Sunday, 16 April 2017

Petone to Eastbourne

We hadn’t biked to Days Bay and Eastbourne for quite a while, so on Tuesday 21 March, we decided to ride from Petone to Days Bay for lunch. We parked in Petone, in the carpark at the western end of the Esplanade. A few weeks earlier, the short gravel track between the parking reserve and the Petone Wharf had been sealed, and made wider, which makes it much nicer to ride on.

The beach-side track has been widened and sealed (photo by John)

I had hoped that the narrow, gravel track in the Hikoikoi Reserve, that runs along the Hutt River estuary, might also have been improved, but it hadn’t.

Crossing the bridge over the Hutt River is always a little hazardous. It is narrow, and often there are people fishing, who leave their paraphernalia on the path, and sometimes they leave their fishing rods propped up half-way across the path. I always worry that one day a fishhook will either give us a puncture, or worse, may be flicked back and hit one of us in the face.

The path across the bridge is narrow, and often clogged with people fishing (photo by John)

We continued on the track alongside Seaview Road, and past the marina, where we didn’t take any pictures this time – just for a change. Onto a stretch of cycle path between the boat launching ramp and the Point Howard Wharf.

A cycle path heading towards Point Howard (photo by John)

For the first few kilometres around the eastern bays, there is a sort-of protected shoulder on the seaward side of the road, but from Lowry Bay, this disappears and we had to cycle on the road.

There is a protected shoulder of sorts for some of the way … (photo by John)

… but from Lowry Bay we had to ride on the road (photo by John)

At Days Bay, we stopped for lunch at the Chocolate Dayz Café. Directly behind the café is the Southlight Studio, where photographer Simon Hoyle specialises in family portraits. We had some wonderful family photos taken by Simon about 17 years ago. He took us to the Eastbourne Wharf, where he took some lovely relaxed photos of us all. They are much treasured.

John liked the contrast of the orange chairs with the blue of the view beyond (photo by John)

The Chocolate Dayz Café, with the Southlight Studio at the back (photo by John)

After lunch we continued the ride towards Eastbourne, as far as Burdan’s Gate, which is the start of the track to Pencarrow. We didn’t carry on to do the Pencarrow ride, as I was still a bit reluctant to tackle loose gravel (after my fall on Ocean Beach Road several weeks earlier). But we sat in the sun and took pictures.

The Eastbourne Domain (photo by John)

We noted that they had changed the gate for pedestrians and cyclists since the last time we were there. It was a very awkward narrow zig-zaggy gate. Now the gate is somewhat easier, but I think it would still be a bit of a mission to get the e-bikes through. We watched a couple of cyclists coming back from a ride, and they had to raise their bikes onto the back wheel to be able to walk them through the narrow gap.

The gate (with the chain attached) is still very narrow and tricky to negotiate with a bike (photo by John)

Looking north ... (photo by John)

... and south, towards Cook Strait (photo by John)

By the time we got back to Petone, we had done a very relaxed 28 km.

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