Monday, 17 April 2017

Paekakariki to Peka Peka

On Saturday 8 April, we biked from Paekakariki to Peka Peka – on dedicated cycle paths all the way – a distance of 25.5 km. It is great that cycling facilities are improving all the time – though perhaps not fast enough in the opinion of some.

John had had surgery to his lower eyelid a couple of weeks earlier, which meant that airflows and wind no longer bother him so much, as the eye can now (nearly) close. He is also feeling a bit more energetic.

Again, we drove to Paekakariki, and cycled on Te Ara o Whareroa through the sandhills of Queen Elizabeth II Park. Heading north, the scrub-covered sandhills are on the left, while on the right is a valley of lovely green pastures, dotted with sheep. During a “normal” summer, these pastures get to look quite dry and brown, but with the huge amount of rain we’ve had lately, it is now looking wonderfully lush.

Lush pasture dotted with sheep and wetlands

From the end of Te Ara o Whareroa at Raumati, there is a short distance to ride on a shared foot/cycle path along Poplar Avenue to the start of Te Ara Kapiti (the “unofficial” name, coined by Alastair Smith, for the cycle path alongside the Kapiti Expressway, which I will be using in this blog, until the track gets a proper name). This shared foot/cycle path comes to an abrupt end, where there is no sloping kerb to allow one to smoothly cross Leinster Road to the start of Te Ara Kapiti. That is a tad annoying, and possibly hazardous. It is something that the council – or NZTA, or whoever does these things – should attend to, we think.

Along the way on Te Ara Kapiti, we took photos of the wetlands and their vegetation. The planting is quite mature already, and very attractive.

I liked the reflections of the flaxes on the water

Reeds in the foreground and toetoe in the back ground

Amazing seedpods of a different variety of reed

A small flock of alpacas (photo by John)

Alpacas are farmed for their fibre, which is soft, durable and luxuriously silky

We came to the retaining wall with the stylised Māori patterns on it, and I took some more photos of it. The wall consists of two parts, one below the cycle track, and one alongside it. The two parts have different styles of decoration on them.

The lower part of the wall, with the cycle path running on top of it

The upper part of the wall, alongside the cycle track

Just before we got to Peka Peka, John reached his 5,000 km milestone. Of course that warranted a photo.

Five thousand kilometres since November 2014 (photo by John)

We stopped at Peka Peka to have a late lunch at Harrisons. There were two other SmartMotion electric bikes in the bike rack. John later talked to the owners, who said they had had theirs for a couple of years. We see quite a few of these bikes around the place now. E-bikes are definitely becoming more popular.

A gaggle of SmartMotion e-bikes at Harrisons (photo by John)

After lunch we took the same route back. From the corner of SH1 and Peka Peka Road, there seems to be a cycle track continuing along SH1, but time was getting on so we didn’t explore to see how far it went. We’ll have to do that another time.

The corner of SH1 and Peka Peka Road, where road alterations are still going on – (photo by John)

A pretty view off a bridge close to the Te Moana Road crossing

The Te Moana Road crossing (photo by John)

Special traffic lights for cyclists

Back on Te Ara o Whareroa – at 4:30 pm, the shadows are lengthening (photo by John)

The late afternoon sun on the water at Paekakariki (photo by John)

It was quite a long day, but very satisfying. It was not a hard ride, but we did cover a total distance of 51 km.

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