Friday, 20 February 2015

Six rides since the Mackenzie trip

Well now, we haven’t been slacking since we returned from our Mackenzie Country trip on 25 January. In fact we have done six rides, a few of them fairly substantial. However, they were either rides we’ve done before, or we’ve just “gone for it” without taking too many photos.

Thursday 29 January – Whitby and Pauatahanui

This ride to Pauatahanui was much longer than any we’ve done to that area before – 42 km in fact – as we did a much larger loop. It was windy, and we knew we would encounter hills, so we took the e-bikes. We started from the Takapu Road end of Tawa along Ara Tawa, a nice smooth track, to Kenepuru Station. From there we rode on a fairly rough track beside the railway line to Porirua Station.

We went down the tunnel under the railway line to get to Champion Street, from where we eventually got to the track through Bothamley Park. It was a bit of trial and error, as we’d only done this track in the other direction once.

Bothamley Park (photo by John)

Fortunately John’s sense of direction is pretty good, and we didn’t get lost – not too much at least. We found our way through Whitby along some of the streets and mostly along some of its lovely walkways.

Whitby Walkway (photo by John)

We emerged from Whitby near Pauatahanui, where we stopped for lunch at the Ground Up Café. Then we rode back to Porirua, via the Camborne Walkway, Paremata and Aotea.

Near Aotea College we were hailed by a young man asking if we had a bicycle pump, as he had a flat tyre. Yes, John had one. Pumping it was not enough though, as the tyre had a puncture. So John to the rescue – and patched the tyre for him. He was a Tawa College student, his name was Jimmy, and he told us he had been biking up Colonial Knob every other day during his school holidays. Phew, hard work! He was very pleasant and polite, and grateful for John’s help.

John patching Jimmy’s tyre

Sunday 8 February – Ciclovía and beyond

Today was the first of three Miramar Peninsula Ciclovías, organised by Cycle Aware Wellington, with support from the Wellington City Council.  During these events – on Sundays 8 and 15 February and 8 March – the road between Shelly Bay and Scorching Bay is closed to motorised traffic so that the whole road can be used by walkers, cyclists, scooters, skaters and skateboarders.

Putting up signs for the Ciclovía (photo by Alastair Smith)

It was fine, but there was a strong northerly wind. I suggested to John that we should use the e-bikes, but he deemed that unnecessary. All the same, I used my e-bike and he used the regular bike. The wind was so strong that he had a struggle in some places, while I had fun being able to whizz past him with my electric assist!

John struggles against the strong northerly. Note the choppy harbour!

At the pointy end of the Miramar Peninsula, we found Alastair Smith taking photographs of people riding past. He is one of the main organisers of this event (as well as the instigator of the Folding Goldies group). He was thrilled with the response – apparently over 2300 people took the opportunity to walk/bike/skate the route that day, despite the windy conditions!

Hitting the full blast of the northerly as they come around the point! (photo by Alastair Smith)

We had parked at Greta Point and carried on beyond the stretch of Ciclovía to Seatoun. From there we headed up through the Pass of Branda (which was much less high and less steep than I had feared) to Breaker Bay and on towards Moa Point. The breakers on the rocks out there were quite impressive thanks to the strong wind.

Impressive waves crashing over the rocks (photo by John)

On the way back we spotted this little family near Karaka Bay – Mum and Dad pedalling a tandem bike, and the young miss riding the clip-on bike at the back.

A bicycle built for three (photo by John)

This was quite a long ride – 35.5 km – and John was feeling a little the worse for wear, having struggled against the wind for quite a bit of it.

Tuesday 10 February – Petone to Taita

Only two days later, with John still feeling a little tired, but with a fine, calm day that demanded a ride, we took the e-bikes out to Petone foreshore, and rode to Seaview and then up the Hutt River Trail as far as Taita. It was a lovely steady ride, without any stops for photos. We did stop when we got close to Taita for a breather, and a snack of sliced apple.

A breather near Taita. The grass is very brown, thanks to the current drought (photo by John)

Somewhere along here, John reached a 500 km milestone on his e-bike. That figure will be different from mine, because he sometimes does long rides without me.

The odometer on John’s e-bike shows he’s done 500 km on it (photo by John)

A community art project on the Petone foreshore, near where we stopped for an ice cream (photo by John)

Wednesday 11 February – Pencarrow

My sister and I were planning to have lunch at the Chocolate Dayz Café in Days Bay, so naturally I suggested a bike ride as well – since she is now an intrepid cyclist too. We biked from Eastbourne to the Pencarrow Lighthouse and back first (14 km) and had lunch afterwards.

I still think that the gate to get onto the Pencarrow track is an absolute pain. There is no room to get the bike through other than upending it onto its back wheel. And even then it’s a squeeze. It’s time the local council did something about this.

Aimée at the Pencarrow Lighthouse

Close-up of the Lighthouse

Though it was a calm day, the waves were reasonably boisterous

On the way back we spotted two oyster catchers in some sort of screeching contest. Not being very knowledgeable about birds, we didn’t know whether this was a mating ritual or a squabble about territory, but we were surprised at how noisy and unmelodious their squawks were.

Two oyster catchers being watched by a shag on the rock

While Aimée and I were out lunching, John took the e-bike for a long loop around Ohariu Valley, to Makara Beach, and back through Karori and Wilton – about 47 km. Wow!

Ohariu Valley (photo by John)

The Makara Stream (photo by John)

Sunday 15 February – Second Ciclovía and beyond

We rode the second Ciclovía event, but went a little later in the day. Perhaps it was the time of day, or maybe it was the southerly wind, but it was not as busy as it had been on the first Ciclovía day.

Again we started from Greta Point, but this time, we wanted to go much further round the coast, as we wanted to take a look at the Island Bay Festival, and were interested in seeing the “Blessing of the Boats” ceremony, which was due to start at 2:30 pm.

It took us an hour-and-a-half to bike the 25 km to Island Bay on our e-bikes, and got there in time for the ceremony – we thought. But it turned out that it had been postponed till the next Sunday, because the conditions on the water in the bay were too rough to have lots of boats in close proximity to each other. That was disappointing, but we had a browse around the stalls and other activities that were happening in and around Shorland Park.

Then we headed back into town, stopping off at the Blue Belle Café on The Parade for some coffee.

The e-bikes parked outside the Blue Belle Café in Island Bay (photo by John)

We wended our way through Island Bay and Newtown to get back to our car at Greta Point. It would have been easy to go from Newtown through Kilbirnie, but John decided we would go over the top of Mt Victoria.

I could have done without that, because even though we were riding our e-bikes, my legs had done a lot of exercise that day, and I was starting to feel a bit the worse for wear.

The road up Mt Victoria from the Newtown end (photo by John)

Nearly at the top (photo by John)

View over the city from the top of Mt Victoria (photo by John)

By the time we got back to the car, we had biked 38 km – but it felt like more!

Tuesday 17 February – Wellington Waterfront

After that long ride on Sunday, I didn’t want to bike again for a few days, but Tuesday was such a lovely day – sunny and calm – that we could not waste an opportunity for a nice gentle ride. We did 16 km along the Wellington Waterfront on our regular (not electric) bikes. We stopped at Karaka Café for some iced coffee. We noticed that they have recently installed bike racks – an excellent move!

The newly installed bike racks outside the Karaka Café (photo by John)

The new “fashion” of serving iced coffee in jam jars! Apparently “Mason jars” is the technical name …
(photo by John)

Solace in the Wind” (by Max Patte) has acquired a lei and sunnies! (photo by John)

As I needed to do 10 km to get to a new milestone, we biked along to Kibirnie and back as well. So somewhere during this ride I had clocked up a total of 3000 km, cycled in just under two years. Not too shabby, methinks …

Thursday 19 February – John’s ride in Ohariu Valley

While I was doing other things, John took his Tarini mountain bike for a ride in Ohariu Valley and on the Old Coach Road, which eventually leads back into Johnsonville.

Rifle Range Road (photo by John)

The Old Coach Road (photo by John)

John’s 20-year-old Tarini mountain bike (photo by John)


  1. Just a small point, Desiree - it's Shelly Bay, not Shelley.