December 29 – Bryan from Lauder

I woke up this morning feeling pretty good. I guess it was a 24 hour bug. After a good sized breakfast we headed out to collect our bicycle.

We had rented a tandem. We figured that a 150km ride over 3 days would be a good test of a tandem – we’ve been thinking about buying one. It’ll be harder for Bethany than for me – she has to give up control and learn to trust me. On a tandem, generally you want the largest person on the front.

The railway was built in 28 years starting in 1879, and moved a lot of sheep in its day. In 1962 one station loaded almost 200 000 sheep. It was converted to a trail in 1991.

Our first day consisted of 44 kilometers from Clyde to Lauder, mostly uphill. The grade was never too bad, but we did have one section with a long looping 2 percent grade.

The tandem was a lot slower than we expected. There were many factors contributing: it was a cheap rental and fairly bouncy, Bethany wasn’t pushing hard because of her hip, it’s been a while since we’ve done a lot of cycling, the road was covered with coarse gravel, we had a stiff headwind for part of it, and I crashed hard about halfway through. I probably dehydrated fairly badly yesterday and had very little to eat. I probably drank 5 litres of liquid on the trail, but it takes time to recover.

It was very hot (29 degrees) and dry today. This region only receives 300 mm of rain a year. Hopefully it will be a little cooler tomorrow. We may go curling to cool off.