. A spectacular snow capped mountainous backdrop highlighted by clear blue lakes and pristine rivers, the picturesque perfect location for my cycling opera debut. The Mavora Lakes road was washed out today in two places. The first river crossing Pandemic The Magic Bicycle and I rolled and splashed through the trickling brook in a rhythmic tango while singing to my new tunes. The second river crossing was beckoning to take me and Pavarotti The Musical Magic Bicycle for a cold wet last dance. Therefore, I removed my SPD dancing shoes and pushed Pandemic The Magic Bicycle through the water, the current peculated with a crisp sopranos’ harmonic good morning. I did not see anyone for 70 kilometers and at the end of the Congo line I found The TSS Earnslaw a restored vintage 1900’s steamer ferry boat to transport me and Pandemic The Magic Nautical Bicycle across Lake Whakatipuat into Queenstown, South Island, New Zealand.
The snow is accumulating up high on the mountains and every other person I have met in Queenstown is waiting to go skiing. It is time to Macarena my way to the temperate north western side of the Southern Alps mountain range before Pavarotti The Musical Magic Bicycle and I bellow ourselves into a ditch while pedaling and singing into the approaching ice storm.
Loretta Henderson grew up in Cobourg, Ontario and she is a graduate of the University of Western Ontario. A year and a half ago, what started as going to England to buy a bicycle has gotten out of hand for this cooky Canadian. A dozen countries later, thousands of pedal miles still beckon on the road ahead. A solo female storyteller with a penchant for finding the hilarity in the mundane, Loretta will knock you senseless with her wisdom and wit as she perches high on Pandemic The Magic Bicycle’s seat and pedals around the world…or at least that’s what a paid friend said, seconded by her Dad!
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