Even if you don’t leave for a 3-month trip on the last day of the year, December is usually packed with finishing up work and all kinds of Christmas drinks & dinners. On top of that we have been preparing for our trip to New Zealand and some last visits to the hospital that resulted in the best news and positive vibes ever to start off our journey. As we have grown quite customed to packing our bags for holidays and short trips, the preparation for our NZ trip mostly concerned cleaning, more cleaning and thinking about how to organize our stuff so that we stay below 30 kg check-in baggage each (including bike!) and 7 kg cabin baggage.
Equipment from the main land going to New Zealand like tents and bicycles has to be cleaned, due to regulations NZ does not allow for mud or straws on anything you bring into the country. They want to keep all the contaminated stuff out of NZ. Fortunately for us, we are having the warmest Christmas ever in NL, so we could happily clean our bikes outside (always my favourite chore). As I was still riding my bike to work until recently, and the weather had not always been great, some effort was needed to get the bike shining like brand-new. On the other hand, with a belt drive … easy peasy.
Ivar though, had to laboriously work on his chain and derailleur with a toothbrush but it surely paid off when my mom asked him whether he had a new bike. As for weighing the baggage, right now, still some puzzling is going on. With the bikes each ~20 kg (including protection material and cover), we count on 10 kg left for check-in baggage and 7 kg for cabin baggage. We realize that our cabin baggage will be a burden to carry around in an uncomfortable bike bag, and additionally, my handlebar bag contains my very heavy camera which is over 1 kg! But hey, most of the time we will be sitting on our asses anyway with 3 flights from Amsterdam to Dubai ( 7 hours), Dubai to Sydney (14 hours) and from Sydney to Christchurch (4 hours), and in between some waiting time at the airports. As we land just after midnight (New Year’s day!) in Dubai we might get the chance to see some fireworks there!
As for other preparation activities, we looked of course at the map of New Zealand, read stuff on internet, got acquinted with all our new equipment and gadgets and absorbed all the best advices from friends/colleagues/family who have already been there. Based on experiences from other cyclists and routes described in ‘Classic New Zealand Cycle trails’ we made a rough outline on where to go and which highlights for sure not to miss. Time will tell so stay tuned for more. Just 3 days before we go!