The trek north takes Simon Morton towards the dark heart of the Taranaki province, where the true Kiwi spirit of individualism and black humour are still kicking. Starting in Levin, he meets Brian Gilbert, a man who has given the trike its mojo back again, before encountering another local who has a passion for road-kill. Mad scientist Bob Brockie is out there on the highways and byways collecting squashed wildlife for his notebooks, so Simon hopes there are no pages to record his demise!
Passing through the small towns of Patea and Hawera, Simon allows himself a boogie to a famous Kiwi hit, reminisces over the oldest footage of a cycle race in NZ (from 1912 – Simon was not competing…) and meets the owner / heir of the oldest cycle shop in the North Island. Seaver’s Cycles will soon be a centurion, and Simon wonders if some of Mike’s stock is from opening day! It looks old enough…
From the city of New Plymouth, our brave host follows one part of the new national cycleway into a truly remote part of the country. Following the Lost World Highway, Simon learns the rugged history of the backblocks, rides along the railway tracks on a high-powered golf cart and then again on a bicycle-with-outrigger, before making his way to the Republic of Whangamomona.
It’s election day, so Simon abandons the safety of New Zealand diplomatic protection, gets a new passport and votes in the world’s strangest election. The hotel owners Penny and Geoff Taylor explain why they need a national president in a town of 16 residents. Simple, it’s all about which way the rain runs off the ranges….