A Bicycle Journey on Friendly Roads


Scott Bischke and Katie Gibson have done what many of us dream. They quit their jobs and traded in their possessions for a year of travel and simplicity. During the course of their journey, the biked more than 8,000 kilometers and experienced much of New Zealand's culture and beauty. Their freewheeling adventure took them from biking, hiking, and canoeing to fly-fishing for monster trout and picking kiwi fruit as transient laborers.

Theirs was a journey of discovery, both as individuals and as a couple. They shared the joys of exploration and new friendships, as well as the challenges of biking mountainous terrain and living in a two-person tent.

TWO WHEELS AROUND NEW ZEALAND is a light-hearted adventure story; but above all it is a celebration of the people, landscape, and lifestyle of New Zealand.

Author Comments

This book, my first, resulted from a lifelong (OK, true, I was only just into my 20s) desire to put pencil to paper and see what came out. Kate and I had quit our jobs to spend a year on a bicycle back in the late 80s, meeting all manner of intriguinhg people and having all sorts of wonderful adventures. So the book idea got legs about half way through our year in New Zealand, conincident with my ever increasing pile of journals.

Scott Bischke

But truth is, the book and perhaps indeed my career as an author--both science and popular press--might have remained a musing of the mind had not my most wonderful wife, Katie Gibson, provided support. "You need to try to do this, you've always wanted to write a book so instead of talking about it, let's see what happens. I can support us and we'll be fine." We set a goal for me to write a book about our Kiwi times in under a year. And importantly, we both agreed that if the book never got published, well that would be OK. The effort, the journey of discovery to create the book, could be enough. Anything more would be gravy.

Happily, nine months later when I finished the book there *was* more. I toyed with the idea of an agent, then went out into the world blissfully alone. Of ten query letters, a half dozen publishers said no, four were interested, one--Pruett Publishing of Boulder CO--said yes. We negotiated the book deal over a nice dinner at a swanky Boulder restaurant. I recall only two things about that meeting. The first was the realization that being an author might be a poor financial subsitiute for following through on a career based on my MS Chemical Engineering degree. The second was something my soon-to-be editor, Jerry Keenan, said: "People always come to me and ask, 'Jerry what should I write about?' and I always tell them the same thing--when you have something to write about, you will come to see me.' We love your story, Scott, and it is clear you had something to write about."

Jerry and Pruett Publishing created a beautiful work, hardback with color plates. The book enjoyed mild success until years later the book rights reverted to me. Soon another publisher, Ecopress, bought the rights for the paperback edition. That was almost 20 years back, more mild success followed, and then in 2013 I reclaimed full rights to TWO WHEELS.

Kate and I have been back to New Zealand three other times, with the longest trip of two months, since the late 1980s. Much in New Zealand, like everywhere, has changed. The story of TWO WHEELS AROUND NEW ZEALAND is now emblematic of an earlier times, before you could find Starbucks Down Under, heck before you could find coffee. Hmmm...perhaps a restrospective is in order?!

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