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Stage 13

New Zealand- Christchurch to Auckland

26th November - 16th December 2000

It was at this point in our yearlong epic bike ride that every participant who had already invested a large chunk of personal savings was faced with a difficult decision.  There has for some weeks been doubts over the remaining 37 days of this bike ride of a lifetime.   We were told in Oct that due to increases in fuel costs since the Odyssey budget was set 7 years ago, a surcharge of 3000 US Dollars per person would have to be levied to those who wanted to complete the itinerary.

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MOUNT HUTT STATION - NEW ZEALAND

Following several meetings when various options were put forward and considered there was no change for those wishing to complete the Itinerary. Having spent 8 weeks cycle touring in New Zealand 3 years ago I could not justify spending $ 3000 to return for 21 days, beautiful as it is.

So approx 65 folk paid up and departed for Christchurch from Singapore on 26th Nov. A similar number decided to call it a day and head for home, while some decided to hang on in Asia. Having made plans based on our finish in LA on 31st Dec, myself and fellow UK rider John decided on another option, which was available from the Odyssey organizers.

This was for the sum of  $1200 we would rejoin the Odyssey party in Hawaii on 17th December for the final 2 weeks to the finish in California. This figure included our flight from Singapore to Hawaii. So our flight to Hawaii was booked for 10th December. And with 2 weeks to spare in Singapore and 1 week in Hawaii, is how we come to be in the Getaway Island of Bintan (Indonesia) just a 50-minute ferry ride from Singapore, and approx 40 miles north of the equator.

Now is the time to reflect on cycling over the Andes in February & the Pyrenees in April BOTH IN A BLIZZARD, whilst I languish in the South China Seas for two weeks.