Sunday 22 December 2013

Petone and Hutt River Trail (2)

Apart from the 10 km ride in Tawa last week to get to my 1,000 km milestone, we hadn’t done a proper ride since we came back from our Hawke’s Bay holiday. The weather has been indifferent and rather windy. But yesterday was beautiful, though still quite windy.

We did quite a nice long ride, along the Petone Foreshore, from the motorway to the bridge, and then up the Hutt River Trail, as far as Stokes Valley and back, 32 kms in total.

In Petone, the pohutukawas are flowering along the Esplanade, and on each side of the cycling track. They are flowering right on time for Christmas (the pohutukawa is often called the NZ Christmas tree, because it flowers around Christmas).

The pohutukawas are flowering – right on time for Christmas

Between the end of the Petone Foreshore and the Waione Bridge there is a small reserve – the Hikoikoi Reserve. The path here goes up and down a bit, and along the edge of the estuary it is quite narrow, with a fence on one side and a drop into the river on the other. I don’t like this bit of track very much. But it is quite pretty along there. The tide was out, and there were mudflats and algal mats which we hadn’t seen before.

Cabbage trees in the Hikoikoi Reserve (photo by John)

Stunning green algae and black swans on the mudflats of the Hutt River estuary (photo by John)

Once on the Hutt River Trail, we rode without stopping until we got to the Stokes Valley roundabout. There was a brisk headwind, but that no longer worries me as much as it did, though it does make the going harder.

It is surprising how quickly one can lose fitness. Just over two weeks without cycling, and after only 15 kms, I was wishing I could inject some lubricant into my knee joints, and I wouldn’t have minded some extra padding on my saddle.

We stopped for a rest in the park just before the roundabout. We noticed that there was a gully, with a stream running alongside the park. We hadn’t seen that on previous rides to this area. The stream comes from somewhere up in Stokes Valley, and joins the Hutt River a bit further down.

The park near the entrance to Stokes Valley

On the return trip we went under a railway bridge, where some people were in the process of creating a mural on the bridge side. The man standing on the scaffold was using a paint roller on the end of a rather long handle, very tricky to manoeuvre. I wondered whether they were going to also cover the graffiti on the bridge pylon.

Creating a mural – and graffiti on the bridge support (photo by John)

Again, we rode without stopping – a much swifter ride with the wind behind us now – until we got to the dairy on the Petone Esplanade, where we paused for an icecream. We had been out for two-and-a half hours, and we had covered 32 kms.

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