Monday, 13 May 2013

Western side of the Hutt River

It was another brilliant post-southerly day today. Clear, calm, and not very cold. We should have gone out for a ride early in the day, but being Mother’s Day, we were waiting around for our daughters to ring. One of them did just before lunch, but the other didn’t, though we did skype with her and her children after dinner.

By early afternoon we figured it was just too nice a day not to go for a ride. Besides, I had to give my new bike bell an outing! A thoughtful Mother’s Day present from my eldest. So the bikes were heaved into the car, and away we went. It took us just 15 minutes to get from “sitting around” to “on the road”.

The new bell matches my gloves!

Another bit of unexplored territory was the western side of the Hutt River trail. We parked just before the bridge over the rivermouth at Petone. The first 2.5 kms of the trail on this side ran on grass on top of a stopbank, which was hard work, but interestingly the first part of it went right though the Shandon Golf Club. Lots of people pulling golf trundlers and enjoying a round in the sun. Not being a golfer, I was surprised at the noise the whack of a golfclub on the ball makes. I hoped we wouldn’t get hit by any stray balls …

The Shandon Golf Club. The cycle trail runs on top of the stopbank (photo by John)

After the golf club, the track became a tiddly little rut through the lumpy and bumpy grass. It was so skinny and difficult to negotiate, that I nearly keeled off a couple of times, so I stayed on the grass after that.

The Melling Bridge. The track was lumpy and bumpy, but the scenery so pretty (photo by John)

Things improved after we ducked under the railway bridge, and the track became a rather more manageable gravel surface (I wouldn’t have said that a couple of months ago, I must be making progress!). It ran between the river and the Western Hutt Road. Here we encountered lots of people walking their dogs. We also saw a woman cyclist taking her little dog for walkies while it was sitting in a basket on her handlebar!

Soon the trail smoothed out to a sealed surface. Nice! I was just thinking I didn’t fancy going back the way we came – because of the lumpy grass track – when John suggested we cross the road bridge at Avalon and return on the eastern side of the river.

The Hutt River - from the Kennedy-Good Bridge at Avalon (photo by John)

On this side there were a lot of other cyclists – couples, both young and not so young, families with all the children on bikes, solitary cyclists, and a father (walking) pulling his little kid on a skateboard. An interesting observation – all the older men seem to be wearing beards, rather full beards at that! “Maybe there is a Santa Claus convention on somewhere”, John suggested. Note: John has a beard too …

It was a pleasant ride back to Seaview, by the rivermouth, and from there we pushed on a little further to where we had a lovely view out towards the entrance to the harbour and Cook Strait beyond.

Seaview - Looking out to the harbour entrance
We returned to the car by crossing the Petone bridge. Though there is a foot/cycle path, separated from the road by a barrier, it is not very wide. We had to get off and walk, as there were quite a few people dangling a hopeful fishing line off the bridge.

In all we rode 16.5 kms, in about 1 hour 45 minutes. Quite a nice afternoon ride.

"The Smiling Windmills" - Wind sculpture by Leon van den Eijkel at Avalon Park

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