Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Four go biking the Hutt River Trail

I have been perusing websites about cycling holidays in the South Island. I found a company called Pure Trails NZ, which operates out of Christchurch, and which offers fully supported four-to-six-day tours in some of the most spectacularly scenic places in the South Island.

I found one I really liked – five days’ easy riding (grade 1) in the Mackenzie Country in January. When I told my non-cycling sister about it, and suggested “do you fancy coming along?”, she came back a few days later with “yes, why not?”. The thought that the tour is fully supported, and that one can always retire to the bus/van if biking becomes too tiring or difficult, definitely appealed.

But Aimée and Neil haven’t biked for over 30 years, so they will need to do some practice rides and build up some bike fitness before then. They currently have no bikes, but John has two big bikes, as well as our folding bikes. So we arranged to take them out for a ride last Sunday.

The two big bikes fitted in their station wagon, Neil had the use of John’s old helmet, Aimée borrowed one from her daughter, and off we went to bike the easiest part of the Hutt River Trail, starting from Seaview.

We had to re-allocate the bikes: Neil and John rode the big bikes (Neil the old Tarini mountain bike, John the new Jamis Allegro), while Aimée rode my folding bike, and I rode John’s.

Setting off from Seaview (photo by John)

They tried out the bikes on the flat stretch of track along Port Road. Despite the fact that Aimée had never ridden a bike with gears and handbrakes, she got the hang of it pretty much right away.

“Riding Along On My Pushbike, Honey …” (1970 song by The Mixtures) (photo by John)

It didn’t take us very long to get to Avalon. There you have the choice between crossing the road to Avalon Park and continuing up the trail on top of the stopbank, or staying by the river and riding on a gravel path. They decided that they might as well try riding on the gravel.

Aimée tears round the corner on the gravel like a seasoned cyclist (photo by John)

After a couple of kilometres on the gravel, we turned around to go back. We diverted off the trail and made our way along quiet Lower Hutt residential streets to the Janus Bakkerij Café on the corner of High Street and Mitchell Street, for some well deserved coffee and pastries.

Coffee break at Janus Bakkerij (photo by John)

On the homestretch (photo by John)

When we got back to Seaview we had done 16.5 km, but Aimée carried on up the road past our cars, so that she could make it a round 17 km. They had enjoyed their ride, though Aimée was suffering from a fair amount of “saddle pain”. I think I will have to take her shopping for some padded bike pants before we head south!

If the weather is OK next Saturday, we may go out for another group ride – on the gravel part of the Hutt River trail from Silverstream to Upper Hutt.

Now John is having a problem with his mileage calculations. He has been meticulously recording the mileages he has done on each of his bikes. But now that some of it has been biked by others, that puts his totals out! But I’m sure he can do the maths to sort it out.

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