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Tales from the Road: A Brompton Adventure Story

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  • By Ben Cowie
  • Posted in Travel
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Tales from the Road: A Brompton Adventure Story

Follow Ben and Caroline on their New Zealand adventure by bike!

When you're in the Southern Hemisphere, January goes by way too quickly. Caroline and I took our Brompton folding bikes to New Zealand for our vacation, and had an incredible time. If you haven't seen Brompton before, check out our web listing first to learn a little about what makes these bikes so special. Ease of travel is one of the best features of Brompton, because they travel like regular suitcases on an airplane/bus/train/ferry, and fit conveniently into the back of a hatchback. Brompton is versatile in cities, and on country roads, and can be equipped for touring and/or bikepacking with the right setup. I put together a photo journal of our travels below, and I hope it inspires some bike travel in your future.

Ben smiles as he takes a selfie over his shoulder at a joyous Caroline on her Brompton bike.

December 31: Day one in Wellington. We went out on a supermarket run to get some food and bubbly, and found a protected cycletrack in Island Bay. Hurray! Minutes after this photo was taken we were pulled over by the car-culture police for failure to wear a helmet. Fortunately we were foreign enough that he didn't write us a ticket.

Caroline yells with a smile at the camera while standing behind her Brompton bike.
Caroline rides her Brompton on a seaside trail
Two Brompton bikes beyond which is a waterfront skyline.
Two Bromptons take a rest on a sunny bike trail.
Caroline takes a photo of something out of frame as the light fades on her and her Brompton.
The shadow of two people with one arm around each other, their other arms raised in victory.

January 1: A ride around Wellington Harbour, with gorgeous sunshine (which has been sorely lacking in Ontario winter). We added a visit to the National Museum (Te Papa) and rode the ocean road around the whole city. Check out our route here.

Ben takes a smiling selfie with a cycle/pedestrian tunnel behind him.
Caroline rides her Brompton bike in the tunnel.
Smiling Caroline in front of the tunnel.

January 3: We needed to pick up our rental car from the airport. In most cities, the airport area isn't bikeable at all, but Wellington has designed a pedestrian/bike tunnel UNDERNEATH THE AIRPORT! We couldn't believe it, so we had to try it out. Arrived at the rental car spot easily, folded our bikes into the back of a Yaris, and continued on our way.

Ben rides away down a tree-lined path.

January 3 (cont'd): Our first stop on the North Island was Taranaki, a large volcano on the Tasman sea. We drove to the visitor centre to take some photos, and I called shotgun on riding my Brompton down the winding, canopied, mountain road. Wheeee! A huge storm the next day precluded us from hiking anything in the area, but we were glad to see it in the evening sunset.

Two Bromptons on a gravel drive by a house surrounded by flowering bushes.
Caroline rides ahead on a paved road next to some fields.
Two Bromptons next to a classic barbeque.

January 7: Auckland-area wine tour. New Zealand's oldest, and least famous vineyards made for a great bike trip. Lots of sampling, and adventures on a beautiful day. Visit Kerr's family winery if you get the chance!

A folded Brompton on a rock beyond which is a sign that says "insert coin to start up engine"
A folded Brompton on a wooden circular table or stand under a mini blimp with a skull on it.
A folded Brompton on a rock in front of a large run down train engine.

January 17: Oamaru, New Zealand's Steampunk capital. Bromptons fit in well to this alternate universe.

A desert view through with Caroline rides her Brompton.
Caroline gets the hang of folding her Brompton

January 17: Bromptons look good on New Zealand's Pacific coast, too. Here we wandered out on the pier to find a colony of fur seals! Caroline is getting the hang of folding the Brompton now, too, looking smoother every day.

Caroline in some brush in front of a sign that says Lauder.
Caroline rides away from the camera, her one hand raised as if to wave.
Ben takes a smiling selfie, the desert trail behind him.

January 18 - The Central Otago Rail Trail is a gem of New Zealand's South Island. We arrived at our accommodation in Lauder, and took off riding in the evening before the ominous clouds dumped a sprinkling of rain on us later in the evening.

Caroline sits on top of a tunnel entrance in the distance, desert all around, and her Brompton at the entrance of the tunnel.
Ben folds his Brompton in front of a more lush vista, a rail bridge and blue skies beyond.
The Bromptons folded, beyond is the rail bridge.
Ben rides his Brompton towards us in the distance along a trail, hilly desert surrounds.
Ben rides through a wooden gate towards the camera with a smile, blue skies behind.
Ben and Caroline take a smiling selfie in the sun.

January 19: More time on the Central Otago Rail Trail. We traversed gorgeous gorges, and long, dark tunnels of a railway long-gone. And it was HOT, close to 35C! Fun along the ride: blossoming fruit trees from passengers discarding pits of apricots, apples, and cherries! The Brompton did well on the gravel trails, as we rolled into to the town of Oturehua for afternoon refreshments.

Two Bromptons on a beach

Large branches spell "Hokitika" on a beach facing the water.

January 24: One of our last stops on the South Island was the funky little town of Hokitika. Our Bromptons seemed to fit comfortably into their driftwood art competition. Go visit the beach here, it's lovely.

The exterior of Bicycle Junction, Bromptons folded in wooden cubes in the window.
The Brompton cubes holding their folded bikes, but from inside the shop.
The cafe counter, menu sign on the wall behind.

January 29 (New Zealand time): Stopped off at Bicycle Junction in Wellington to say hello, and chat about bike shop life. Shout out to Dan, Catarina, Greg, and everyone else we met there. Love your shop!

A tired Caroline smiles at the camera, her hand on the Brompton travel suitcase.

January 29 (Toronto time, ~30 hours later): Back to frozen Canada, and the luggage terminals at Pearson. The bikes arrived safely with no damage, and after seven flight-legs, we're happy with the decision to take hard cases. It was an unforgettable trip, and Brompton definitely added new adventures to our memory book.


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