Guardian On Tour: Day 1

Guardian On Tour logo


Day one has wrapped up and it’s been a fantastic day, one where we’ve met some amazing people.

We finished our 45km journey in Hinds, and had planned to stop off at the pub for pint. Horrors! The pub was shut.

We off-loaded our bikes at the Hinds Garage and were forced to wait for our ride home looking like cycling rejects, feet in the gutter, tired bums on the pavement.

Tomorrow we’ll be out there doing it over again. This time heading for Mayfield.

We plan to ride up the Ashburton side of the Hinds River, crossing over at Hackthorne, but where we go depends on who we see.

Hinds School students celebrate the end of their school triathlon in the village pool.


Brent Gutsell measuring a successful harvest in boxes of seed.


While Hinds might have been quiet on the residential front, it was all go in the Hinds Seed Cleaning yard.

Brent Gutsell and his team were flat out.

Trucks were roaring in and out, backing up to hoppers and unloading grass seed.

That seed was off-loaded into bins and quickly forklifted into storage.

And that means plenty of winter work for the seed cleaning team.

It’s big business and it’s good business Brent said, with the dressed seed eventually finding its way to all corners of the country, all corners of the world.

A pair of transplanted Brits, Martin Perry and his trusty van.


Enjoying life in Hinds, Trish Clarke and dogs Scooter and Vivian Volkswagen.

2.00 pm

Trish Clarke loves living in Hinds.

She’s a new comer to the village but says it’s the perfect place to live. Her dogs Scooter and Vivian Volkswagen agree.

Life in Hinds is casual, relaxed and it has a great sense of community.

Trish was one of the few people we discovered at home during our afternoon roam around Hinds Streets.

The streets were deserted, blinds were down in houses and it was quietly sleeping in the late summer sun.

The only movement was the odd leaf falling from a tree.




Nicky Eddington

12.30 pm

We have pedalled 30km so far and stopped to eat squashed bread rolls under an old apple tree on Isleworth Settlement Road.

We’ve smelled some amazing smells, from grass with fresh dew to fresh cow poo.

If you lived out here you could harvest every apple you could want on the roadside, but it is an area without people – no farmers farming, no farmwives hanging out washing… no-one. Just half harvested paddocks, sheep, cows and great scenery.

So far we have come across a few farmers, other cyclists and found a great coffee stop.

We met Mirian from Columbia who, with her husband Marco, is living in the old Longbeach School starting a new life in New Zealand.

After lunch we are heading down Surveyors Road on our way to Hinds.




The boys at Willowby Engineering, Shane Scarth and Steve Tocher, are keeping the district’s harvesters running.

11.30 am

We dropped in at Willowby Engineering where farmers are queuing up to get their headers fixed.

Sparks were flying as Steve and Shane told us that they were working around the clock to get their customers back in the paddock.

From there, we biked up the bumpiest driveway in the district to visit our mutual friend Nicky Eddington to see if she could make us a coffee.

The gamble paid off as Nicky was on her day off from her beauty salon.

We thanked her for her hospitality before heading towards the Hinds River.We enjoyed the lovely morning sun on her porch as Nicky told us how she is currently looking after her mother who is recovering from elbow surgery.


Guardian On Tour - Day 1 - Nicky's place
Jacqui and Sue take a well-earned rest.
Morning assembly at Longbeach School.

9.56 am

In the middle of their all-important senior school elections, I interrupted them to talk about my cycling trip, biking in general and where I’m heading off to next.

It was like being in a mini Parliament, as the senior pupils did their speeches before heading off to vote who they believed best represented their school.

I’m heading down Longbeach Road now towards the coast and haven’t seen any farmers out and about or mothers hanging out their washing.

I’m looking for anybody – especially rural people doing rural stuff!

Alan Anderson on the job in the horse paddock.

9.08 am

Just popped into Sims Bakery and am now biking along with a pie on board.

I’ve been talking to joggers, walkers and people in their gardens this morning.

Now heading out into the country to Longbeach School. Looking to get there about 10am.

Longbeach School is the next stop.

7.00 am

Ashburton On Tour - Day 1

It’s 7am… the sun is just up and so are we.

Patchy sleep and a fair bit of nervous anticipation.

Yes, we’re ready but the big quest

ion is: is the rest of the district ready to receive us?

I’m thinking about the rides I haven’t made over the past few weeks – too busy, too hot, too…

We plan to head out of town, dodging traffic on the main road to Fords Road and then head east.

Longbeach School is on our early agenda but hopefully before then we’ll have stopped, chatted and met a handful of our fellow Mid Cantabrians going about their business…


More photos are available via the Guardian On Tour section of our Photo Gallery.