We have been in Rotorua for 2 days and 3 nights. Tomorrow morning we ride to Matamata. This has been an interesting sojourn in Rotorua but I'm anxious to get back on the road. Our first day in Rotorua was supposed to include a day ride out to the Buried Village site, an archeological and historic place where a whole village had been buried in a volcanic eruption. I did not get to see it because most of my day was spent in trying to get my bike fixed. I had dropped it off at a bike shop explaining what was happening, thinking that it either needed just a little tweaking with the gears or maybe the front derailleur was out of alignment. 1/2 an hour later, after 3 guys stood around trying to figure out why the gears kept slipping one of them says " I think it's the chain, you need a new chain" I knew it couldn't be the chain as I had just put a new one on before this trip but I said okay, try a new chain, but if it doesn't fix the problem then put the old one back on! They fiddled with the bike for another hour and then said " I think it might be the chain rings, they're probably worn" I said, well can't you tell if they're worn by looking at them?" I don't think that's the problem. I am developing less and less faith that these guys know anything about bikes at all! Then they say, wait until our head mechanic comes in later, he's the gear guy. I felt like saying "so why are you working here?" anyway the head mechanic finally says that he's fixed the problem: the front derailleur was bent and he straightened it and the bike should work fine now. Okay. I take it out for a ride to check it out thinking I would head out to the Buried Village and meet up with the rest of the group.
Not even 10 minutes into my ride I start to here an ominous clicking sound coming from the crank or bottom bracket. Then I try to shift into my small chain ring while climbing a hill and nothing happens except for a lot of noise as the chains rubs against the derailleur and finally drops into the small chain ring. I am not happy! The stupid bike is shifter rougher than it was when I brought it into that darn shop. The bottom bracket is still making that clicking sound.
I decide to turn around and take the bike back to the shop. But then I'm thinking, do I really want them working on it again, they obviously don't do a very thorough job or don't care too much about their customers. So I walk into a different bike shop ( this town apparently has 8 bike shops, more than Abbotsford). I tell the mechanic there what's been happening. He looks at the bike and immediately sees that the front derailleur is set too high. I tell him to check the bottom bracket too. An hour and a half later my bike is fixed! He said the rear dérailleur was also slightly bent and that the bottom bracket was really loose ( yikes ). Everything was straightened and tightened and now my bike is running smoothly once again. Sheesh , almost a whole day of touristing gone andl I never did get to see the Buried Village.
Today was a bit more fruitful as far as seeing some of the town's attractions. We visited the farmer's market this morning and had a great time talking to the locals and I got a sweet set of earings for $2.00! Plus a lot of fresh fruit to munch on and a couple of good books to read. After that, Mary and I went to the Polynesian Spa for the rest of the afternoon. Rotorua is a geothermal hotspot, Lots of hot springs and mud pools popping up everywhere, even at the park. The Spa has several pools of different mineral content and different PH some more alkaline and some more acid. We soaked in the hot springs, sat in the sun , read out books. All in all a wonderful relaxing afternoon. No photos because we both forgot to pack our cameras.
This evening 6 of us went out for Maori cultural experience by attending a traditional Maori Hangi- very similar to a Hawiian luau- at a showcase Maori village. Great fun and great food. Now we are back at the hostel, in our room, getting ready to call it a day.
Oh, I almost forgot another bit of news. Two of the group members are leaving us tomorrow and will not be riding the rest of the way. Terri because she has been having problems with back pain and Bob because he has to fly back home for business reasons. I will miss them both. This makes our group of riders now 5.