So just a kilometre from here is the spot they call Siberia,’ Stuart tells me. ‘It gets so windy there that in September a train was blown off the track and ended up suspended, carriages hanging off like a piece of string.’ I’m significantly smaller than a train, balancing on a bicycle, and there is a cyclone coming, funnelling through the Cook Straight’s surrounding mountain ranges. This doesn’t sound ideal to me. But then for someone who has travelled around the world, covering thousands of kilometres through Europe, Central and South America, on a bike bought for only fifty dollars (and subsequently sold it on after), and confesses to me that he loves to ‘feel the pain and achievement’ from a good hill, the Rimutaka Incline, part of the cycle trail by the same name, is nothing. Stuart runs Green Jersey, a cycling tour company out in the Wairarapa, a region just outside of New Zealand’s capital city Wellington, and he’s offered to show me around.
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