The Ruru's

T.I.M.E. Habits • Minimalists • Travel Enthusiasts

Category: Tandem Cycling (page 1 of 15)

6/10/19 Mr or Mrs, Clip Round the Ear, or Kick Up the Bum

Who remembers the days of yesteryear when as a kid, you left the house when the street lights were switched off, and then returned home before the street lights were turned on?

They were the good old days of being fed by mates parents; where you called them “Mr so and so” or “Mrs so and so”; and where they were allowed to give you a clip around the ear for being a cheeky little shit or misbehaving that warranted corporal punishment.

We miss those days.

So, today, we decided to re-live part of the past. Or close to it anyways.

South Brighton Spit lies across from Shag Rock on the Sumner side of the estuary. You can cycle there along the north side of the Avon River. It was an open landscape canvas most of the way. Where life once was. And now isn’t.

Apart from bird life.

Following the coast line to enter Bottle Lake Forrest, we re-visted our old caravan site at Spencer Holiday Park. All traces of the Rurus were definitely gone. As were the poplar trees that sheltered us from the Easterly winds.

Leaving the house on the bikes, it was six hours later before we disembarked back at now home.

Still time left before the street lights come on too.

However, no “Mr or Mrs”, clip round the ear or kick up the bums.

We do what we do not to escape life … but for life not to escape us.

Everyone welcome to join us. It’s an open invitation.

5/9/19 Home Visit Tandem Blat

Hah, our sister Awhina was home … on our turf!

To attend a 50th milestone birthday – BClaire’s

What better way for her to remember it by, than by getting her kitted up and take her for a tandem blat on a tandem.

Into Christchurch city, around Hagley Park and return.

Errrrrr, no inbetween pictures because of the torrential pissing down of rain!

Learnt something about her today. She doesn’t like people hoiking spit. Still not after the dozen or so times neither. Happens when one is on the front! Something she learnt, ahem!

Getting drenched, riding through puddles, undulation that vibrates through the arse … quality time spent together.

Hah, and she thought we would just be sitting around!

Now she is nervous about what’s next. After she can walk better and thawed out.

I’m excited.

Beyond Vision Loss

Claire and I recently signed up to volunteer for the Foundation for the Blind and, take visually impaired members out for a ride on the back of a tandem.

Our first ride had us pedal a ‘stoker’ (that’s what they call the pillion passenger) from Lincoln to Little River, on a dis-used converted railway line connection, now a cycle rail trail.

My member had never ridden a tandem before, let alone the distance being approx. 44 kms one way, and so was absolutely thrilled to make it the whole way.  A grin of achievement – a grimace of a sore bum however, it was worth it.

Claire’s member rode both to and from Little River meaning over 80 kms on the bike seat.  So did Claire actually making up the tandem numbers!  Her member was as equally euphoric.

I rode the tandem bike back without passenger for moral support.

This would have to have been one of the best micro-adventures we have ever involved ourselves with.

To enrich.  To be enriched.

4/11/17 Ya Gotta Love Our Country – New Zealand

It was a repeat ride from Diamond Harbour to Lyttelton and return … this time on solo bikes.

Ya just gotta love our country …

28/10/17 Now, Where the Fbeepk Did We Put the Butt Butter?

It was back through the tunnel to Lyttelton where chocolate bacon resides, with the Fatty 29 – our tandem.  And our cycling buddies, Randall and Maree Grenfell.

We had been for a couple of smallish togetherness rides on the flatlands of the city … it was time to return to some undulation to increase the training to get thigh burn.  Preparation for the much longer upcoming mountainbike ride adventure next month.  Where most sane folk ride the distance over four days … we are going to be doing it in one!

From one side of the harbour Lyttelton to the other, Diamond Harbour we rode.

It took us back to Canada and stirred reflective memories that we still hold dear … stay upright; try not to get collected by metal vehicles sharing the narrow bits; communicate the call when changing gears to be easier or slower; watch for shit on the road; don’t run over dead things R.I.P. on the road; and when you see an upcoming squashed remains – take a breath before you get to it versus when upon it; take the piss out of each other; remember the host and friendship connections made and wonder what they would be doing; return a smile and salutation when passers by look at you like you are two idiots doing what we were on our Fatty; eat a scone and have a cuppa at the destination Diamond Harbour.

It was a great feeling to be on and out doing it.  One way, only twenty something kilometres.  The legs had worked fine.

Return back to Lyttelton was the same … 58kms around our own terra firma right on our back door step was just magic.

No chocolate bacon today.   By the time we arrived back to our car, we had missed the bulk of the Saturday market.

This is our new training ride … everyone welcome for a repeat blat next weekend :0)

Now, where the f..k did we put the butt butter cream?!!!!!!

21/6/17 Find Your Purpose …

Training has started with a blat on the Fatty 29 tandem last Saturday and a blat on the mountain bikes on the Sunday.

It’s been a while since butts rode in tandem … all the technique was still there, yay!

And what better way to be inspired when we stopped for a rest, to be reminded of why we do the adventuring before dementia!

Sunday, minus 2 degrees celcius … the smiles say it all.

Find your purpose, your ‘why’ … and magnetise towards that.  Plus 4 degrees in the sun was enough to magnetise toward, ahem!

30/4/17 Becoming an Orphan

On the 31st March 2017, my father passed.

I became an ‘orphan’.

It’s been a long tough year and a bit.

We had been at peace with him closing his eyes for a wee while as the quality of his life had degenerated to being bed ridden most days or on a good day, propped up-right in a lounger with head hung down toward his chest, asleep.  Sadly, dementia is a terrible existence to have to bare witness to.

The heartfelt gratefulness toward the nurses, doctors and more so my Step-Mum Margaret whom provided for my Dad in the most exemplary manner right up till the shut eye is solace to know that they would have helped with his happily ever after, where ever that may be.

Actually, I do know.  It’s on a hillside overlooking the Koukourarata (Port Levy) harbour on Banks Peninsula.  I helped dig the grave.  I also helped my older brother David with getting out when he couldn’t from the depths after his turn at digging!  Hah, I had his back.  Or more like a foot hold!

The spot is tranquil, serene and my Dad’s Tūrangawaewae – his place to stand.  Or now, his place to rest.

The beauty of such an event was the coming together of family to celebrate his life.  Especially those young nephew and niece family members that were just face book relationships and whom I never knew personally.  A dysfunctional family does that.  So too a sibling with issues who carries a pet rock, unfortunately.

Nonetheless, stories of yesteryear flowed.  Bad and good.  Whether a tear of sadness or a tear of laughter.  Reflective and re-framing.  Noses rubbed.  Some rubbed off!  Certainly, a transitional experience.

My extraordinary memory will forever be the fortunate experience of sharing a tandem with my Dad.  Watching him hobble (he had had five hip replacements so was lop-sided) down to the ebbing waves on the shores of Sumner Beach on the east coast of the South Island; to then rotate the pedals across the flatlands of the Canterbury Plains; to free wheel the down-hill sections of the South Island Alps backbone to the shores of Greymouth with the might of the Tasman Sea on the West Coast.

Made priceless with him telling one and all that he had cycled the ‘Coast to Coast’ when in fact, he rode what he pushed himself to do and then we threw the bike on the back of the van to drive some way’s up the road to then have another session of staying upright.  Probably only 30 kms all up!

My Dad once gave me a ‘pounamu’ pennant that had an imprint of an Owl inscribed into the greenstone.  In Maori our name ‘Ruru’ means Morepork which is a native New Zealand Owl.  Before I gave the same pennant to my daughter Claire on her 21st birthday, I had the exact imprint tattooed on my right arm.

Being a minimalist, the tattoo has more personal depth to remember him by as our adventures to explore the planet will continue, eventually.  Better than anything materialistic such as a medal or a wooden stick.

And, made extra significant when my son Cameron, daughter Claire, older brother David and his wife Janice, nephew Morgan Moa and niece Rebecca Moa too followed suit and had a similar tattoo inked on their person.  Dad was so proud of them.

My half-brother John once gave me a piece of wisdom that become a mantra I’ve carried with me and lived by since all those summers ago.  “Once your Dad is gone, it doesn’t matter what you want to say or what you don’t say, it’s too late.”  Sure, I banged heads with me ole man, who doesn’t?  But at the end of his days, we had a close relationship as any true son would have with his Dad.  I just didn’t need to keep feathering an ego every day with face book postings that was more about ‘look at me with Dad, I’m the favourite’ to solicit ‘likes’ or smiley face images.

Everything that needed to be said to him, was said.  Everything that was said by him to me, was said.

That’s the lesson I want to share with you.  Own what you want to say; own what you don’t want to say.  Do both before you become an orphan.  And when you do become an orphan, let go and move on to leave the departed at peace versus continuing to use their name for further vanity purposes.

Except for when brother David returns to New Zealand of course and we play our golf game like we used to do as father and sons.  Dad will no doubt be listening for the bullshit banter and get mentioned in there amongst it!

I’ll miss my Dad but don’t stress.  The step-side of the family have adopted me.  Yay!  Something lost was something gained.

Let the arguments begin as to who the favourite step-sister is.  Will come down to the best present on Christmas Day.  As family.

Cheers Dad, you tough old bugger.  Now may you R.I.P.

25/3/17 The Blind Leading the Sighted

A couple of weeks ago, we were invited to speak at a Mentee/Mentors evening for The Blind Foundation.

The contact there had heard us speak a month earlier whereby we shared some tools around goal setting and how that contributed to our adventure before dementia travel lifestyle – especially the tandem ride across Canada.  She wanted us to share our dream it, design it and do it 3-3-5-3 Best Year Ever tool to help participants focus on their dreams they want to realize.  Excuse the pun but they have an amazing sense of humour when able sighted folk mistakenly refer to anything to do with the ability to see things and they can’t!

There was no point in showing our power point image presentation.   Instead, we adjusted our narrative to use more descriptive words and worked hard to describe the illustrations we wanted them to picture in their minds.  It went well.

Whilst mingling with them and their guide dogs afterwards, we learnt volunteers take some of the group for cycle rides on the back of tandems.  This resonated with us somewhat and how easy was it for us to sign up to be a volunteer a couple of mornings a month.

One couple present had a tandem.  With Chris (fully sighted) on the front and Nicola (visually impaired) the stoker on the back, Chris was not confident on sharing the tar seal with other traffic.  With a goal to travel around New Zealand to ride as many of the off-road mountain tracks as possible, they hadn’t yet taken to some of the mountain bike tracks in our own back yard, Christchurch.

We arranged that we would chaperone them around McLean’s Island mountain bike track and give them some coaching on manoeuvring a tandem with all the bells and whistles of staying up right; negotiating an incline and/or decline; navigate sharp bends; and slalom the natural obstacles of a protruding rock or tree root or stump.  Nicola warned that coarse language is sometimes necessary to remind the fella on the front of the pillion passenger on the back.

The experience was one of the blind leading the sighted.

Their tenacity to get out and blat the ten kilometres was beautiful.  And with only one swear word moment!

They have a re-kindled enthusiasm to get on with their training because they took the leap of faith.  In us.  But more so in themselves.

Our reward, to watch Chris and Nicola achieve something they have procrastinated in doing for however long.  We couldn’t but help rouse the ducts to well up and weep a smidgeon.

Damn those tears of happiness.  Now we had impaired vision!

Well done Chris and Nicola.  The New Zealand mountain bike trails beckon.

24/9/16 Yarmouth Layover: Living Loving Laughing Always, The Rurus.


A cold wind chilled the bones when stepping outdoors. It was booting it in from the North, an Artic breeze. The sun was shining and there was certainly warmth when you found some form of sheild. Downtown Yarmouth had music heard from the pavement, they have attached speakers to the front of buildings all along the street above shops. Dancing like no one was watching to the bellow of an Eagles song is what we did. Okay, Claire wiggled her hips where I was full on dancing! More like prancing more than anything.





A farmers market with local produce; Claire tried apple pie whiskey which tasted like apple pie, except it was whiskey. We had spotted the freshly baked chunky steak and mushroom pie stall. The lips moistened at just the sight of them however, they lost out to a Bison Bagel Burger. That was lunch with a capital ‘burp!’




The Informtion Centre didn’t have any brochures on Portland, Maine in the US. Funny that. They did have a google maps of Canada on a 42inch screen that we could enlarge; we traced our route ridden to re-live aspects of the experience and from experience, that will not change for years to come. What did come was the question as to when does the adventure end and our just being on holiday begin?

It kind of has. The photo’s we snap nowadays are lovely with accompanying blog posts. Reminders still of our touch points with the landscape, nature or humans. There will always be something to take a photo of or blog about. I’ve loved both the click of the camera button AND the clicking of the keyboard keys.

Even if there wasn’t a ruddy Moose seen in the raw!

Also at the Info Centre, there was a bunching of television screens on a wall rolling over all types of pics of the land of the Maple Leaf. We sat and watched with heads darting up and down and sideways to ensure the eyes could affix to the screen shots being displayed. The only words echoed were, “we’ve been there and seen that, remember?”

Can you imagine the ‘wow’ emotional feeling that ran through the bodies. There were plenty as we gazed. They are the best emotions. Collect those and we experience some form of contentment or fulfillment. Being happy. Life that has had purpose, substance and meaning.

Not even a chilling wind could steal that feeling from us as we wandered toward home.


Arrrr, home. Back to New Zealand for a rest! Even that beckons a new adventure with no house or car to return to. Pfft, we have our tent and tandem!

Before that though, we have some friends to catch up with in New York that we met nine years ago on a Fijian Island in the Pacific – Joan and Kevin. Facebook has allowed us to stay in touch. Now after all these years, there will be a physical touch. I hope I wrote that well.


Many thanks to those wherever you are who have made our cycle across Canada by tandem an unforgettable experience – whether you supported from afar or in the flesh. It’s been one hell of a journey. A very enjoyable one.

Happening upon a little fashion pin ‘Live Love Laugh’ concludes blogging from Canada: Life is short. Break the RULES, FORGIVE quickly, KISS slowly, LOVE truely, LAUGH uncontrollably, and NEVER REGRET anything that made you SMILE.

Or GRIMACE.  That bit I’ve added in!

Living Loving Laughing always
The Rurus

23/9/16 Digby to Yarmouth: I Think I Will Leave It At That!

Route 203 of Nova Scotia had it all!


Road conditions like Newfoundland; squashed Porcupines like New Brunswick; patriotic loyalists like Quebec; inland lakes like Ontario; barns like Manitoba; deer crossing the road like Saskatchewan; horse and cows like Alberta; and … and … a Black Bear on the roadside like British Columbia.


It was just unreal that this stretch of roadway in Canada that we drove today in solitude of other traffic (it was off the beaten track) had every experience from every Province we encountered when cycling across.

It’s hard to describe why this happened; it leaves me dumbfounded as to what to write, how to commute to words the surreal, even freakiness about it.

We are now in Yarmouth till Monday when we board a ferry and depart Canada for the US.

Haven’t seen a Moose … but we saw a Bear.

I think I will leave it at that.

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