KIWI RIDER 10 2018 VOL.1 - Page 32

BEETROOT RED

At Murchison there used to be a decent café , now used by Roadworker staff only . I popped down to the Rivers café ; a fair crew of elderly women at the craft fair next door , and vanloads of retiree tourists . An abominable apfel strudel was devoured with a good coffee . Getting back on the bike I started it up , got helmeted and gloved , affixed glasses , mounted and turned to leave . I stall the bike . My left foot goes out to hold the full weight of the in-turning bike and luggage , and slips on the gravel . I plummet to the ground , fall to the side like a stone . The bike is on its left side , the clutch is bent back , petrol is pouring from the cap , and I have turned the colour of beetroot poo , inside my helmet . Suddenly there are three 70-year old women attempting to pick up the bike and myself . Horror and embarrassment . I get up , turn off the motor , pick the bike up and put it on its sidestand . Nothing broken , clutch is fine , there ’ s a small scratch on the bar end and the mirror and a bent indicator . That ’ s it . Good . I ’ m dying inside . I assure all and sundry I am alright , thank them , restart the bike and drive away slowly . A kilometre down the road , I stop , and seriously start to beat up on myself .
It takes a good few minutes and a stern talking to myself before I am approaching equilibrium . I try to straighten the indicator and the whole thing pulls off in my hand . Bugger . I get out my tool kit , but no amount of gaffer tape - that I carefully wound onto the handle of my screwdriver for just such a contingency – is going to hold the indicator on . I tape up the wires , count my blessings and call the Auckland crew . Sure , they can ship me a new one , it ’ ll be in Wellington tomorrow . Nothing more to be done . But I ’ m rattled . That was really stupid . But it happens , no one got hurt , move on , Peter . I did . A few minutes later I ’ m rolling up the beautiful roads towards Nelson and a relative ’ s hospitality , and a good bed . It ’ s a terrific ride after that , the niggles settle , and the bike is as fantastic as ever . Nelson Port is tiny , but it ’ s a great spot to sit and take stock . The South Island is almost complete ; it was certainly a faster tour than it was meant to be , but that ’ s down to some appalling weather chasing me up the island , and tomorrow I will be in Wellington - the bike will be repaired and I ’ ll see what to make of the return journey then . I visit my brother in law . We talk nonstop for eight hours . I haven ’ t seen him in a couple of years . I go to bed and pass out .