Saturday, 13 August 2016

Folding Goldies Ride to Pencarrow

On Wednesday 20 July, John went on a major escapade – a Folding Goldies ride to Pencarrow, and though the plan had been to take the train back from Petone, he ended up biking back all the way back to Churton Park, up the Ngauranga Gorge – on his (non-electric) Giant. I was unable to go on this ride, as we had our grandchildren staying with us during the school holidays, or I might have tried to dissuade him from doing that!

John took the train into town and met up with the others for the 10 am sailing of the East by West Harbour Ferry. Alastair had arranged with the ferry crew to be able to use a ramp to wheel the bikes onto the top deck at the Wellington end. Because of the difference in height of the individual wharves, passengers normally board the ferry on the lower deck in Wellington, but disembark from the top deck at Days Bay. The stairs between the two levels are rather steep, which presents a bit of a problem when you have to carry your bike up. Not too bad in the case of a regular bike, but rather harder with an e-bike, which is much heavier. And Alastair and Sue were riding e-bikes, though John wasn’t this time.

On the Harbour Ferry wharf - from left: Sue, Alastair, Gottfried, Frank, Daryl (photo by John)

All the bikes neatly arranged along the side (photo by John)

Meanwhile, since it was a beautiful day, I drove to Days Bay with the grandchildren to watch the ferry arrive. I had debated taking them across on the same ferry as the FGs and returning on the next ferry, but decided against it, as I wasn’t sure that I could keep them entertained there for over two hours. As it turned out, they had a lovely time feeding the ducks in the Days Bay Park and playing on the beach, which would have amply filled the time.

Diz and the kids on the Days Bay wharf – can you spot us? (photo by John)

John on the ferry as it arrives at Days Bay

Sue and John disembarking

Group photo on the wharf

While the kids and I headed off to the café for hot chocolates, the FGs set off towards Eastbourne and the road to Pencarrow. They kept going beyond the lighthouse towards the Parangarahu Lakes, until they got to the wreck of the Paiaka. This small steamer was wrecked off the coast in 1906. At least 40 shipwrecks are recorded to have happened on this wild coast. Most traces of these have disappeared, but the Paiaka was found buried in the gravel beach in the 1980s and was moved to its present position.

Near Lake Kohangapiripiri (photo by John)

The wreck of S.S. Paiaka (photo by John)

On their way back, they explored the lakes area. The two lakes – Kohangapiripiri and Kohangatera – are dammed by gravel and sand banks that are old earthquake-raised beaches. This is an important conservation area of raised beaches and wetlands, which support regionally-threatened native plants, native fish and wetland birds.

On the way back from the Paiaka (photo by Alastair Smith)

The lake is blocked by a raised beach (photo by John)

Three shags share one rock (photo by John)

They left the bikes at the bottom of the hill, and walked up the path to overlook Lake Kohangatera. The views to either side are stunning.

From the same spot: the seaward end of Lake Kohangatera … (photo by John)

… and the view out towards Baring Head and Cook Strait (photo by John)

Alastair clambered up a bank to take a photo of the group with Lake Kohangatera in the background (photo by Alastair Smith)

The return ride along the Pencarrow coast road (photo by John)

After lunch at the Chocolate Dayz Café in Days Bay, they biked back to Petone, where they were supposed to be taking the train back to Wellington. Along the way, they stopped at the house that belonged to Katherine Mansfield’s family around the turn of the 20th century, and which features in her story “At The Bay”

One of the FGs group, Daryl Cockburn is an architect, who seems to have some connection with the restoration of the house, which was severely damaged in the southerly storm of June 2013. Being on the seaward side of the road, the house is particularly vulnerable to the onslaughts of the waves, so it was raised by two metres. The house was apparently unoccupied when Daryl showed the FGs around its perimeter.

The restored former seaside bach of Katherine Mansfield's family (photo by John)

The house was raised by two metres to protect it from the waves (photo by John)

Instead of taking the train home from Petone, as originally planned, the group decided to bike back to Wellington on the commuters’ cycling track alongside SH2.

Cycling alongside SH2 between Petone and Wellington (photo by John)

At the bottom of Ngauranga Gorge, John and Sue left the group and headed up the two kilometre climb towards home (average grade: 8 %). Sue, on her e-bike, soon disappeared into the distance, while John, on his non-electrified Giant struggled up the hill, sometimes biking, sometimes walking. I think he may have overdone things a bit on that day, as he has since been bothered by a painful knee. By the time he got home he had done 54 km.

Sometimes biking, sometimes walking up Ngauranga Gorge (photo by John)

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