Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Trentham to Petone and other rides

One of the disadvantages of going on a biking holiday is that when you come home, you feel a bit “biked out”, and don’t want to go for any rides for a while. While our last escapade wasn’t exactly a biking holiday – just a few days’ cycling tacked onto the end of a week visiting family – we did bike a total of 205 km, which was enough to set up the “biked out” feeling. Added to that was the fact that John has been laid low by a nasty cold and generally feeling tired and unmotivated. And the weather has not been too enticing, so we haven’t done any great bike heroics for over a month.

But on Wednesday 5 August – yes I know, that’s nearly a month ago, I’ve been a bit remiss in writing things up – it was fine-ish, so we took the train to Upper Hutt. We had thought of biking in Whiteman’s Valley, and riding back to Petone. However, that day, the train only went as far as Trentham, and was being replaced by buses to take passengers to Upper Hutt from there. Not very practical with our bikes.

So we flagged the idea of Whiteman’s Valley. It will keep for another time. We found our way to Trentham Park, to get to the Hutt River trail. The park leads into a nice forested area, called Barton’s Bush. This is the largest remaining area of original native bush – lowland mixed podocarp/broadleaf forest – on the valley floor. 

The entrance to Trentham Park from Fergusson Drive (photo by John)

The track through Barton’s Bush (photo by John)

Once on the Hutt River Trail, we were on familiar territory. It was pleasing to see the progress that is being made in sealing most of the trail. Between Silverstream and Stokes Valley, there is a stretch of track, parallel to and below the Eastern Hutt Road, that is narrow, gravelly and up-and-down. It is my least favourite bit of the trail, and I was thrilled to see that it had been replaced with a nice, smooth concrete path. However, my enjoyment was very short-lived, as it only went for a very short distance, only to deteriorate into gravel and mud again. Oh, well – there’s hope that it will be sealed eventually …

Disappointingly this sealed stretch of track did not go very far (photo by John)

Closer to Lower Hutt, more of the track had been sealed, a very nice smooth finish, though it looks a bit messy on the photo below. I think it will look much better when all the mud streaks have washed off in the rain.

The sealed track near lower Hutt (photo by John)

With a small detour into Lower Hutt for lunch, we got back to our car in Petone, having biked 30 km. A good ride.

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We had a few short rides in subsequent weeks – a couple of times down to our local café with a meander around the suburb (9-10 km each), and a 10 km ride along the Wellington Waterfront on a lovely sunny day.

Not a trick photo – that's how steep Churton Park streets are (photo by John)

Our local café – "Thyme" – on Middleton Road (photo by John)

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Our next ride of any substance was along the northern edge of the Pauatahanui Inlet on 21 August. We parked in the Ngati Toa Domain, and rode to the Camborne Walkway. When we first got there, the inlet was absolutely flat, mirror-like, with magnificent reflections. But by the time we came to the end of the walkway, a breeze had sprung up and all the reflections were gone. We were lucky to have captured them.

The Camborne boatsheds and the beach at the end of Pascoe Avenue (photo by John)

Reflections on the inlet (photo by John)

The clouds just make this picture (photo by John)

John concentrates on taking the above pictures

After lunch at the Ground Up Café in Pauatahanui (they do a fantastic chicken salad!), we rode some distance past the roundabout on the Haywards Road, to turn into Bradey Road. We had biked here once before about a year ago. We didn’t have the e-bikes then, and the climb up the hill meant I had to walk quite a bit of it. This time, we sailed up the hill without trouble. This is a lovely valley, and I spotted wattles in flower, and daffodils along the roadside. Spring is a-coming!

From the top of the rise, the road becomes a gravel farm track, and unfortunately it ends at a gate with dire warnings to “keep out”. So we stopped, took some photos, and turned around.

The end of the road (photo by John)

St Joseph’s is a small historic church (built in 1878), opposite the exit from Bradey Road (photo by John)

Our total distance for the day was 21 km.

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