Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Folding Goldies ride – Pauatahanui and Whitby

After two months of not blogging, I have a few rides to write up. Even one that we didn’t actually go on.

On 24 August, the Folding Goldies group planned a ride which Alastair called a “Tour de Paekakariki” – having been inspired by watching the Tour de France. He suggested taking the train to Paekakariki, then climbing the Paekak Hill, riding over the top, down to Pauatahanui, along Te Ara Piko to Mana, and then the train home.

When he first put out the email, I said "You've got to be joking", but he assured us that the climb was “steady but not too steep”. John reckoned I was a wuss, if I didn’t join in, so I was prepared to give it a go. After all, we have e-bikes that “flatten the hills …”.

But in the end, neither of us went, as John was still having trouble with his knee (damaged a month earlier), and I managed to get him to see a doctor that day.

Five of the other Folding Goldies did go, and Alastair put up a few photos of the ride, which I’ll share here (with his permission).

Biking up the Paekakariki Hill Road (photo by Alastair Smith)

At the Paekakariki look-out. From left: John B, Sue, Daryl, Carole (photo by Alastair Smith)

                                                     * * * * * * * * * * * *

A month later, on 21 September, the Folding Goldies went for another ride. This time, the plan was to take the train to Pukerua Bay, ride down Te Ara Harakeke to Plimmerton, then the Camborne Walkway and Te Ara Piko along the northern shore of the Pauatahanui Inlet. Lunch at the Ground Up Café in Pauatahanui, then the Whitby Traverse to see the cherry blossoms in the Japanese Garden in Whitby, before heading back to Porirua via Bothamley Park.

John wasn’t up to biking yet after his health set-back, so I went without him. But he was able load my bike into the car, drive me to Takapu Road station, and unload the bike. Because the e-bike is heavy, and I have problem hands, I am not able to manage lifting it in and out of the car myself.

Apart from Alastair, three other Folding Goldies came along. Lynn joined us at Pukerua Bay Station, having biked there from Paraparaumu. We zoomed down Te Ara Harakeke, rode through Plimmerton and Mana, and headed onto the Camborne Walkway, around the northern edge of the Pauatahanui Inlet.

At the end of the Camborne Walkway. From left: Gottfried, Lynn, Frank, Alastair

After the Camborne Walkway, we had to ride on Grays Road to get to Motukaraka and Te Ara Piko. As we were approaching the bridge over the Kakaho Stream, we could see that there were preparations for building the next stage of Te Ara Piko. Two lines of flags showed where the track will go across the wetlands. This is really good news, as the road bridge is narrow and not terribly safe for cyclists, so it will be great to have a separate bridge for walkers and cyclists. Of course we stopped to take pictures.

Alastair crossed the road to take photos

Two lines of flags show where the track will run through the wetlands towards the Camborne Walkway

The proposed track, near the Kakaho Stream

There is an interesting blog post on the Te Ara Piko website, which describes this next stage of the pathway. It also has information about the Pauatahanui Garden Trail on Sunday 27 November, which is a community event to raise funds for the continued extension of the track. I think we will go – it will be a good cause to support. 

After lunch at the Ground Up Café in Pauatahanui, we headed into Whitby, where we were hoping to see the cherry blossoms in the Nishio Japanese Garden. We did this ride at about the same time last year, in the opposite direction, and saw the blossoms then. This time, unfortunately, the trees had not yet started to flower, though the daffodils under them looked lovely.

Lots of daffodils …

… but sadly no cherry blossoms yet

However, on our way through Bothamley Park, we saw quite a few trees that had started flowering – probably just different varieties.

We did find some trees in Bothamley Park that were flowering

When we got to Porirua, the others planned to take the train back to Wellington from there. I was biking back to Takapu Road, from where John would pick me up. However as the train wasn’t due for a while yet, they accompanied me as far as Redwood Station, before catching the train from there.

John was waiting for me at the Takapu Road end of Te Ara Tawa (photo by John)

Despite the cold wind, and the disappointment of not seeing the cherry blossoms, it had been an enjoyable ride, but somehow, it wasn’t the same without John.

No comments:

Post a Comment