• Tasia

    I just read an article on Stuff.co.nz and we sorry to hear about your experience. Being a NZder born and bred but having lived overseas for several years I am the first to admit that NZders are terribly rude drivers….. I have no idea why this is. But I can say that on the other hand NZ is one of the most friendly and helpful nations with a beautiful country to boot. I hope the rest of your travels are uneventful and enjoyable.

    January 11, 2012
  • Azza

    Hey Guys
    I have just read about the road rage incident in the local paper and wanted to say how sorry I am about this. Unfortunately we have our fair share of idiots in this country however we have way more than our fair share of idiots in cars.
    Please don’t let this incident put you off our country or its people and enjoy the rest of your journey.

    p.s. I love your photography!

    January 11, 2012
  • Mike

    Hi there
    Extreme apologies on behalf of all Kiwis for this idiot and his appalling behaviour.
    love on ya both Mike

    January 11, 2012
  • J.P

    So sorry to hear about this guys. I grew up in Newtown and my parents still live there today. Its a great place with lots of great people. Unfortunately every town has a few losers like this. Dont you worry he’ll get whats coming to him. He wont be acting so tough then will he.

    January 11, 2012
  • Scott Higham Lee

    This is obviously distressing, and not a great reflection on NZ drivers, but did you report it to the Police?

    I see from todays news you are now meeting with the Mayor.

    While the Mayor is nice lady and likes bikes, she doesnt enforce traffic law.

    Did you get any bruises?

    Were there any witnesses?

    January 11, 2012
  • Anton Angelo

    So sorry to hear about this… it just sucks. I honestly don’t understand why Kiwis make such poor and angry drivers, but its certainly my experience.

    Hopefully the lower traffic density as you work your way South will improve things.

    January 11, 2012
  • Been Benuane

    New Zealand has a problem with inferiority complexes and this guy (probably of Polynesian background) would be at the most extreme end of that scale.
    It’s reflected in NZ’s aggressive driving and anti-social behaviour.

    And he probably felt a sense of jealousy towards you.

    People will be sensitive to how outsiders perceive Wellington and NZ in general but the longer they run from the underlying issue the longer people will suffer as you have.

    January 11, 2012
  • Hummel

    As a Wellingtonian may I apologise also on behalf of all fellow New Zealanders – it’s such a shame to have your view of our country tarnished by such a fool. As it happens I was punched off my bike a few years ago by a disgruntled motorist who took offence to my yelp of surprise when he opened his car door on me, he tracked me down and lay in wait – psycho. My one regret was not getting him done for it, I was so shocked and sore that by the time I got home I just wanted it all to go away. Sadly this was in Wellington too. Anyway, I hope the police get the guy. And I hope you somehow manage to enjoy the rest of your trip.

    January 11, 2012
  • Peter B

    Hi – Just read the report in the DomPost about the Neanderthal who assaulted you in NewTown. Extremely sad that you had such an experience. Most drivers are pretty good and are getting better at sharing the road with cyclists but there is a long way to go. I sincerely hope that the remainder of your time in NZ is much more positive — and dry!!

    January 11, 2012
  • You will overcome and create a positive leaning experience in the beautiful Russ & Laura fashion we know and respect. We are so thankful neither of you were not seriously injured. Keep rolling. WE Love You! S&D

    January 11, 2012
  • Christine

    Just read the article on NZ Herald. So disappointed to hear that this happened! I love my beautiful country, and cycling around it, and I am appalled that this could happen. I wish you all the best, and please remember, we are not all ilke this!

    January 11, 2012
  • rolf

    I’m sorry some foreign guy hit you. If he was shouting in another language as per the report in the paper he probably wasn’t a New Zealander so I think all these people apologising for his behavior are doing themselves and other New Zealanders a disservice. I guess the rest of the story will come out when he is found. I see someone got his plate number.

    January 11, 2012
  • Stuart Knoles

    There are responsibilities assumed when operating a motor-vehicle. It would be a measure of the quality of a society as to whether being an idiot should excuse one from legal responsibility of motor-vehicle operation.

    January 11, 2012
  • Penelope

    Thank goodness neither one of you are hurt in a terrifying experience. My husband and his mates are serious cyclists too and have had so many abuse thrown at them by drivers. Please do us a favour and spread this news to USA and other international news agency so that it will create an international attention and give our Transport Ministry some pressure to improve things as there has been so many innocent lives lost due to lack of action from the Government and road authorities.

    January 11, 2012
  • Tony

    Moved from Australia to New Zealand four years ago, the drivers ( cars ) are rude , dangerous, and poorly trained.
    You can get your licence at 15 YES 15 years old.
    I live in the Manawatu area, 6 cyclist have been killed in the four years I have lived here, in my area.
    I hope you are safe for the rest of your trip.

    January 11, 2012
  • What a shame you guys experienced this in NZ. But I hope something positive will come out of it. The government should put more focus on the safety of cyclist on road. How about bicycle lanes!

    January 11, 2012
  • Kate

    Hi guys, I am really sorry this happened to you in our wonderful city. Please don’t let this tarnish your experience of Wellington which is truly a great place and, on the whole, a great place to be a cyclist. I hope the rest of your New Zealand experience is so amazing that this horrible incident pales in comparison. All the best for the rest of your trip.

    January 11, 2012
  • Rob

    Hi guys,

    I too have recently heard about your bad experience in Newtown. I am so sorry for what has happened to you.

    Yes, New Zelanders can be appalling drivers and cyclists do seem to irritae kiwi drivers in some strange fashion. Maybe an atavistic territory thing :). Kiwi do hate to have anyone get in the way of them them while they are driving. I noted in the Press that this particular person may have ranted “in a foreign language”. I can only hope that this person learns that us kiwis are a proud and welcoming people and this behavior is not tolerated at all.

    January 11, 2012
  • JonathanTunnell

    Hi guys,
    We are sorry you have recieved such a bad experience while cycling in NZ.
    My partner and I are both keen cyclists who cycle to work and for recreation.

    The fact is New Zealand drivers are not use to sharing the road with bikes and have no problems pulling off dangerous manoeuvres.The trouble is the governement and local authorities treat cycle safety and cycle infrastructure as a nice to have. We have serious obesity and air pollutions issues in NZ that are killing New Zealanders. Surely cycling could play a part in helping to reduce these problems.

    January 11, 2012
  • Meghan K

    Sorry to hear about that Russ. Many of us have been in similar situations and it is scary. Most of all it can be demoralizing. Please dont let this idiot keep you off your bike.

    January 11, 2012
  • Jes

    NZ is a great country to live in with some of the friendliest people I have ever met. But sadly kiwis are the worst, most rude drivers I have ever come across. Overall drivers in cities like Rome, Paris, Lima, Marrakesh are way better drivers with more control and more consideration to others.

    Unfortunately your incident is not a one off. I am astounded by the number of road fatalities we see here, both with and without cyclists involved. Also, road rage against cyclist happen unbelievably often. Most kiwis have never been taught properly how to drive, well they have had a few lessons with their dad (who most often is an even worse driver). As a result they have very little control over their vehicle and they try to hide it by speeding, being selfish, aggressive and ignorant.

    NZ would be a fantastic country to tour by cycle if there were no cars (or NZ drivers). Obviously this is not the case and therefore it is probably the last country on Earth that I would recommend for a cycling holiday. Very sad indeed.

    January 11, 2012
  • storm

    Kia ora, sorry to hear about your incident. I live in Newtown and its a great place. What you guys are doing is awesome and I love your website,the photos are brilliant! @ Been Benuane – I’m pretty shocked and offended that you would just presume that this person would be of “polynesian background” there was no indication of his ethnicity in the article on stuff.

    January 11, 2012
  • Jesse

    You guys are amazing! As an american who’s lived in Wellington over 4 years (car-free and cycle every day), these events are not terribly rare. Even more a shame is the gap between well wishes and the collective will and corrective measures to protect pedestrians and bicyclists from terrible events on the roadways. Here’s hoping your profile as cycle touring superstars can help ‘raise the game’ as New Zealand struggles with this issue. Thank You for your courage!

    January 11, 2012
  • Hello Guys

    So sad and depressed to be a Kiwi at the moment after hearing what happened to you Russ, but I’m glad you were not badly hurt.

    I’ve had bottles and food thrown at me up here in Auckland and you are so freaked-out at the time that the initial shock has to dissipate before you get ANGRY!!!

    I hope you can enjoy the rest of your tour despite this incident (and the wettest summer in history!).

    January 11, 2012
  • Steve Cifka

    As sad as this incident is, road rage is a real and present (and complex) phenomena with no easy explanation. Something gets triggered in humans when they feel impeded. Depending on their empathy (have they been on a bike in traffic?) and their emotional health, they respond accordingly; from realizing your predicament and being courteous/helpful, to impatience, to irrational fury. May you recover from this quickly and may you feel the bike community’s gratitude for your advocacy

    January 11, 2012
  • Elsie

    Sorry to hear of your attack. I am from Wellington and unfortunately I know of several incidences where this a has happened (my brother in law for one had his hand in plaster). It seems like when we kiwis get behind the car some of us turn into blind arrogant trolls!. I hope they catch the guy and I hope that this incident will raise awareness so that we can make Wellington a safer place for cyclists (I myself am NOT one as I am much to petrified!). Hope you are able to enjoy the rest of your trip!
    Kia Kaha (stand strong).

    January 11, 2012
  • I have to say this story makes me embarassed to be a New Zealand motorist. The state of driver competence is shocking in this country.
    I’m not a cyclist myself, and my main reasoning (apart from lack of fitness!!! :P) is that the roads are so dangerous. I don’t want to cycle off to work wondering if I’ll make it safely. If there were more cycle lanes I’d most definitely consider buying a bicycle and cycling to work instead of motorcycling. But for now my exercise will still consist of daily walks at lunch and my dance mat at home. I hope you guys enjoy the rest of New Zealand though!

    January 11, 2012
  • Laura Mules

    Sorry to hear this has happened to you, but great to hear it hasn’t put you off our gorgeous country.

    Enjoy the rest of your time here. Your photos are beautiful!

    January 11, 2012
  • Dan

    Hi guys,

    Been following your blog and videos for a while. Very upset to hear the incident which happened recently. I hope it does not taint your overall view of NZ.

    January 11, 2012
  • The Trickster


    Same – I’ve had far more problem with overweight, balding, middle aged Falcadore drivers than I have with Polynesians of any race.

    January 11, 2012
  • Hi, just read the DomPost… what an appalling story. I’ve lived in NZ for 25 years, brought up my 3 sons here, and love it here.. We’d like to think NZ is free of idiots.. and unfortunately it’s not. NZ drivers are not respectful of bike and it’s tragic. I am a very very keen bike rider and so I feel very sorry for you guys. Keep the good spirit. Aotearoa is a great country.. but it is not quite Godzone as some of us call it !

    Good luck,

    January 11, 2012
  • Fluffygrl

    So sorry to hear this happened to you. Put some Kiwis (if he was) in a car and they change into arrogant, rude and obnoxious fools. Most of us are not like that and I so hope you have a wonderful time as you continue your travels in our little paradise.

    January 11, 2012
  • Gilbert Sanseau

    “[…]eager for us to know that this incident is not representative of the NZ that they love and live in[…]”. Well, if it’s not representative, what is? At least, this is the only NZ I cycle in. And the two racist comments from Been and Rolf don’t make any sense, apart from their racism of course: as a cyclist, I have been shouted out mostly by people with perfect English and swear words. I hope this incident will put lots of people off coming to New Zealand to cycle, it’s way too dangerous even when you’re prepared for it. Coming from a country where you don’t have to expect nearly every driver to try to knock you off your bike, either wilfully or just SMIDSY, you stand no chance, and the proof is that lots of cyclist fatalities over the last few years were foreigners. I have been cycling in New Zealand for four years. If anybody from abroad was to ask me advice on touring the country by bike, it would be very simple: don’t.

    January 11, 2012
  • Darren

    So sorry and ashamed to hear what has happened to you in gods own.

    Im sure that you have learnt by now that this is hardly a representation of typical everyday new zealanders. We are peaceful loving and caring people, Please dont tar us with the same brush as this scumbag.

    It is unfortunate that like most societies, we are not exempt from these sorts of people, We do have a problems but this behaviour is far from normal, also our justice system gives weak penalties to discourage this antisocial and unacceptable behaviour.

    January 11, 2012
  • Tim

    So sorry you’ve had this experience in New Zealand. We’re not renowned as great drivers, but we do like to think we can offer hospitality. Hope you’re healing, and will have a fantastic time for the rest of your stay. And that we might find the gentleman concerned and help him direct his energy more constructively… Community Service building cycleways?

    January 12, 2012
  • Liz and Phil.

    Hi we were very sad to hear about the road rage incident in the paper and hope your trip continues in a much more positive way. We are a couple who regularly cycle in the South Island and have not experienced problemsbut agree that reflection on the “car culture” is well needed. It seems cycling is becoming more and more popular in Auckland where we live and hopefully this will help. We think your attitude to this experience is humbling and hope the rest of your trip is wonderful! Generally kiwis are very caring.Good luck and safe travels.

    January 12, 2012
  • So sorry to hear this happened back home in NZ! Hopefully we can all change your views on New Zealand back and hope that you will enjoy the rest of your stay. Please don’t let one moron ruin your trip of a lifetime.

    January 12, 2012
  • kia ora dudes, sorry to hear of that random incident in our country. hopefully you run into 1001 more beautiful people to cancel that one twat out.
    power to the pedal bro!

    January 12, 2012
  • fred

    I offered some advice a few days back about not riding in the middle of the road. Suggesting you might get hit from behind. Who’d have thunk it, that you’d get hit in the face… Not defending the driver, but I note in your later videos that you’re still riding in the middle of the lane – read the road rules about keeping to the left – perhaps this guy didn’t like your position on the road?

    NZ’ers are a funny bunch…but mostly in a good way.

    January 12, 2012
  • So sorry to hear this! We were just in Wellington ourselves (about 2 days ago) and unfortunately, it was the first place I felt like people were more rude or just in a hurry to get places. I actually got called the C word by another driver. :T Again, so sorry to hear about your incident and hope it’s all uphill from this point on. Best wishes.

    January 12, 2012
  • Mike

    Really sorry that you were victims of a road rage incident in my city.
    I too am a cyclist and am aware of how hopeless a lot of Kiwis are behind the wheel of a car, attitudes really do need to change.
    I hope that we can rebuild our image of us as a people in your eyes, generally most of us are pretty nice and friendly.
    I wish I would have made it down to Macs tonight and bought you both a beer.
    I hope the rest of your travels are safe and a lot of fun.
    Kia kaha.

    January 12, 2012
  • TheVexatiousLitigant

    Sorry to see the Newspaper article, sadly all too often we hear about World Tour cyclist that have wonderful tour until they get to New Zealand, I hope you make it out alive, not all do.
    Checkout myself TheVexatiousLitigant and WellingtonBikeCam01 on YouTube we are the only regular camera cyclists in NZ and these channels will give you a good idea of how bad NZ is for cyclists. I am only on the road on a Saturday or Sunday at quiet times for my weekly ride, yet still don’t have time to post all the bad drivers I catch on video!
    Good luck, and beware the quiet roads without witnesses, they are by far the worst as that is when the drivers will really show their hate of cyclists.
    I will be shocked if the Police actually do anything about the driver, though they could feel forced to in this case.

    January 12, 2012
  • Russ,
    The emotional scars of being the focus of someone’s violence can certainly last longer than the physical scars. You are truly a brave person for speaking out so openly about this and for continuing to keep an open mind and heart as you continue your journey.
    Wishing you both safe travels, Jack Moore

    January 12, 2012
  • postie phil

    Shocked and so sad to read about this , hope this experience will not stop your pathless pedaled. The darkness of this sad man should not shadow your trip. Onwards, forwards !

    January 12, 2012
  • Gary

    Just goes to show that there are crazy people everywhere. Glad you are mostly ok and that they caught the guy. My high school buddy and his girl friend borrowed my panniers and did the NZ tour and eloped! They had nothing but great times with the folks down there. This will make a great story, and hopefully the guy will calm down. Keep the rubber side down. -Gary-

    January 12, 2012
  • Jim from NZ/London

    I’m sad to hear about your attack. There’s something about the NZ psyche that makes NZers high achievers, great rugby players, terrible drivers and big binge drinkers. It’s something about individual achievement, having to take things to the next stage. Bungee jumping was invented in England but took root in NZ because it was a good cultural fit. Have a look at NZ’s road deaths per 100,000 miles driven – last time I looked, similar to Turkey’s. Turkey has worse roads, NZ has worse drivers.

    January 12, 2012
  • Ron

    Hey guys,
    Glad neither of you were seriously injured. Fantastic that you’re receiving so many thoughtful responses from well meaning Kiwis. Makes me (as an American) want to travel to Nz for some cycling! No better way to show the small percentage of crazies behind the wheel who would do us harm that cycling is for everyone.

    January 12, 2012
  • LucyJH

    Hi. just wanted to say how sorry I am you had this experience in NZ. I think it is mainly due to our very low rates of cycling that our drivers can be so aggressive to cyclists. But thank you so much for taking such a positive attitude to the assault. I appreciate that you’re not giving up on all of NZ (and NZers) because of it. I hope that the rest of your trip goes really well and you have no further incidents of road rage to contend with.

    @Fred. do you cycle much yourself? Often the middle of the road is the safest place to be because you can avoid being doored or squeezed over to the side. I once heard an expert from London speak – he said part of their cycle safety training is actually to encourage people to ride further out into the road. Why? Because they’ve had several tragic incidents of female cyclists dying because they were scared and riding close into the curb and then when a vehicle passed them aggressively they had nowhere to go. I myself have nearly been doored many many times in Auckland – the only way to avoid it is to cycle further out from the curb.

    January 12, 2012
  • fred

    @LucyJH – yep I do cycle much – daily.

    I’m in no way suggesting cyclists should ride in the gutter, but if you view some of Russ and Lauras recent videos, their position on the road is uncalled for. Keeping to the left unless it’s unsafe is a summary of the law.

    I know of a number of cyclists who state that “claiming the lane” is the safest approach, but many take this to heart and think that they own the lane. I question how safe this really is. Taking into account that car drivers believe they own the roads – its obvious what will ensue (and it does) – so how safe is it really?

    I’m not suggesting this is what happened in this instant – Russ clearly states he was riding at what he believed to be a safe distance from parked vehicles.

    I’ll claim the lane at roundabouts and the like, where I feel I need to ensure my safety, but at all other times I endeavour to *SHARE* the lane. This is how I think it should be.

    January 12, 2012
  • Dave

    @Fred, my personal experience (at least on U.S. rural roadways) has to agree with LucyJH. I used to be a rider who rode near the curb until I noticed that car drivers coming from behind tended to wait to pass me until the exact moment that an oncoming car was meeting me. This makes for very dangerous circumstances with 3 vehicles converging in the same space. I now ride in the center of the lane I’m in so I no longer invite cars approaching from behind to pass me at dangerous times.

    When in-town riding I try to more closely match traffic speed and if I feel it’s necessary I ride where I would ride a motorcycle in the lane and that is usually the wheel track closest to the center line in the road. My experience has been that other drivers see me there and generally I’ve experienced mutual respect. There will always be exceptions because some people are just angry being alive, but this has been my experience commuting and touring year-round for the past 10 years or so.

    January 13, 2012

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