Monday, 22 May 2017

Folding Goldies ride – Te Ara Kapiti

Last Wednesday 17 May we went on another Folding Goldies ride. Dubbed “Kapiti: Expressway and Espresso” by leader Alastair Smith, the plan was to take the train to Waikanae, bike to Peka Peka for coffee at Harrison’s, then ride the cycling and walking trail alongside the Kapiti Expressway to Raumati and Te Ara o Whareroa to Paekakariki, from where we would take the train back to Wellington.

During the week leading up to FG day, I was eyeing the weather forecast, and dreaded what was coming. On the day, we woke to pelting rain, and my reaction was “Forget it, I’m not going”. Several other people who had said they would be coming along, let the group know by email that they weren’t coming after all because of the weather. John and I argued back and forth about whether to go, but then, just before 9 am, the sky seemed to be clearing somewhat, so we headed to the train. “If it is really awful up there, we can just have a coffee and come straight back on the train” John said. There were five of us on the train, and a few more joined us at Waikanae.

At Waikanae station – I don’t know why everyone is looking at me … (photo by John)

Alastair suggested we could ride to Peka Peka on the “old” SH1, which does not have a lot of traffic on it now that the Expressway takes most of it. It wasn’t raining when we got to Waikakane, but by the time we had met everyone (several new people), chatted a bit, and started off, the rain really set in. Parka on, glasses off, hood on under the helmet, gloves on to stop my hands from sliding around on the wet handlebar. Within minutes we were saturated.

Fortunately it didn’t take terribly long to get to Peka Peka, less than half an hour. As expected, there was not a lot of traffic, but we did get doused by a big truck hurtling past.

At Harrison's, we all crowded into the small inside area for our coffee and eats – sitting outside was not an option today.

The rain had abated somewhat when we took to our bikes again, but had not stopped completely. John did instal his waterproof camera on his handlebar, so was able to get some photos.

The rain had abated, but it was still pretty miserable (photo by John)

The track between Peka Peka and Paraparaumu is not sealed, and it was quite muddy and riddled with puddles. Those people who did not have mudguards on their bikes got very mucky indeed, with mud spatters on their legs and all the way up their backs. Our bikes, which John had cleaned just a few days earlier, were all muddy again, despite having mudguards.

The track was rather muddy (photo by John)

By the time we got to Waikanae, the rain had stopped and soon after we even saw some blue sky.

The track diverts from the Expressway for a short distance near the Grace family wāhi tapu land

Waiting for others to catch up at the entrance to Te Ara o Whareroa (photo by John)

From here, where there is a side track overlooking the beach, we could hear the thunder
of the surf (photo by John)

Back at Paekakariki, we took the road along the waterfront to get back to the township. The surf was rolling in strongly. We stopped to take photos.

John waits while his rear-mounted time-lapse camera (under his saddle) takes a photo of Kapiti Island

Kapiti Island and the surf

We stopped at the Perching Parrot Café for lunch and/or more coffee. Lately this café, which used to be closed on Wednesdays, has been opening every day as demand has increased. It was pretty busy, and we moved an extra table to a spot right outside the post office, blocking the PO boxes. A couple of locals came to clear their boxes, and had to ask to be let through …

We scored a table right outside the post office … (photo by John)

… but had to get an extra table to make room for all nine of us (photo by John)

Tucking in to lunch (photo by John)

We took the 2:15 pm train back to Wellington, having biked 35 km – very satisfying, despite the rather wet start.

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