Monday, 13 April 2015

Bicycle Origami Ride

Only a few days after we returned from our big bike trip to the Nelson region, on Sunday 22 March, we took part in an organised ride for folding bikes, or, as the publicity described it, “A convivial ride for ‘Bicycle Origami’ practitioners”.

The ride was organised by Simon Kennett (one of the Kennett Brothers, authors of many books on cycling), who works for the Greater Wellington Regional Council as a consultant to improve conditions for cyclists in Wellington, and Patrick Morgan, spokesman for the Wellington Cycling Advocates Network.

The plan was for people to meet at the Wellington railway station and to take the train to Pukerua Bay, and to bike from there through Pauatahanui and Whitby back to Tawa. We had done this ride before, and we had signalled our intention to take part before we went away down south.

When the appointed day arrived, it was wet and dreary, and not a particularly nice day for a long bike ride. Still, we had committed to it, so we went. We joined the train at the Takapu Road station in Tawa. We were surprised that there were 12 other cyclists and bikes on board. As we got on, the guard told us to fold our bikes, as officially, there is room for only three regular bikes in each carriage. Fortunately, it being a Sunday and with few other passengers, he was not too fussy.

A train carriage full of cyclists and folding bikes (photo by John)

On arrival at Pukerua Bay, it was interesting to see what other types of folding bikes were there – a couple of Bromptons, some Dahons, some Terns, and some (I think) Kiwi Stow bikes, and then of course our electric SmartMotion bikes.

Before we set off, Simon welcomed everyone, and mentioned that this might be the last annual folding bike ride event, as ­– he said – folding bikes were becoming much more common now. Then Patrick gave us a short spiel about safety, and making sure nobody was left behind.

Many different folding bikes on the Pukerua Bay platform (photo by John)

From Pukerua we biked down the hill, past Plimmerton and onto the Camborne Walkway and on towards Pauatahanui, where we stopped at the Ground-Up Café for lunch.

A string of cyclists along the Camborne Walkway (photo by John)

A brief stop at Motukaraka Point (photo by John)

Then, rested and stomachs satisfied, we continued on to Whitby, with its very nice cycle/walkways, and onto the Bothamley Pathway. This is a lovely track through a forest, alongside a stream. Most of the other people had not been here before.

Patrick and Simon, riding Dahons, in Bothamley Park (photo by John)

Riding on the grassy part of the Bothamley Pathway
(photo borrowed from the Greater Wellington Regional Council’s Facebook post)

Waiting for the last people to catch up at the end of the Bothamley Pathway (photo by John)

When we got to Porirua Station, the weather deteriorated again. The rain had all but ceased when we stopped for lunch, but now it really started to set in again. The plan had been to bike to Tawa, and for the rest of them to take the train back to Wellington from there. However, with the rain, they decided to get the train from Porirua.

John and I however – mugs that we are – stupidly decided that it “wasn’t that far” (in fact it's 7 km!) to get back to Takapu Road, where our car was parked, and we were going to make a run for it. Well, we hadn’t gone 500 metres down the road, when the rain came sheeting down, and we were saturated within seconds!

Too late to change our minds now, so we cranked the e-assist up to the max, and we beetled down the road back to the car in the driving rain! Nuts!

But it had been fun to meet some other Wellington cyclists, and we thanked our lucky stars that we didn’t get that kind of weather while we were on our Nelson trip.


  1. That looks like a jolly good ride! For years I have ridden on my folding bike, but never thought about take a long trip on it, I think I need an upgrade or a comfier seat lol, or was thinking of getting this folding bike.

  2. Great! Or check out John's reviews of the Giant Expressway or the Smart Motion folding bikes. We love our Smart Motion e-bikes.