Big-wheel trip proves social

American Dave Osborn (left), who is walking the length of the country from north to south on the...
American Dave Osborn (left), who is walking the length of the country from north to south on the New Zealand Cycle Trail (Nga Haerenga), and David Wilson, of Oamaru, heading in the opposite direction on his penny-farthing, meet near Ngaruawahia. Photo supplied.
Oamaru man David Wilson is bearing down on Auckland from atop his penny-farthing on his trip from Bluff to Cape Reinga.

Yet he is not the only man travelling the length of the country by unusual means.

"Where are you headed?" asked a pedestrian on a road in Ngaruawahia recently. The question came from US-born Dave Osborn, who is tackling the same expedition, but north to south on foot, after previously walking across the US on several occasions.

Chance encounters of that sort, and the generosity of those he had met had been the highlights of his 33 days in the saddle covering 1475km, Mr Wilson said.

"It's just been fantastic," he said from beside SH1 south of Auckland yesterday.

Offers of accommodation, food, beverages and donations had been made since his ride began in early November. Three elderly people who saw Mr Wilson struggling up a hill north of Taupo had driven home and brought back a glass of chilled fruit juice for him.

Members of Hamilton's Karamu Cycle Club accompanied him into the city.

Wet weather, public relations, repairs and rest stops had slowed progress, meaning the trip was taking longer than originally planned. The traffic in the North Island was "definitely a lot denser and travelling a lot faster", but motorists had generally been courteous.

Having completed a big push up the Bombay Hills, Mr Wilson is expected to reach Auckland tomorrow, where he will visit Howick Village - a living history site depicting life in Auckland in 1860 - before beginning the final stage towards Cape Reinga next week.

Getting over the Auckland Harbour Bridge, usually off-limits to bicycles, was yet to be arranged.


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