Wednesday 5 November 2014

Wellington South Coast

On Thursday 30 October we went for a ride on the Wellington South Coast. It was a lovely day, but there was a northerly blowing.

We rode from Lyall Bay to Owhiro Bay. There was a great view of the South Island, with the snow on Tapuaenuku, the highest peak of the Seaward Kaikouras, standing out.

Great view of the South Island from near Island Bay (photo by John

A flock of seagulls at the outlet of the Owhiro Stream (photo by John)

At Owhiro Bay, we carried on towards the end of the road, where the path to Red Rocks begins. The path looked a lot more civilised than it did a year-and-a-bit ago, when a southerly storm had ‘rearranged’ the coast. Still, I was not game to go cycling on it – not this time anyway. But I was intrigued to see how neatly the shadows showed up the steps of the old quarry.

The old Owhiro Bay quarry

We turned around and at Island Bay, we diverted into The Parade, heading towards the local shops. I wanted to see what all the fuss was about with regard to the City Council’s plans to install cycle lanes. There is a cycle lane on the outside of parked cars on both sides of the road. I gather that there are plans to move it to be between the footpath and the parked cars. And some local residents have objected.

The Wellington Cycling Advocates Network has been very active in liaising with the City Council to get the best results for cyclists and for the community in the area. Their recent submission to the Council makes interesting reading.

On the corner of Reef Street and The Parade is a building with a mural on it. It depicts a scene of Island Bay with its fishing boats. The building once housed a restaurant, but is now a gallery owned by artist Michael McCormack, and I guess he painted the mural. We didn’t go inside, but I think we should have. I like the work that’s on his website.

Michael McCormack Studio Gallery, on the corner of Reef Street and The Parade (photo by John)

We stopped to have lunch at the Blue Belle Café – so-so coffee, but very nice roast vege salad – then walked our bikes along the footpath to the end of the shopping area, before turning around for the return journey. There is no cycle lane in the shopping area (I think that this is what some of the above-mentioned fuss is about).

Lunch at the Blue Belle Café (photo by John)

The cycle lane runs along most of The Parade between the shops and the beach (photo by John)

Back along the waterfront, John took a photo of the repairs being made to the road at Princess Bay, which was damaged by last year’s June storm. Approaching it, I marvelled at how high above the beach it was, and yet that storm caused such damage. The breakers must have been absolutely mountainous!

Repairs to the road at Princess Bay (photo by John)

We got back to the car, having biked 18 km. On the way home, we stopped at Burke’s Cycles, where John wanted to get some new free-wheel cassettes. He had replaced the chains on our bikes, and during this ride it turned out that the smallest sprocket skipped under load, as it was also worn. Not surprising, since the bikes have done more than 2,300 km by now. Since then, he has also replaced the rear brake pads, as they, too, are worn. Very handy to have your own in-house bike mechanic! And John actually enjoys having projects like this to work on.

While we were there, John had a long chat with Simon, the guy who sold him our folding bikes, about electric bikes. He told us they are the up-and-coming trend. They sell at least one or two electrically assisted bikes every week. There is a folding electric bike in the shop, and Simon suggested we could have a try of it around their back yard. Very nice! It would make all the difference on those Wellington hills. Nice price too, though. And rather heavy – it would be a mission to heave them into our little car! But we think such bikes may be in our (near?) future …

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