Monday, 9 March 2015

The third Ciclovía

Yesterday we went for the third and final Ciclovía ride for this summer. After the appalling weather Wellington suffered on the Saturday – torrential rain, heavy winds, thunder, and flooded streets – we were surprised that Sunday turned out to be a beautiful day.

I was getting rather despondent, as I have been anxiously eyeing the weather forecast for the next week for the Nelson/Marlborough area, because we are booked to go there for a week-long biking trip. It did not look very promising. As of today, it still does not look perfect, but it’s a couple of days yet, so I’m hoping that the weather gods will be kind to us, and that the “showers” that are predicted, will turn out to be mere “spits”.

Anyway, we had a lovely ride on Sunday. We biked from Greta Point through the Ciclovía area, and on to Seatoun, and back. It was warm and sunny and there was a northerly breeze, but it wasn’t too strong.

Just before Shelly Bay, we got talking to Patrick Morgan, who is the CAN Project Manager for Wellington (CAN is the Cycling Advocates Network). He spotted John’s folding bike, and stopped to tell us about the folding bike fun ride on Sunday 22 March. It's being organised by CAN and sponsored by the Greater Wellington Regional Council. They call it "a convivial ride for 'Bicycle Origami' practitioners". The group will take the train out to Pukerua Bay Station and will ride from there to Tawa (via Pauatahanui and Whitby). We already knew about this, and will definitely go along.

Further round the Ciclovía we met a couple of young men who were waiting by a “drone” or as they called it, an “octocopter”. They were Isaac and Alec, of Skyzone NZ, and they had been commissioned to make a fly-over video of a group calling themselves “Frocks on Bikes”, which were due to ride past any moment. (Post script - 18 March: Here is the resulting video

John talks to Alec and Isaac about their ‘octocopter’

The two brothers built the drone themselves, and they get commissions from various people and organisations to make films from the air. The octocopter has eight arms with small rotors on the ends, and houses a video camera. When they are filming, one of the guys operates the flying machine, while the other works the camera.

Isaac of SkyzoneNZ and his ‘octocopter’ (photo by John)

We stopped at Sorching Bay for some iced coffee. It was a better proposition than the Chocolate Fish Café at Shelley Bay which was terribly busy. At Scorch-O-Rama there is a seating area across the road from the café, and the waiting staff cross the road to bring orders to the tables. Lots of bikes were leaning up against the rope fence, and we were lucky to score a table.

Waiting for our iced coffees at Scorch-O-Rama (photo by John)

At Seatoun Beach, we watched a couple of men fishing. They were using the gadget that has been advertised on TV lately. It has a motorised torpedo-thing that takes a long line of baited hooks way out into the water, and is supposed to catch dozens of fish for no effort at all. Fishing is not something that appeals to me, and every time I see that commercial, I think this is a cheating way to fish. Not sporting at all. I asked one of the men whether he had caught anything yet, and the answer was “No”. Oh, well …

Fishing the “cheat’s” way …

From here we turned around and rode back to Greta Point. It had been a really pleasant, relatively easy 24 km ride.

Preparations for our Nelson adventure

Today, we had a practice ride with fully loaded bags (about 6-7 kg) on the carriers of our e-bikes, to see what it felt like. It was just a short ride – down to our local café – but it included a few hill climbs. The biking was fine, but keeping the loaded bike upright while walking next to it is a bit tricky, as it is rather heavy. And I hope we won’t have too many zig-zag gates to negotiate on our trip, because with the weight of the battery as well as the bag, it is hard to lift the back of it.

We have purchased some handle-bar bags, which will hold our “immediate needs” – water bottle, wallet, phone, camera, parka, first-aid kit (me), tool kit (John), and of course, chocolate! We had bags like this on the hired bikes when we did the Mackenzie Country tour a couple of months ago, and we found them very handy. They clip on and off, so we can take them with us when we park the bikes.

Our loaded e-bikes by our local café (photo by John)

So, we are more or less ready, only a few more sleeps …And let's hope the weather gods will smile on us!

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