Friday, 16 October 2015

Cherry Blossoms in Whitby

Wow, it seems like such a long time since I last wrote up a blog post. We have been cycling, but I’ve had no time to write things up.

On Thursday 24 Sep, we went on a Folding Goldies ride. As pre-planned dates tend to go, you have no control over what the weather will be like on the day, and this time, again, it was not a particularly brilliant day – quite cold and wet.

The date was determined by the flowering of the cherry trees in the Japanese garden in Whitby. The walking/cycling path runs through it, and on previous rides we had speculated on how lovely they would look at the right time of year. The plan was to take the train to Porirua, bike through Bothamley Park to Whitby. Then on to Pauatahanui for lunch, and back to Mana for the train back. There were six of us – a few more than usual – and for the first time, another woman came along.

As expected, the track through Bothamley Park was quite wet. The wide path through the forest was was OK when on the gravel, but some part were quite muddy.

The lower end of Bothamley Park (photo by John)

Fortunately the muddy track had a solid base (photo by John)

We emerged from the forest track, and crossed the road (don’t know which road it was!). Here several of the group stopped to take off their parkas, as it was warming up a bit and the rain had stopped. I am glad that I didn’t take mine off, because on the next track, I went for a spill in the mud.

Time for some of us to shed a layer (photo by John)

We avoided riding on a very soggy bit of track, and diverted along the edge of a sports ground, where the “track” was basically a concrete draining channel. I tried to avoid a broken bit of concrete, and strayed onto the soft edge of the grass, promptly losing traction and going for a skid. Result: I came a cropper, landing on my left side in the mud. Because it was soft and wet, I did not hurt myself, but I did get filthy dirty. Lucky I was wearing my parka over my nice new blue Tineli jacket (which is not so easy to wash!). The parka was easy to sponge clean when I got home.

The walking/cycling paths in Whitby are very nice indeed. We duly reached the Japanese Garden with all its lovely Sakura cherry trees in bloom. This garden celebrates Porirua’s sister city of Nishio, in Japan.

Despite the gloomy sky, the frothy look of the cherry blossoms was a treat, especially as there were still some daffodils out under the trees. Apparently it is tricky to find a time when both the blossoms and the daffodils (which tend to flower a bit earlier) are both at their best. I reckon we were lucky to see both.

Stopping to take photos (photo by John)

Cherry blossoms and daffodils

As we were lingering near the cherry trees, taking photos, a local walking group came along with the same purpose. They told us that usually their group was much larger, but the rainy weather had put some of them off.

Cyclists meet walkers (photo by John)

We stopped for a leisurely lunch at the Ground Up Café in Pauatahanui, and then rode back to Mana via the Camborne Walkway. The weather had sort of cleared by then, and John would have been quite happy to ride all the way back to Porirua or Takapu Road (where we had parked the car), but I felt that 20 km was enough, especially since we were dancing in the evening as well. The others decided that they would take the train back from Mana, so we did too.

For the next Folding Goldies ride, it has been decided that we will ride the Whiteman’s Valley Road.

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