Thursday, 7 April 2016

Wairarapa again – Martinborough to Gladstone

The week before Easter, we went for a short ride from Mana to Pauatahanui and back (14 km). I was still not feeling quite right (abscessed tooth). But once started on antibiotics, I was starting to feel a bit better. During Easter, we went for two short rides – one on Sunday, 10 km on Te Ara Tawa, to see if the new section from Kenepuru to Porirua was open yet (it wasn’t); and the other on Monday, from Seaview to Janus Bakkerij and back (12 km).

By Wednesday 30 March, having finished my course of antibiotics, I was finally feeling like my old self again, and so we decided on a much longer effort, and repeat the ride we did a month ago in the Wairarapa – from Martinborough to Gladstone and back. At that time, we thought we should do the ride again some time, but return on the same, lovely and quiet, Longbush Road, instead of going on the much busier Ponatahi Road.

Quiet Longbush Road (photo by John)

Meanwhile, John had been experimenting with his iPhone. As a result of my teasing him that he was always taking photos of my backside, as I biked in front of him, he wanted to try mounting a camera on the back of his bike, so he could take front-on photos of me, when I was riding behind him.

He made a bracket to go on his carrier to hold his iPhone, which would run off the bike battery while it took time-lapse film of what was happening behind him. He was hoping to get some reasonable still shots out of the film. It worked – mostly – though some of the photos he got by this means are not quite sharp, because of the movement of the bike.

The iPhone, in its bracket, runs off the USB port in the battery (photo by John)

We parked in Oxford Street, just around the corner from the little Martinborough Museum, and John’s first photo on his time-lapse was of me setting off.

Setting off from Oxford Street (photo by John)

Off we went, down Oxford Street, and at a corner which leads to the local Golf course, we turned left into Todds Road for a short distance, then right onto Hinekura Road. This meanders delightfully past vineyards, paddocks with sheep or cattle, and stubbly, recently harvested cornfields.

Netting protects the vines from birds (photo by John – in the late afternoon)

We rode past a paddock where a number of Belted Galloway steers were grazing under a tree, but when John stopped to take a picture, most of them scampered off. With their distinctive colouring, they are a striking-looking cattle breed. They are of Scottish origin.

The Belted Galloway steers didn’t fancy being photographed (photo by John)

A lovely entrance and driveway (photo by John)

There was a smell of autumm in the air, coming from fallen oak and poplar leaves. In other areas, where there were pine trees, there was a beautiful fragrance from the pines. It’s a shame that summer has to end, but autumn has its compensations.

After several kilometres, we turned left and headed up the hill on Longbush Road.

The junction where we left Hinekura Road … (photo by John)

… and headed up Longbush Road (photo by John)

At the top of the rise, the view opens onto a tree-filled gully and beyond it, a higher hill (of which I don’t know the name) covered in a pine plantation.

I don’t know if this hill has a name – but I think it should have since it is so prominent (photo by John)

Pine trees by the side of the road exude their lovely fragrance (photo by John)

Longbush Road is very quiet – in over 20 km, only six vehicles overtook us, and we saw just four cars going in the other direction. However, once we had passed Millars Road, which went off to the left, there was a lot more traffic between there and Gladstone.

Soon after Millars Road, there is an Equestrian Centre, with horses in the paddocks
on both sides of the road (photo by John)

We didn't go as far as the settlement of Gladstone, where Longbush Road becomes Te Whiti Road, but instead turned left onto Gladstone Road. The Gladstone Inn, the objective of this ride, and where we planned to have lunch, was a further two kilometres up this road.

The Gladstone Inn (photo by John)

There was a very pleasant garden area behind the pub

While waiting for our food, we took turns going for a wander down to the Ruamahanga River. John took a look at the bridge, both from the top and from below.

No access here, but it was pretty – though the stagnant water was a little smelly
(photo by John)

The Ruamahanga River (photo by John)

The bridge from the riverbed (photo by John)

We enjoyed our lunch on the back porch (photo by John)

We asked the young woman who brought us our lunch why it was that the traffic coming from Masterton on Te Whiti Road, would turn off onto Millars Road to get to Martinborough, instead of continuing on Longbush Road, which would seem to be a more direct route, when looking at the map. She thought it would be because Longbush Road was a more winding and undulating road than the other route. Ah, that made sense, but while biking it you don’t take much notice of a road being sinuous. At that speed, the winding nature of the road just makes it that much more attractive and interesting.

On the return ride, John’s rear-mounted camera took some interesting shots of traffic on the busy part of the route, showing how trucks and cars were passing us.

A truck carrying a digger is about to pass me (photo by John)

Trucks going in the opposite direction cause a strong vortex of air behind them
which is quite unnerving (photo by John)

We stopped briefly to watch a farmer taking a small mob of sheep onto the road (photo by John)

But this lot stayed peacefully in their paddock

Wot, no cyclists? (photo by John)

John liked the pattern of posts and shadows of this fence (photo by John)

At one point on the winding road, we pulled off the road and waited for a couple of cars to overtake us. We could see them coming in our rear-view mirrors, and as it was a bit of a tight bend, and not much of a shoulder for us to ride on, it was safer for us to just stop and get out of the way.

We pulled off the road to let cars pass (photo by John)

Just as we were about to bike off again after that, I noticed that my mileage counter showed 3,000 km. Yay! Of course we had to record that. Note that on the photo I am holding up three fingers, for 3,000, not two fingers as the V sign that school children and silly young women seem to think is necessary to make when posing for a photo, or worse, for a "selfie" …

Three fingers for 3,000 km (photo by John)

The evidence – 3,000.1 km in fact.

There’s that hill again … (photo by John)

This is where you hope the car behind you will be patient and wait for the other car to pass,
before trying to overtake you (photo by John)

We made it safely back to Martinborough, having biked a total of 71 km. It had taken us about two and a quarter hours to bike each way, and an hour for lunch. It had been a lovely day.

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