This week reporter Sue Newman and photographer Jacqui Beardsley will bike around Mid Canterbury to record a snapshot of life in our great district. Follow their travels on Guardian Online and your daily newspaper.
Day 5: Friday 22 February
Last file for the day, we’ve just left Fairton School.
We’ve been talking to year 0-3 students who had lots of questions about what we were doing and why we were doing it. They were very impressed to think we had biked over 200km this week.
We are now heading back to Ashburton for a shower and to lock our bikes up in their own beds for the night.
Since lunch it’s been a pretty dry run.
Everyone in this neck of the woods must work in town during the day.
The only sign of life was a pig – and it was a mailbox!
We are now in the business estate and we’ve been speaking to John McIntosh, about his new precast panel building.
Now we’re about to head through to Fairton, then we’ll be on the homeward leg.
We’re sitting on the corner of Cochrane and Wakanui roads eating lunch.
It’s nice to be back on the open country roads again.
We’ve chatted with Beth Cairns and Penny Kerr, who were out walking Abbey – the very fat chocolate lab.
We’ve just called into see John Hay for a chat about horses. John was out but we found Murray Vaughn out in the paddock checking the livestock.
We are now heading out to the airport area.
The big bag of spuds on my back pack have been added to by eggs given by Penny Proctor.
We have just crossed back into Ashburton from Tinwald and it’s been a great morning as we have talked to more people than kilometres we have biked.
We have found Emma Johnston exercising her horse Thomas for the Rakaia Pony Club event this weekend.
Then we surprised Marlene Woolley in her garden mowing her lawns.
We are now heading down Beach Road and we plan to cut through lifestyle blocks at the back of the airport.
We’ve wound our way around Tinwald and found people to talk to on every corner.
We spotted a lifestyle block with a welcome sign outside; of course we biked in.
We found Alec Drummond who grows organic vegetables and spends his spare time hunting with dog Diesel. We left with our backpacks full of spuds.
We’ve talked to mothers and babies, green keepers and men building bridges.
Now we are having a coffee at Platters, before heading down Grahams Road.
Boy it’s cold out here this time and getting through Ashburton is like going through a third world country with all the road works around the place.
We found Donna and Jeremy on Elizabeth Street with their heads down the drain, flicking out water as they laying new pipes in town.
We have rattled our way over the Ashburton Bridge in Tinwald.
We are heading down Hollands Road before heading back down Tarbottons Road.
Day five and we’re having a slightly slower start. It felt odd leaving from home with our bikes this morning and even odder knowing we wouldn’t be out on long, rural roads again.
Bed last night was heaven after the hard, windy ride into Rakaia yesterday.
We have a rough route today that will take us out into the lifestyle block areas of Tinwald’s west and east and then back over the bridge into Ashburton. We’ll travel out around the Beach Road – Wakanui Road areas and into the lifestyle blocks around the airport. If time allows we’ll bike out to Fairton and back to Ashburton via the west side lifestyle blocks.
We hope to find people at home, people in their gardens. If there’s no one about we may come knocking on your door for a quick chat.
More photos are available via the Guardian On Tour section of our Photo Gallery.