Sunday, 10 August 2014

Kilbirnie, Hataitai and Roseneath – and a new milestone

The weather has been less than exciting in the last couple of weeks. John was getting a bit stir-crazy, so when the skies started to clear on Saturday, he said he was going to take the bike on the train into town and ride along the waterfront. Although I had plans to go to an SCD dance in the late afternoon, I decided I would quite like to go biking as well.

I had a vague feeling that John thought I was crashing his one-man party, but anyway, we drove to Oriental Parade, and biked to Kilbirnie, where he wanted to have a browse around Burke’s Cycles. It was cold with a brisk southerly, especially around some of the points approaching Evans Bay, but we were dressed for the conditions, with umpteen layers of clothing.

At Burke’s we looked at the latest in folding bikes, including an electric folder, the Flying-Cat Wynd. In bright red, it looked like my kind of bike, but with a pricetag of over $2000, and a hefty weight of 21 kg (compared with 13 kg for our bikes, including bag carrier and bag), it is probably a “no-no” – for now, at least. As John says, maybe in a few years’ time, when the technology is better and our bodies are crappier …

Actually, on the return journey, I would have welcomed the kind of assistance you get from an e-bike. John decided we would go up into Haitaitai Village. I balked – I didn’t want to go uphill! He tried to entice me with coffee at a café at the top of Moxham Avenue. I knew it wasn’t a very good café, but I figured I wouldn’t grizzle since this was his ride (that I had crashed). As expected, we didn’t like the look of the café enough to stop there, and I thought we would ride back down the hill and return along the waterfront.

Wrong! “We’ll just go along here a bit further” said John. “No, I’m not going up that hill!” It was a steep one. “No, not there, we’ll go round the corner, it’s not far.” Well, it was not far – to get to a stretch that was steeper than I could manage! – and I ended up having to get off and push. Grumble, grumble. No sympathy from John. “Serves you right for hi-jacking my ride”. Ooh, ouch!

We got to where it looked like we might be starting to go downhill, and I stopped to take a photo of the airport, just to show how high up we were.

Wellington Airport

We tootled down a short downhill stretch, and then went uphill some more! Too steep for me, so more walking. “It’s not far” and “Come on, it’s not that steep” were John’s encouraging comments. But look at the photos, and see how high above Evans Bay we were. It must be said, though – the views were gorgeous!

Above Evans Bay, looking at the Miramar Peninsula

Above Balaena Bay, looking towards the Hutt Valley

Eventually we made it to Roseneath, where we started going steeply downhill back to Oriental Parade. Here is a map of where we rode, and there is a profile at the bottom, which shows the gradients of the road. I worked out the uphill bit to average about 1:38.

It was well past lunchtime by now, and we continued along Oriental Bay to Karaka Café for coffee and a bite to eat. The cafe was very busy and we enjoyed sitting in the sun, waiting for our food to arrive. We watched a couple of rowing crews returning from their training session, and getting their craft (coxed four?) out of the water, and hoisted up onto a trailer.

Karaka Café was busy
Rowing crews return from their training session

Before returning to the car, we rode along to Queen’s Wharf, as I needed to have a mileage of 15 km today, so that I could reach my 2000 km milestone. There was a market on in the Frank Kitts parking garage, and there were a lot of people about enjoying the lovely day. We stopped to listen to a man playing some boogie-woogie jazz on the community piano. He was very good.

A cyclist plays on the community piano near Frank Kitts Park

We had another look at the new Clyde Quay Wharf, and rode right round it. There are no retail businesses on the ground floor yet, but it looks like two food places – Mojo's and The White House –  and a Day Spa/Beauty Parlour will be opening there soon. It is all pretty stylish, and would be an interesting place to live – though eye-wateringly expensive.

The far end of the Clyde Quay Wharf

Then, just as we were coming back off the wharf, my bike computer showed 15 km, so I had reached my 2000 km milestone. Which warranted a photo, of course!

2000 km! (photo by John)

Back at the car, John said he wanted to stop at Bicycle Junction, the bike shop in Newtown, as he wanted to take a look at the Brompton folding bike  which they now import. John has been fascinated by these incredibly nifty – but expensive – folding bikes, and wanted to see a “live” one (as opposed to online).

The man in the shop – Dan Mikkelson, I think – was very helpful and showed us how quickly you can fold and unfold this lovely bike, and what a neat small package it folds down to. The back wheel folds underneath the frame, and has a little stand with rollers so that it is really easy to wheel the bike around in its folded state – useful if you have to drag it around a railway station, for instance. Or if you have to take it on the Tube and park it under your desk at work – as a London-based friend of mine does.

We have been following the blog of the Cyclopolitans, a NZ couple who are travelling around Europe on their Bromptons – with trailers!  Very interesting and inspiring. I would love to do something like that, but without the camping. I like my creature comforts!

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