Rail Trail: Day 1 to Lauder
A fine day greeted us as we walked over to the bike shop to pick up our transportation for the next few days. We had engaged the services of a company through which we could rent bikes, book accommodation, and also get our bags forwarded. Brilliant.
Our bikes were customised for the Rail Trail; practical steeds equipped with bike stands and frames for attaching panniers. With all my dismounting for photos along the way I actually grew very fond of the bike stand, though Mike said I’d be riding by myself if I got one back in Wellington. Perhaps not the coolest accessory then.
Neither was my camera bag which I attached to the front of my bike with a bungee cord. But for me the convenience factor far outweighed any concern about looking like a dork.
We acquainted ourselves with the bikes on the short ride over to the railhead at Clyde Station – ‘km 0’.
One excellent component of the Rail Trail experience is the passport. You can buy these little booklets for $10 and collect a stamp from each station along the way. Most of the proceeds from each passport goes toward the upkeep of the trail.
We collected our first stamp and got going. Today we would be cycling 44km through to Lauder.
Our next stamp from nearby Alexandra wasn’t as straightforward thanks to the removal of the stamp from its wee box by local idiots. We detoured into town to the visitor centre where a stamp could be acquired and also collected lunch supplies.
Off we went again with station stops at Galloway, Chatto Creek and Omakau.
The leg to Omakau is the steepest part of the trail but at 1m incline for every 50m it wasn’t too bad. Omakau made a great lunch stop with a shady patch just off the trail and station building and cemetery to have a poke around in.
From Omakau you can make a recommended and fairly short detour into Ophir and we did just that. We’ve been there before but when you travel by bike it gives you a different perspective and more time to notice details.
The last few kms were not very speedy and we arrived in Lauder mid-afternoon tired but having loved our first day as Rail Trailers!