A day filled with a mix of sailing on an historic steamship with a bit of cycling tacked on the end is an experience that can only be found out of Queenstown!
For our inaugural ride in and around Queenstown, the aptly named Queenstown Trail seemed like the appropriate choice. The full trail offers 120 kilometers of almost flat riding which can be managed over two or three days but the trail is easily broken into smaller segments for all levels or distances of riding.
After a Winnipeg Christmas with temperatures as cold as we have seen in 20 years and with snow as far south as Florida, it seemed essential, not merely just a good idea, to get the heck out of North America and head off to our favorite winter destination, New Zealand!
This is our third winter here and each year we like to explore a different corner of this amazing country. If one asks a group of Kiwis for advice on where to go and what to see, they most often point in the direction of the South Island, in particular, the Otago region. So here we are in Queenstown, the largest city in Otago. Queenstown is widely known as the adventure capital of New Zealand’s South Island, and some say, adventure capital of the world. That sounds like a big claim to live up to and we are keen to find out if it’s true.
Every year the Cycle of Hope follows a different route, touring some unique corner of North America, but the one piece that remains the same from year to year is that the ride will finish at our Winnipeg build site where the home we are fundraising for is being built.
Leaving the Icefields Parkway and the craziness of Banff during a summer weekend, we head south-west with stops in Cochrane, Nanton and Pincher Creek before our final Alberta destination of Waterton Lakes.
After a winter and spring of planning, training and fundraising, the Cycle of Hope Ride the Canadian Rockies hit the highway. Sporting our distinctive jerseys, we were an impressive group as we left Jasper along the Icefields Parkway on route to Banff.
It’s been a long two days of driving from Winnipeg to Hinton, Alberta, at the edge of the Rocky Mountains, but we are finally here, anxiously awaiting the start of the 2017 Habitat for Humanity Cycle of Hope. When I say anxiously, I mean anxiously, for me at least. Riding the ups and downs of the beautiful Canadian Rockies promises to be a challenging but worthwhile endeavour.