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Infographic: A Kiwis ride around Viti Levu in 24 hours

By Shane Hussein Posted 19 Nov 2013

Infographic: A Kiwi’s ride around Viti Levu in 24 hours

On Sunday 1st September, armed with a support crew of three, New Zealander Andrew Jameson rode off from Tanoa International Hotel in Nadi to attain a feat he thought of several years ago during his honeymoon. The next morning, he became the unofficial holder of the first person to circumnavigate Viti Levu by bike.

The goal was to ride around one of Fiji’s two main islands, Viti Levu in under 24 hours, creating an unofficial record for cyclists. Put into numbers, that’s 475 kilometres and 2800 metres of vertical climbing. That also meant cycling throughout the night with only a brief pit stop in Suva.


(Click on image to enlarge)

Here’s Andrew’s take on his wild ride:

I have a history with Fiji having worked for Blue Lagoon Cruises and The Shangri-La Fijian hotel.  My wife and I chartered a ship with 50 of our friends and family for our wedding in Fiji’s Yasawa Islands and married on Nanuya Lailai several years ago; what a memorable trip that was.  Like so many Fiji tourists, I had never explored the northern parts of Viti Levu but had heard such wonderful things about it.  I though back then, how great would it be to explore this area by bike. Biking allows the opportunity to really soak up the sights and sounds as well the flexibility to stop and engage with the locals in the villages and potentially have a swim in the beautiful waters of the ocean and the numerous water holes.

The ride was an unknown as no one had ever tried and documented this before. As much as I could prepare for the ride there was always going to be unknown factors. Fiji’s heat (well very warm compared to the NZ winter) would be one of these challenges.  

We used socks filled with ice that we purchased at petrol stations along the way to drape around my neck to help keep the body temperature down.  I was consuming close to a litre of fluid an hour.  On numerous occasions, I felt like jumping into the water with the Fijian children playing in the various waterways to cool off – what a great life these kids have with the outdoors and having fun out of the most simple things in life.

Another obstacle was wind. With Sunday 1st September the dedicated day for the ride, we were going to have to deal with whatever elements the weather threw at us.  Sunday threw 30km headwinds from the East for 120km along the Northern coast.  The effect of the dry wind is that it sucks the stuffing out of you but you just have to deal with it hoping that at some stage there will be a nice tale wind at some stage.

As the heat of the day faded the locals got more active with rugby being played on the side of the road; games of tag and various social activites in the fields along the side of the road.  If I had a penny for every Bula and wave that was offered my way I’d now be a rich man!

On top of that, it was Sunday so the churches were in full swing with choirs belting out beautiful sounds and then at the end of the service Fijians in immaculate dress on the side of the road with a friendly smile and Bula would keep me on my way.  It wasn’t until 80kms before Suva that the roads took a turn for the worse.  Roadworks and potholes made it tough going at night and with no other sights to focus on in the dark, it made for long hours.  A short break in Suva at the Tanoa Plaza was a great reviver with the chance for a shower to freshen up as well as a great burger from their restaurant before back on the bike through the dark hours.

I rode through rain that night which was difficult, but just before the 24 hour mark on the Monday morning, I had made it to the finish line back in Nadi.

We say: Way to go, Andrew, for trekking beyond the beaten path in Fiji.

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