Adventure Before Dementia

While the bodies still can and we still have our marbles!

Tag: Cycle (page 1 of 8)

10/6/18 Chew It, Chew It, Chew It

CHEW IT, CHEW IT, CHEW IT

Cycling the length of New Zealand to raise money for a stranger on a hospital waiting list.

Written and illustrated by Brent Ruru.

 

Finished the manuscript to the next book, illustrations in progress. Thought I would give you a glimpse as to the story captured, weaved and hopefully, not to long before ready to share.

INTRODUCTION

“Bite off more than you can chew and then, chew it”

There were two details I remember.

Cameron our son stating the sentence and, what was said.

“Wouldn’t it be cool to cycle the length of New Zealand.”

It was 2004. He was fourteen at the time.

I had just finished reading No Opportunity Wasted written by Phil Keoghan and was working on identifying my eight steps to getting the most out of life, as challenged by Phil. Thanks to Cameron, the Test Your Limits step now had a purpose. And meaning.

Cycle the length of New Zealand to raise money for a stranger on a hospital waiting list.

That’s it.

Decided.

Writing it down made it official. It gave it substance. More so, a focus.

Naturally, the voice on one of the shoulders was having a great time playing on the thoughts that we were biting off more than we could chew.

However, the other voice on the other shoulder was equally whispering, “chew it, chew it, chew it!”

When instinct pushes us to explore, we push boundaries outside ourselves; when we test personal limits, we push boundaries within us.

And so, we did.

Chew it.

All the other details are captured as follows.

Whatever your boundary, push beyond it.

The chew is worth it.

 

5/5/18 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.

2/3/2018 A 71 Year Old Engelbert

We met Engelbert off the plane having flown from Germany.  Part of his luggage did not arrive – his bike.

Engelbert had come down under to cycle New Zealand.  From Christchurch to the West Coast; up the coast and then inland to Nelson/Picton.  Across Cook Straight by ferry to Wellington and then a northern route to Auckland.

We belong to Warm Showers – a global tribe who host fellow cyclists offering a spot on a lawn to pitch a tent or a spare space on the floor to inflate an air bed.

They can doss down for a night or two – and as the tribe name reads, have a warm shower.

The currency of payment is to share conversation about travel experiences.  Or be a guest out there on the planet and be hosted by the tribe.

We were Engelbert’s introduction to Aotearoa and some kiwiana like a meat pie, a sausage roll, a custard square and weet bix.  Not vegemite, but certainly encouraged to, further up the Zealand.

He was also happy that we didn’t live upside down!  More so, that his bike arrived the day he took his first pedals.

I rode with Engelbert out of Christchurch two days ago, around the back of the air port, passed McLeans Island and Orana Park.  More for to help him get used to staying left as rightside up above the equator, they drove on the opposite side of the road.

He swung a right when we reached Old West Coast Road, I swung left. After a hongi, hug and farewell salutations of departure.

And then he became a speck heading westward.

His yesterdays facebook update …

“Yeah, I did it!
82 km, 1470 meters. The hardest day of the New Zealand tour!”

Engelbert rode from Darfield (or just beyond) to Arthurs Pass.

Quite exceptional for a fella who is 71 years of age.

A meeting of a total stranger with passion to continue to live life to it’s abundance. Inspiring.

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?!!!!!!

15/10/17 Cripes, have the bodies aged since then too!

All those in favour, say “Ru can be the first rider” It’s what happened when I was taking a leak … to arrive back at the Atlas Gentech corporate tent and be told, “Ru, you are the first rider!”

BClaire and I were making up a team of four from Alarm Solutions to participate in a 6 hour relay mountain bike challenge.  The other two riders were Richard Jones & Mike Fairbrother.  We each took turns to pedal at speed the 11 km route racing against the clock to complete as many laps as we could in the 6 hours.

With 1,650 others sharing the same track, it was absolute chaos as the the bunch started however, as all shapes of size, weight, fitness or not snailed the first lap, riders spread out in a figure of eight to allow for a much easier pump of the metal between the legs.

The last time we were involved in a corporate team wearing sponsorship was way way back in the dragon boat days of yesteryear.  This day flooded back thoughts of those we played, drank and partied with … where ever they are on the planet nowadays!

Cripes, have the bodies aged since then too!

Not so the comaradery of fellow bikers today though … it was alive with bragging & banter bullshit like all those in uniform should abide by.

Cheers Gwyneth, Richard, CJ and Mike for allowing the Ru’s to partake.

A great day that tis the start to the adventure season ahead.

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!

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.

21/11/16 Waipapakauri to Ahipara – 14 kms: Games On … 2018.

As we walked back out onto the beach off the ramp, a glance to the right in silence with a nod to the skies and under the breath, safe journey today Lasse was spoken.

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We met another trekker staying at the camp from Auckland, James.  His encounter of 90 Mile Beach was similar with getting a lift after the 30 km stretch.  Again, just physically hard.  Then there were a number of instances whilst walking along the high tide mark where an incoming wave reached above his waist nearly dragging him out to sea.  He came close to flipping the button on his personal location beacon he was that fearful.

When caught short like James was, there isn’t a foot hold to grab onto.  Once fully coned sand dunes, some of them are now cliffs due to sea erosion.  Alive clumps of grasses lay on the beach where they have tumbled from and tree roots stick out from the face.  Fence posts and wire hang like tight ropes along large parts of the coastline to.  If you think the oceans aren’t rising, come walk this part of the country and check it out for yourself.

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It was a further 14 kms of beach walking before arriving at Ahipara.  A clear sky and open sea with a slight on shore wind had gliding sea gulls patrolling from above.  Traffic was busier as houses became more detailed.  The landscape rose up too.  We were too fast for the tide sometimes chasing our feet even though our walking was more of a plod.  Coming off the ramp, there was a group hug of achievement.

Just before that though, another glance down the beach in silence.

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Ashley, Meg and John headed for the camping ground with arrangements made to catch up with our trekking family tomorrow.  For us we had touched base with someone we first met ten years ago, in Ahipara when we cycled the length of New Zealand in the opposite direction – Kerry Rolleston.  Her invitation to stay was sincerely accepted and greatly appreciated.

Removing the socks revealed bottoms of feet that weren’t pretty.  The raw flesh under the rotting was so sore, a re-think of strategy going forward was on the cards.

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For Sale – back pack with full trekking gear (tent with ripped seam; two cooking stoves; sleeping mats and bags; metal pots and water filter; with sundries), boots and poles.  Used but in happy condition to a motivated idiot not knowing what the hell they get themselves into.  Owners going overseas to lie on a tropical beach as soon as sold.  All offers considered!

But the evening conversation had with Kerry over a lovely home cooked meal allowed minds to wander in thought and forget the aches below the table.  Ten summers of swapping toasting and roasting stories all ending up with the hatching of perhaps re-walking the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage walk in Spain.

We know of two people who would be keen (Sharon Meredith and Mark Hogan).  And now three (Kerry Rolleston).

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Games on … 2018.

And for the record, it wasn’t wine talk!

The strategy for where to from here regarding the TA, two more nights of wine bottles to be corked.

Something will eventuate we are sure!

3/10/16 New Jersey: Everything Was Going Well Until We Heard The Screech & Clunk.

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Our eyes were affixed to the mobile phone trying to determine which direction to go to find the streets we drove through last evening.  Kevin had sourced us some bikes and we had taken off on them for a blat, the first since we disembarked Fatty 29 (our tandem!).

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dsc07458-1280x853Just like the good old times, bum on bike seat, rotating knees, firm grip of handle bars, head scanning the ground infront for smooth terra firma, and no weight being towed.  Or in Claire’s case, being pushed!  Everything was going well until we heard the screech and clunk to look up and see another cyclist in a heap on the road having been knocked off by the car now stationary.

We scrambled.  Lifting the bike off the chap groaning underneath was the easy part.  Shouting my name and so he was conscious of who I was, it was a flood of A-B-C first aid administration simultaneiously as Claire directed traffic that had slowed to gawk and the driver calling the ambulance.

Once calmed down, the externals were grazes with some claret.  His breathing became more regular and every effort was made to try to have him remain lying down to no avail.  He got up and rubbed his leg to limp over to his bike now with a buckled front wheel and pleading with the fella to wait for the ambulance went on deaf ears.

He just wobbled up the street litterally, pushing his bike that also had a wobble!  Huh … and the driver was dumb founded!

A Police car showed up and we pointed in the direction of the cyclist so off they went in pursuit; then the ambulance and the same thing; and then two more Police cars to question us.  Because we didn’t actually see the accident, no statement was taken.

The cop pointed us in the direction we were googling for earlier, we got back on the bikes and pedalled off.

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Old photographs along the Ocean Avenue boardwalk intermingled with modern day art.  Being a week day, the crowds were sparse and no one was roller blading the boardwalk in stubbie shorts with top off jiggling to the music being played in big ear phone ear muffs!  I’ve watched too many movies!!

A lovely time from a bike seat, where city meets the sand and the future has been crafted from the past.  It was cool.

Police escort and all.

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