Life on the Broken Road Part 3

By Joe Beaumont

Continuing the journey from Part 2.

I worked with Mark and Tracy, the first Kiwis I met, back in Weymouth when we slaved away at Superchoice outdoor centre for £40 a week in what was to be a job that changed my future path in life. I had always promised to come see them in New Zealand, and 19 years later I did. Now, though, they’re parents to 6 kids and have 10 sheep, 3 cows, a rabbit, a parrot and a hilarious chocolate Labrador. They are warm and loving family, full of traditional family values that I envy and enjoyed. Dinner at the table, chores doled out and lots of laughter.

Permit me to tell you a little story about Grace, their eldest kid. Never has a name fitted a soul so well. She has just one leg, which is currently in plaster after recent surgery to continue to correct her malformed foot and on top of all that she has spinal problems which surgery has failed to help, so far, and I wonder how is it that those who have lost limbs, mobility, aspects of ‘normal’ life continue to have way more then those who have none of the challenges that Grace faces everyday.

I was fortunate to spend time with Grace and Tracy whilst they toured bike shops in Christchurch, trying to find a frame which would fit her. She’s so determined to ride a ‘normal bike’ despite the adaptive issues and I don’t doubt for a second she will make it happen...

I left the Johnstons feeling like my heartstrings were strummed so hard they’d vibrate for some time to come. They have inspired me. Shifted my mindset and I’m so thankful that we could meet again. 19 years is no time at all in the company of choice people.

Personality gets you through life. It has helped me get on and get things done. I only have a small portion compared to this girl.

You see bikepacking is not about getting from point A to point B. It’s the gaps in between that make all the difference. Sometimes it’s physically hard. The weather is occasionally set out to make you work harder but all the while those gaps in between are the most fulfilling and life affirming times you can get in this modern life. Opportunity surrounds me all the time. It’s a way to remove those shackles of modernity. The stresses that aren’t really all that real, life happens

It's only when things go a bit wrong you then become aware of how everything was going so right. Leaving Hastings I had already felt a twinge...then after relentless hills my knee blew out! I had to push for some kilometres to the brow of the hill. Dejected and in pain I couldn't help think how this effects everything. I knew I needed to rest up but I had a long way to go.

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