- Bikepacking is more about the journey, about traveling and places. Experience the hospitality and talk to people who live out there. - Really worth doing and trying out. And it's not hard, it's a gentle kind of riding. - Just persevere. You don't think about the whole.
Just concentrate on what you're doing and just get there. And third night, fourth night, I thought, this is the most fucking ridiculous thing I've ever done in my life. (laughs) (birds calling) (ocean waves roaring) (gentle music) (speaking Maori) - Welcome to the East Cape Campground. We inherited this campground from our tipuna. We're the mokopuna. And that's why we have this campground because- yeah, we do it for our tipuna who left this whānau for us.
So, (Maori welcome), enjoy yourself. (laughs) - I know it's cooked how I like it, anyway so. - I'm just here to tautoko my partner, to be honest. - It brings our whānau together.
Yeah, 'cause usually we live in different places. They teach us about their cultures. And we teach them about ours. - Here because of a midlife crisis, I think, you know? Significant birthday, tried to think of something cool to do, or something, something challenging to do. And then I conned Fiona to do it too.
She's joining me on my midlife crisis. And we're going from one side of the country to the other. It's going to be beautiful. We're going to see some forest and some hills.
I'm gonna get thin. (laughs). Probably. I'm joking. Actually, cut that. We're gonna be fit. (women laughing) - Yeah, that's what we're doing. It'll be an adventure.
- Some of the places are really remote. It means it's on. - [Woman] So I do it my own? - Yep, you're doing it now.
So just turn it around. And if you press this button here on the side and hold it in. Yep. Okay, let it go. You can let it go. And then the top one is flicker- So that means it's on, okay? So you leave it on for the whole time that you're riding. You do not need to turn it off at all. (birds calling) - Cool. East Cape Lighthouse. We've made it here.
Start of Kōpiko Aoteoroa. We're going to get a sunrise this morning. This is pretty special, actually. Yeah. (gentle music) - Feel like I'm not really that prepared 'cause I didn't get to actually ride any. Should be alright. But really looking forward to seeing some North Island country that I've never seen before. (gentle music) (conch shell blaring) - Pacific ocean, East Cape. 1100 kilometers to ride to
Tasman Sea and Cape Egmont. I hope I can do it. (ocean waves roaring) (birds calling) - The whole endurance thing. It's like an art. You just keep chipping away at it. I kind of figured that I'm not a terrible cyclist.
That I can actually push myself. (ocean waves roaring) - Some of the faster riders afterwards. And they're like, I wish I'd done it a bit slower. I wish I'd had a bit more company. And so it's a learning experience, I think.
You work things out sooner or later about how to have a good time. - One of the things about enjoying it is meeting the locals and just spending a bit of time talking with them. Some of the locals out there just are awesome. They're absolutely amazing people. And they're spot tracking. You got a Spot tracker?
- [Man] Yep, yep. - Yep, they're watching you. They're watching you right now. They will know when you
arrive and welcome you. - [Man] It's amazing, eh? - There's some really good wild fruit out there. Just keep your eyes out for blackberries, peaches and apples. - [Man] Oh, yeah. Nice.
- Did 130 kilometers yesterday. Beautiful country beside the coastline. Just rolling, undulating. Hung out with a couple of fellas in Hawaiian shirts, one of which had had a bit of an accident this time last year in the Kōpiko and broke his collarbone.
He had quite an interesting sort of crash. So it was funny reliving that trauma with those guys. (man laughs) - [Man] And they washed out on this corner. - Yeah. And then I ran over him, went over the handlebars.
- [Man] Aw, did ya? - Yeah. So he broke his collarbone, I fractured my heel. (laughs) - [Man] Fun and games. - [Man] Clusterfuck corner. It's a goodie.
- [Man] He was feeling quite relieved to have got to that point, and now he could continue the Kōpiko journey. (clicking into pedals) - But when I rolled into the camp and saw Deane sitting the under the tree, I thought, well, there's somebody I can talk to. I introduced myself, "My name is Neil, but you can call me Patsy." And I think that was what he called me for the rest of the trip. Yeah. Great fun to ride with, actually.
One of the reasons why I stuck around after day one. - [Man] But it's the people you meet along the way it's the little interactions and the experiences we have with those people. (gentle music) (bike wheels whirring) (cows mooing) - [Man] Met a couple of guys and before you know it, been enjoying each other's company. (birds chirping) (bike wheels rolling) (cow sniffing) (gentle music) (bike wheels rolling) (sheep bleating) - I actually got quite emotional when the lady came and she had chilly bins full of ice cold water and watermelon. And I've been running out of water. - Beautiful.
- But yeah, she came and just saved me. - Going up a big hill and it was super hot. It was so hot. And on the side of the road was a little sign saying, Kōpiko riders, help yourself. And there was those little cold fizzy drinks, you know the real colorful ones that kids have at their parties that we never drink, but we were so happy, and we drank it. Yep, you're awesome. It's really appreciated. (laughs)
Yep, yep, yep. Although if you're going to leave something, leave it at the top of the hill, not halfway. (laughs) (upbeat music) - Some really cool farmstays. - People that you meet especially in the homestays and that, you're just meeting real down-to-earth Kiwis.
It's so cool just to reconnect with the people of the land. - I would have gone to the farmstays 'cause everyone raves about them. - It's always a highlight is when you arrive somewhere, especially if there's a beer waiting at the other end.
(laughs) - So you've turned up here and there's food in the fridge, cold drinks, an honesty box over there for the money. So that's how trusting they are up here. (bike wheels whirring) - A lot of it's mental. Yep. You gotta to keep your head in it. It's a mind game.
Yep, and it's awesome. One hill at a time and one day at a time. And also for me, 'cause I'm quite slow but steady, is not comparing yourself to other riders. Just ride your own. Ride your own pace. - We've had some short days due to the fact that we've lost a couple of our group to injuries and one helicoptered out, one ambulanced down.
That's had a little bit of a mental effect but I think we're okay again, going forward. - It's just in the challenge of whether my body can do it, my equipment can do it and mentally, I can get through it. And so far I'm doing all right and I'm enjoying it. - You had've seen me three kilometers ago, I was just, yeah, just a mess. Fact I got off and walked.
Isn't that an embarrassment? - One pedal stroke in front of the other. There was definitely a mental game, that's for sure. I kind of lost it a little bit at one point. As you do. - Asian women bikepackers? That's a good question because I haven't met one. I haven't met another one. I'm really conscious of the fact that I'm not white.
I'm not Maori. I'm in a remote town in New Zealand, some places, but you know, I'm just ordering a drink and dinner. So you just carry on. - 71 two days ago. I just keep active. When I get down too slow, I just get off the bike and take a walk and it just relaxes the whole body.
I'm just gonna keep walking. Getting on the bike and just cruising, taking your time. (sheep bleating) (horse whickering) - We've already passed 14 people today? Going opposite ways. - Passed six, yeah yeah. - This was something that was long enough out of that horrible period, COVID blah, blah, working at the airport, everybody grim. And having something to look forward to that was something healthy and something that you could focus on, keep training, keep me look forward to going and doing and challenging.
Nic's midlife crisis? I don't actually really think she's having a midlife crisis. I think she's just living her best life, really. That's just been awesome really. And actually I've always wanted to do this. My dad did a bike ride when he was a kid, when he was about 12 down in South Island. And I always listened to that and thought, oh, I'd love to do something like that.
Oyster Bay. 2018 Merlot. And we're gonna to have a glass of that by the hot pools because we're having our rest day today. (bike wheels whirring) (mud plopping) - Even nicer to head over the road and have a beer before two o'clock, which is a good idea for this place. - A rising steam off the Waiotapu geothermal area.
(gentle music) (bike wheels rolling) (bike wheels whirring) - Wanna get onto the Timber Trail tonight before the weather comes in tomorrow. So we're pushing on probably quite late to the evening to Camp Epic. (air hissing) - That was rough, mate. You've had three crashes in Kōpiko now. - I'm not into this off-road shit. (laughs)
- Roadie. - We don't need these sort of delays. We have not, time is not our friend. - [Man] Nah, it ain't. - [Woman] Matching knees. (laughs)
- And all I can do now is look forward to somewhere to sleep for the night and see what happens tomorrow. But yeah, the thought of another three hours right now, it's not gonna happen. Not gonna happen. (bike wheels whirring) - We turned onto the Timber Trail probably around dusk. The sun was setting when we got to the first swing bridge.
- [Man] Holy moly. Wooh. - So that was quite a sight to see the bridge lit up by our bike lights, but the sun setting over in the distance. I've ridden the Timber Trail before in daylight on a mountain bike. - [Man] Freaky, dude.
- To do it on a gravel bike at night was a different experience. Good fun, great fun. Knowing some of the turns was an advantage. To arrive at the camp to a rapturous applause, something around 10 o'clock at night, but to be also greeted by the camp manager with hot food, beer, and a towel for a warm shower was also very good. (bike wheels clicking) (riders cheering) - That's 160 kms done. Ten hours. (man laughs) - Not too sure if I can feel actually feel anything below my waist at the moment.
Left Bernard behind at the start of the Timber Trail. He was a bit buggered so- - A little bit ahead of me, but there's people behind so. Couple of good days. (Maori) (gentle music) - I'm just really glad that I could appreciate the environment like this and see things that some people, a lot of people I know won't be able to see. (thunder cracking) (wheels whirring) - It just started raining quite heavily now.
60 kilometers to the next bed. So I think I'm gonna probably call it quits here for the night. (gentle music) - I'm Michelle. - And I've lived in Ohura for about six years.
And two and a half years ago, I started this food caravan called Fiesta Fare. So, for the opportunity to actually provide a service to a community of people who really appreciate it is wonderful and I'm so grateful that I've been able to be a part of this. - [Man] Of the 300 odd riders that's come through, you probably would've served food to most of them, then? - I think so, yeah. (laughs) Which is exciting. - That food we just consumed was most definitely the best meal I've had on the Kōpiko.
The Fiesta Fare makes their food in Ohura. Beautiful. - Good, mate. - Good man, well done.
- It must've been a huge day out. - Nice work, Bernard. - This is Doc. - How're you goin', Doc? (indistinct) That lady will feed me? - [Deane] That lady will feed you. - Come over to the hall over here.
- And there's a beer and a cozy pub. - With your name on it. - 40 dollars, bed for the night. Food. She'll sort it out. We've got a space for you. It's in the cozy pub when you're ready. - I actually was picking you guys having gone.
- [Deane] Nah, he wouldn't let me, would he? - [Neil] He's quite soft, this guy. - [Neil] See, it's raining, I might melt. I'm staying here. - You've been a great inspiration to me. (laughs) - [Deane] Great! Michelle, you've got another customer.
- [Michelle] All right, send him in. - Send him in. - [Michelle] Hi there. - How are you? - [Michelle] Oh I'm good, how about you? - Fantastic. - [Michelle] That's quite the ride.
Excellent, I can feed you. There's no problems with that. Do you want a hot drink at all to start with? - You tell me what I should do. Hot drink would be great, actually yeah.
Sensible and great. - [Michelle] Maybe a nice cup of tea? - Even better. - [Michelle] Okay, let's get that happening. - Well, what's been going through my mind is repetition.
What I've been thinking for about three hours is they could be in Ohura. (laughs) I'm thinking, nah, they would've pushed on. Yeah, great motivation just to think that something- Great motivation.
(men talking) (gentle music) - It gets a little bit messy when you need food and there's not many options. You just grab whatever there is and I'm supposed to be pescatarian. So I'm vegetarian and I eat seafood, but I've ended up eating sausage rolls and meat pies.
You know, you've just got to do what you have to do. (upbeat music) You just have to keep moving forward. That's the bikepacking thing. As long as your wheels are rolling and you're not stopped. You'll get there. - Bit of a tantrum.
(riders chatting) (inspirational music) - Cape Egmont Lighthouse. - It's a full adventure. You're doing road, mountain biking, gravel, camping. - Made some great mates. Those guys are awesome. - Patsy and Bernard. Three of us work pretty hard to keep each other rolling along.
Some good company makes a big difference to get you through those low times. - It was a pretty amazing slice of New Zealand really. Really was the back blocks, some remote country. - It's kinda hard to imagine it's done. - I thought it would be harder actually.
But I guess I trained pretty well. (laughs) Yay. I'm glad I'm here. - Well, that's done. - I set out to start. And I set out to finish. And yeah, it's just really nice to know you can do it. Anyone else that has the opportunity to push themselves to the limit can only benefit from that.
(gentle music) (cows mooing) (sheep bleating) (birds chirping) (ocean waves roaring)