Editor’s note: Laura and Russ of The Path Less Pedaled are traveling through New Zealand and sharing with us exclusive dispatches from their trip.
We’re sending this dispatch from a beach house on Waiheke Island, a short but stomach-turning ferry ride from Auckland. Watching this first episode it seems like worlds away. Although we have been in New Zealand for less than a week, a lot has happened, including running into the powerful women who run bike advocacy in Auckland, which in turn led to riding on a historic ride across the Harbor Bridge (the first legal crossing by the city’s cyclists) and then meeting and riding with the mayor! But, that is for the next episode.
We wanted this first episode to capture the excitement and touch of sadness that comes with long term travel as well as answering some of the practicalities of traveling by bike. We love our Bromptons and when we travel domestically with them, we usually just gate-check them like a stroller. We were planning to do that, but as the time to leave came there was some anxiety about whether we wanted to go to the trouble of talking our bikes on the plane. We decided the day before leaving we would just DIY some boxes so that led to the “arts and crafts” portion of the video.
One of the challenges I’m facing filming this trip is figuring out exactly how MUCH to film. I was a stills photographer and when I did documentary work, I would just shoot everything and do a hard edit later. Video is a different beast since it takes up so much more hard drive room. I’m learning that fine balance between not over shooting and making sure I have enough to have narrative continuity. This means thinking in establishing shots, medium shots, close-ups, B-roll, etc., It’s a handful to bike tour sometimes, much less trying to shoot and edit a show as you go. We have a new found respect for Les Stroud from Survivor Man after the last few days.
One thing that didn’t make it on film is that we got lost a bit on the way to the city. Not traveling with GPS or a smartphone, we were actually using a Kindle to navigate (hence that shot of Laura on the Kindle). I found an Auckland cyclists’ blog about riding to the airport and we were constantly referring to it as we traveled. The map we had was fine for driving, but not so good if you were trying to find the separated bike trail into the city. Speaking of bike maps, they were almost impossible to find. The airport didn’t have them, the big visitor’s center by the ferry building didn’t have them and neither did any of the bike shops that we visited. We eventually tracked one down at Britomart, the train hub in the city.
That’s it for now. As I write this it is raining outside. We’re at a house on a cliff overlooking the ocean. While the views are good, I’ve got to dig out the external hard drive and start editing the next episode with the hopes of getting it done before we leave Waiheke. Cheers!