Orderly supervisor cycles the length of the
country on “personal journey”
“It was an old man proving to himself that
he could still do a few things,” says Orderly
Supervisor John Reynolds about his 3000kms
Cape Reinga to Bluff bike ride.
John took 30 days, averaging 100kms a day, to cover the country
top-to-bottom, an epic journey he finished earlier this month. Now
approaching his 60th birthday, John had been a triathlete in his
younger days before knee injuries forced him to retire 28 years ago.
“It was a personal journey. It proved a couple of things for me,”
says John. “One of those was that people, if they put their minds
to it, can achieve a lot of things. I knew that from my triathlon days
but if you want to achieve things it’s about putting your mind to it
and doing it. People say they haven’t got the time, but you have if
you really want to do something.
“The other pleasing things for me were losing 20kgs through the
training and my knees being ok. I thought my knees were knackered
but they were no worse at the end than they were at the beginning.”
John first thought about doing the Cape Reinga-to-Bluff trip 10
years ago when a cycling friend in Australia brought it up. Last
year the Tour Aotearoa event (when 600 riders did the length-of-
the-country ride) piqued John’s interest again and he made the
decision to go for it.
“I wanted to do it so I bought the Tour Aotearoa route pdf online,”
he says. “Then my wife and I did the Timber Trail as a prep, and
my knees got through that ok. But as the time drew nearer I still
hadn’t set the dates. So I told myself to stop procrastinating and
booked my return flight from Invercargill for the beginning of March
and it was all on.”
John completed the trip, with his cycling companion Phil, on a
$600 Bike Barn bike that was 5 years old.
“I had no issues with it whatsoever, popped a spoke and had three
flat tyres, that was it.”
John’s favourite part of the trip was the West Coast Wilderness
Trail around Hokitika on the South Island.
“It’s not the toughest trail in the world but it’s beautiful and varied
with a lot of different stuff to take in, plus you could get your wife
or your children and go out and do it. It’s that kind of terrain, just
Another highlight was an impromptu helicopter flight.
“We left Ross heading for Harihari on Day 24 and there was a slip
on the road. It was going to close the road for some time, taking a
few days to clear. So we decided to take a helicopter instead. We
hired this helicopter, it took us 25kms down the road, dropped us
off and we were away again. It was pretty neat.”
John says completing the ride has inspired him.
“I don’t know what the next thing is but there will definitely be
something now. There were easy days and hard days. There are
an awful lot of hills in New Zealand but it was all worth it.”
And if you’re thinking to yourself that biking the length of New
Zealand is something you would like to do John says go for it.
“Give it a go. Get the pdf and follow it, don’t take shortcuts, don’t
take the easy option and go on the main roads. The back roads
and tracks are where a lot of the beautiful stuff is. Take it all in.”