The Voyage: Roz Savage
Brand New Bicycle
01 Mar 2008, Woodside, California

My lovely title sponsors, Brocade, bought me a new bicycle shortly before I left for New Zealand, but for some reason I had been putting off using it. I could claim that it was because the weather back then was wet and cold, but if I am honest I have to admit that it was because I was scared.

When I was a teenager, growing up in Cambridge, I used to cycle everywhere, but it is so true that if you don't keep expanding your comfort zone it doesn't just stay the same - it actually shrinks. So here I was, 25 years later, looking at my shiny new bike and thinking, "Maybe tomorrow..."

But today there was no excuse. The sun was shining and the roads were dry. The bike beckoned.

It helped that Sinead, my New Zealand tramping partner, had inspired me. She used to cycle to work in London - and that surely has to be a lot scarier than facing the Woodside traffic.

So I summoned my courage, strapped on my cycle helmet, and pedalled to the gym this morning. And of course it was great, because:

- It saved time. The half-hour round trip gave me a good workout, meaning I needed to spend half an hour less in the gym. I've replaced "dead" driving time with active exercise time.

- It saved money. The price of petrol has gone up about 30c since I was last in the US, so the less I use my car, the better.

- It saved the environment. By cycling instead of driving, I would save 2.25 tons of CO2 emissions in a year (if I was going to be living in Woodside for the entire year). Click here to calculate your own CO2 emissions.

- Plus, on a day like this, it is a real pleasure to be exercising outside instead of on a stationary bike in the gym. I got my daily dose of sunshine and Vitamin D simply by making a journey I needed to make anyway.

And hopefully, if I ride my bike every day, I might avoid humiliation the next time someone invites me along for a bike ride.

So if you've got a bicycle gathering dust in the garage, why not dig it out and take it for a spin. It will make you feel good - and you might even enjoy it!

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In-depth Interview with Radio New Zealand
29 Feb 2008, Wellington, New Zealand

The day before I left New Zealand I recorded this interview with Kim Hill of Radio New Zealand. She has a reputation for being a tough interviewer, and she certainly asked some incisive and searching questions - but overall I came out of the experience relatively unscathed, and was in fact delighted that we had bypassed the small talk and got down to the personal stuff.

Few people can relate to rowing across an ocean, but many can relate to relationships, a frustrating job, or feeling the fear of life changes - all of which we discuss in this interview.

Reviews so far:

"Brilliant! We may have a few more ocean rower potentials in KiwiLand now!" (Rob Hamill, NZ ocean rower)

"Awesome! ...informative, inspirational and entertaining" (George van Meeuwen, NZ speaker agent)

Click here to hear the interview in full. Available for 7 days only, according to the Radio New Zealand website.

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Spontaneity and Surprise
25 Feb 2008, Queenstown, New Zealand

Life is all about getting outside your comfort zone. This is what I kept reminding myself as we trudged through horizontal rain on the Routeburn Track. But life is also about flexibility and spontaneity, I reminded myself when we decided to bail out and head back early to the drier climes of Queenstown to explore other fun outdoor options.

Until the deluge set in, the Routeburn had been great fun, and a suitably challenging physical workout. The day before we (Sinead, Daisy and I) had reached the highest point of the track - Conical Hill, at 1515 metres (5,000 feet), a climb of about 1000 metres (3,280 feet) from our start point - and enjoyed spectacular views over snow-capped mountains, lakes, and the Tasman Sea. On our descent to the Mackenzie Hut we'd passed back below the treeline, into mossy woods reminiscent of Lord of the Rings, which was filmed near here.

But the rain started to pour the next day and was forecast to get even worse. We had planned to do the Greenstone Track as well, but took a joint decision to quit while we were ahead, having already enjoyed the best of the scenery that our route had to offer. We caught the bus back to Queenstown for a bonus two days of doing something different instead.

It turned out to be an excellent decision. Queenstown is the outdoor capital of New Zealand, with options aplenty for the outdoor enthusiast - and I was feeling a lot more enthusiastic about the outdoors now that we were back on the dry side of the mountains.

New Zealand is the home of the bungy jump, and I was keen to give it a try so I signed up for the original A J Hackett bridge bungy. But as with many things that seem like a good idea at the time, I started to feel a lot less keen as the appointed hour approached. By the time I was standing teetering on a tiny wooden platform on a bridge over a deep river gorge, staring down into empty space, my instinct for self-preservation was telling me to run very fast in the opposite direction.

"How much of a dunking do you want?" Adam asked me as he set up my bungy cord.

"Hardly any. Just my fingertips," I'd said, impressed that they had this down to such a fine art. I assumed that they factored in my weight, the dunk-quotient, and calculated a suitable length of bungy cord.

It turned out that it is a rather less precise science than I had fondly imagined. As I hurtled headfirst towards the water a vague thought went through my panic-stricken mind, "I'm still going really fast and that water is getting really close..."


Totally dunked. Water up my nose. Soaked to the skin. A bystander later showed me a photograph of myself in the water, only my feet visible above the surface.

As I bounced inelegantly, dripping water and dangling upside down on the end of the bungy cord, awaiting the retrieval boat, I yelled up at Adam, "Fingertips, Adam, fingertips!!"

But hey, what's the point in doing something new if you know exactly what to expect?

[photo: about to pass the point of no return]

[Click here to see the video of the bungy jump - apologies for blurry quality, but you can just about tell it's me. What you can't see is that I'm hyperventilating...


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Gone Tramping
20 Feb 2008, Queenstown, New Zealand

"Tramping" is New Zealander-speak for hiking, and today I set off with Sinead and Daisy to tramp the Routeburn and Greenstone Tracks on New Zealand's South Island. If I manage to get mobile phone reception I might be able to post a blog, but this is probably unlikely. So I will probably be offline until next Monday.

But do come back then, and hopefully I will be able to share some spectacular photos of our hike.

If I'm off tramping, does this make me a tramp?

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