Thursday, 26 March 2015

2nd Anniversary - Two years of cycling

On 12 March, it was two years since we bought my first folding bike, a “Giant Expressway”, nick-named Isabella (as in “is-a-bell necessary on a bicycle”. Ooh, isn’t that corny!). To date, I have ridden nearly 2,500 km on it. Then, last November, we bought our folding electrically assisted bikes, beautiful red “SmartMotion” bikes. My one is nick-named Ruby Red. John’s bikes are nick-named Betsy Flowerpower – after a VW Beetle with flower decals on it that we had in the 1970s – and Rosy Red.

We have just come back from an epic bike trip to the Nelson area on our e-bikes, during which we rode 340 km in a week. So far, my total distance on the e-bike is 866 km.

Since last year’s anniversary write-up, as well as biking around the Wellington region, we have done several cycling trips further afield.
  • In April, we cycled the Otago Central Rail Trail, and various tracks around Tekapo, Ohau, Queenstown and Arrowtown – 300 km all up, over two weeks.
  • In November, we took the e-bikes for a three-day holiday in Hawke’s Bay, where we biked 135 km, on the area’s lovely cycle trails.
  • In January, we went on a fully-supported bike tour of the Mackenzie Country, in the South Island. We used the Pure Trails company’s hire bikes. I had to learn to ride a bike with 27 gears and big wheels (regular-sized wheels really, but I’m used to smaller wheels on the folding bikes). In five days we rode 170 km, most of it reasonably easy.
  • And this month, we had our major e-bike trip, as mentioned above. We did not take the car, but biked from Picton to Nelson, Mapua, Motueka, Kaiteriteri, and back to Nelson.

Other milestones in this second year of biking have been:
  • In July, we became involved with the Folding Goldies Group – people with a folding bike and a Gold Card. We take the bikes on a train trip (for free, thanks to the Gold Card) and bike back.
  • In August, I clocked up 2,000 km on my original folding bike.
  • In October, we rode the Akatarawa Road, from Upper Hutt to Waikanae, with the Folding Goldies. This was a 42 km challenge for me, because of the hill climbs, and having to ride on a narrow winding road without much of a shoulder. John had modified the gearing on my bike to make the hills a bit more manageable, but it was still very hard work.
  • In November, more or less as a consequence of my difficulty with hills, we bought the electric bikes. Also that month I wrote my 100th blog post.

When we bought the e-bikes, it was with the intention of replacing the original folding bikes. But that idea has gone by the board. We find it rather nice to be able to choose a bike according to the conditions of the ride. We use the e-bikes for hills or when it is very windy, because the electric assist takes the edge off those. But when we plan to do an easy-peasy flat ride on a calm day, we use the original folders.

It does place pressure on space in our garage, where there are now six bikes, including John’s old mountain bike, and his new-ish road bike. Yes, it’s definitely true: bikes are sly – they multiply! And all that, because two years ago, I was agitating for John to get rid of his mountain bike – that he hadn’t used for ten years at that stage – because it was taking up room in the garage!

Early morning in Mapua - waiting for the ferry to Rabbit Island (photo by John)

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