The Rurus

Adventure Before Dementia

Tag: tandem (page 1 of 8)

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.

29/3/17 I Love Chocolate

Who doesn’t love chocolate?

An early morning drop off to the airport for another Te Araroa Trail walker Rob, who completed the whole distance by foot.

We met Rob half way down the North Island and then played ‘cat and mouse’ on route till Wellington.

If you want to be fascinated by his keenness to capture life at it’s most starriest … check out some of his night shots of the solar system over New Zealand on his fb page photos.

‘I have chocolate’ was his signage used to hitch a ride from the deep south to Christchurch. We ate what was left over so as to make room for the three books we donated to him so as to de-clutter some more!

Keeping us in focus to work smarter, not harder was welcomed. Adventure before dementia … eating heaps of Caremello naturally!

Cheers Rob, loved the visit.

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.

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


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!).



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.







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.






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.

20/9/16 Bridgewater to Lunenburg: A Lazy Routine Is Lethal.

It’s been +14 days since we disembarked the tandem. Hard to beleive if you say, “it is was just under half a month ago!”

As equally as there has been lot’s of reflection of what was; there has been lot’s of daydreaming on what is to be. The resting of bodies merged into a little lethargy purely because the routine of cycling has gone. The 6-7 hours spent rotating a pedal, poof! Sure it’s been filled up with tiki touring, new friendships and conversations however, we are creatures of movement under our own steam.

Expanding the gut or losing the fitness creeps in and before you know it, plump! A lazy routine is lethal.

We know our inside reflects our outside therefore our mind pictures have had to be reinvigorated with our motto – dream it; design it; and do it.


Walking down the hill was the easy bit as was along the footpath dodging workmen busily doing road construction and pavement construction. The puffy bit was the climb up to our accommodation. And that wasn’t carrying any weight!

It was the motivation we needed to re-frame habits going forward, more movement with perspiration.

The ‘no beer and chips’ has been firmed up in writing with an Accountability Coach. Only for three months as a start as it’s about taking small steps to create a more permanent habit. A tattoo of a french fry or stubbie bottle would not go with one of a hamburger!

Our tourist visit to Lunenburg had movement – park the car up on a hillside out of town and walk; cups of tea versus a coffee + two sugars; and find a nice spot in the drizzle to eat our prepared cut lunch (in the car looking at the dashboard was kind of okay, we had to walk up to it).

dsc06723-1280x853Lunenburg is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home port to the Bluenose II – a tall ship. Although out to sea today, we did get up close to some other pirate ships docked wharfside. Wandering the quaint shops was relaxing and eventful. Our accent continues to solicit conversations and meeting a mother who back packed New Zealand to discover she was pregnant down under had us spend a hour syncronising experiences. No, we are not pregnant here!






The road sign with New Zealand on it had us pull up to stop and stare.


It was a sign! Except, there is no going back.

Off to find some of that gel that burns bum cheeks for the legs! It’s been 12+ hours since the puff this morning.

19/9/16 Halifax to Bridgewater: Certainly A Treat To See It’s Population At Play.


Mahone Bay greeted us with scare crow like mannequins affixed to a road barrier. Some of them resembled ‘Chucky’ from the horror movie.

dsc06617-1280x853However, as we drove into the township itself, front doors, front porches and front lawns had heaps of them on display. It took us a while before we saw a real person to confirm the place was indeed inhabited.






Huge oval and round orange pumpkins adorned a shop roof. They have been harvested for both pumpkin pie or to be carved up with eyes, nose and a squared toothed mouth in readiness for Halloween night.


Yep, shops have stocked up on all the paraphenalia you could possibly imagine to rob you of your hard earnt dollar for the one night show case, Halloween. Sadly it’s gradually taken hold in New Zealand, it’s something we chose to ignore.


I remember once when we owned and operated our childcare business from our residence, all the kids who attended thought we would be an easy sweet or three when they came knocking. Giving them a bunch of silver beet vegetable had looks of bewilderment on faces at the time … grins on ours naturally. We never had as many kids knocks on the door the following year!

What was first a trick arriving into Mahone was certainly a treat to see it’s population at play.

Anyone ever eaten pumpkin pie?

Makes one crave for a good ole fashioned mince and cheese one.





18/9/16 Halifax Home Stay Day3: A Balance Of Purpose With Humourous Sisterhood Banter.


Our homestay hosts had us join a luncheon with an all women motor cyclist group called ‘Motor Maids.’

We got to again meet up with Cheryl (a previous homestay in Moncton) and Pearl.

The MM’s parked up chariots were impressive and their camaraderie a balance of purpose with humourous sisterhood banter.


How we have ended up here was because of a conversation with a fellow Motor Maid Christine we met back in Marathon. She advertised that the Rurus were cycling across the continent and if anyone wished to avale a bed and feed, that would be awesome.

That one interaction ripple effect has exposed us to folk with huge hearts who have.

To meet the extended group of Motor Maids was a bonus of being at the right place at the right time. They are certainly a cool bunch of women in leathers.

For our homestay hosts Sandra and Denise, another fantastic experience of hospitality we are most certainly humbled by.


A huge THANK YOU from us.

When you come visit us in New Zealand, let us take you for a blat across our landscape the Rurus style, on a tandem.

It’ll be a blast.

Everyone gets to peddal!


19/9/16 Halifax Home Stay Day 2: In Idil Spit For Filk To Sing Lidly!

Fall is coming and nearly came faster!



The wetness underfoot as I stepped out onto the deck nearly had me fall down the steps and into the covered pool … thank goodness that there was a fence in-between the pool and pond if I had or I could have ended up with the ducks lazily rippling the surface water where steam was rising from the pond!


Crimson’s tinge the trees, their journey to winter hibernation has begun. Sandra and Denise have a lovely spot where swimmers now lay folded in drawers and skates are now at the ready for when the water turns to ice. What happens to life below? How do they keep warm to survive the encasement?


dsc06529-1280x853It was back into downtown Halifax for some chores before Sandra took us onto the Peninsula to Peggy’s Cove. It’s a real tourist haven destination and photo bombing couldn’t be avoided! The Lighthouse was once a Post Office, on a good weather day everything went by sea; on a bad weather day everything went by air. Being reminded to stay off the black rocks so as not to become fish fodder was frequent, both in signage and from instruction from Sandra.








We drove passed a memorial monument where 229 names are etched into stone. They were passengers on Swissair Flight 111 that smashed into the shallows killing all on board back in 1998. The force of the crash made houses tremble on shore, a sombre part of the landscape history.dsc06566-1280x853

Marinating a chicken by sticking a can of beer up it’s butt was a first for us. It was all in preparation for Sandra and Denise’s friends who rocked up to join us for a dinner party and ukulele jam session. They were good … so was the beer butt plugged marinated chicken!


Pronouncing the word “deck” with our New Zealand accent sounded like “dick” to them. “Let’s go stand out on the slippery dick” they teased me with taking the piss out of me pronounciation!

All part of the ridicule one got for being the only male being present as more tunes echoed around the pond lake mist rising.

In idil spit for filk to sing lidly!

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