NZ warm down – day 18: Lincoln to Christchurch
30km, 70m ascent
So the final day was here! I just had a short ride into the centre of Christchurch and that marked the end of the trip! Bev, my warmshowers host, kindly rode out of Lincoln with me to make sure I headed off in the right direction. The ride into the city was not so exciting, but at least it was mainly on cycle paths and cycle lanes away from the traffic. Frustratingly, the signposting of the cycleways was pretty terrible, which meant stopping a lot to check where I was and which way to go, but after 90 mins or so I had arrived at the River Avon and the centre of the city.
As it was sunny, I decided to do a bit of sightseeing before heading out to my accommodation. I hadn’t seen Christchurch since just after the 2011 earthquake so was interested to see how things had changed. Certainly there is still much repair and building work to be done, and many of the old buildings that were damaged still remain just as they were immediately after the quake. The debate still rumbles about what will happen to the cathedral – for now it mainly seems that the pigeons have moved in!
The transitional or cardboard cathedral quickly put in place after the earthquake is still going strong.
There are a couple of memorials for the earthquake – one formal one by the river, with the names of those who died and another consisting on 185 empty white chairs, one for each of those who died. I thought this one was more thought provoking than the forms memorial.
On a slightly lighter note, I also headed out to the Antarctic Centre which was pretty pricey to enter but a lot of fun! As well as a lot of displays about the exploration of Antarctica and the base as it is today, there was also a cold room where you could experience a simulated arctic storm, a 4D cinema where the seats shook and you were pelted with wind and water and also a ride on a Hägglund vehicle over lots of steep hills and obstacles! I could have done with one if these to get over the hills on the Banks Peninsula!
And so after 1,250km and 9,705m of ascent the NZ warm down is over. The only task remaining is to source a big cardboard box and pack the bike up ready to fly home. It’s been a great adventure and I’ll miss the adventures of pedaling around NZ!