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.