Friday, 16 October 2015

Petone to Eastbourne

On Tuesday 29 September, we decided on an easy ride from Petone to Eastbourne. Although the ride was all on the flat, we took the electric bikes, as there was a brisk breeze.

We parked at the motorway end of Petone and biked to Days Bay without stopping. There is a bit of a cycle lane on the seaward side of the road in most places, but at times we had to cross and ride on the road. We stopped for coffee and a scone at the Chocolate Dayz Café.

Fortified by coffee at Chocolate Dayz (photo by John)

It was a pleasant ride round the bays to Eastbourne. It seemed to us – but we may be mistaken – that the shape of the beach had changed since were last there. It seemed more ‘scalloped’ somehow.

We thought the beach had changed shape (photo by John) 
The same stretch of beach, seen from the other end (photo by John)

We biked to the end of the road, stopping at Burdan’s Gate, the starting point to the Pencarrow Lighthouse track. We did not want to bike there today – in any case, the silly gate which gives pedestrians and cyclists access to the track is too awkward to manoeuvre the e-bikes through. And these bikes are too heavy to lift over the main gate across the road.

Coming back through Eastbourne, we took a little detour onto the wharf.

The Eastbourne wharf (photo by John)

As we were riding along the riverside track at Seaview, we saw, up ahead, the little yellow tug Kowhai pushing along the dredging barge with a digger on the top. John raced along to catch up with it so he could take a photo.

The tug Kowhai, and the dredging barge (photo by John)

On the Waione Bridge across the Hutt River, there are always people fishing, causing a bit of an obstruction on the narrow foot/cycle path. Sometimes they have a bike or paraphernalia near them on the footpath, so you have to dismount to get past. This time, when we rode past one of the anglers, something wet and slimy hit me on the side of the face. I don’t know what it was, it didn’t hurt but it was pretty icky! At least it didn’t smell!

The rest of the way back to the car was uneventful. We had done 33 km – a reasonably respectable ride.

Cherry Blossoms in Whitby

Wow, it seems like such a long time since I last wrote up a blog post. We have been cycling, but I’ve had no time to write things up.

On Thursday 24 Sep, we went on a Folding Goldies ride. As pre-planned dates tend to go, you have no control over what the weather will be like on the day, and this time, again, it was not a particularly brilliant day – quite cold and wet.

The date was determined by the flowering of the cherry trees in the Japanese garden in Whitby. The walking/cycling path runs through it, and on previous rides we had speculated on how lovely they would look at the right time of year. The plan was to take the train to Porirua, bike through Bothamley Park to Whitby. Then on to Pauatahanui for lunch, and back to Mana for the train back. There were six of us – a few more than usual – and for the first time, another woman came along.

As expected, the track through Bothamley Park was quite wet. The wide path through the forest was was OK when on the gravel, but some part were quite muddy.

The lower end of Bothamley Park (photo by John)

Fortunately the muddy track had a solid base (photo by John)

We emerged from the forest track, and crossed the road (don’t know which road it was!). Here several of the group stopped to take off their parkas, as it was warming up a bit and the rain had stopped. I am glad that I didn’t take mine off, because on the next track, I went for a spill in the mud.

Time for some of us to shed a layer (photo by John)

We avoided riding on a very soggy bit of track, and diverted along the edge of a sports ground, where the “track” was basically a concrete draining channel. I tried to avoid a broken bit of concrete, and strayed onto the soft edge of the grass, promptly losing traction and going for a skid. Result: I came a cropper, landing on my left side in the mud. Because it was soft and wet, I did not hurt myself, but I did get filthy dirty. Lucky I was wearing my parka over my nice new blue Tineli jacket (which is not so easy to wash!). The parka was easy to sponge clean when I got home.

The walking/cycling paths in Whitby are very nice indeed. We duly reached the Japanese Garden with all its lovely Sakura cherry trees in bloom. This garden celebrates Porirua’s sister city of Nishio, in Japan.

Despite the gloomy sky, the frothy look of the cherry blossoms was a treat, especially as there were still some daffodils out under the trees. Apparently it is tricky to find a time when both the blossoms and the daffodils (which tend to flower a bit earlier) are both at their best. I reckon we were lucky to see both.

Stopping to take photos (photo by John)

Cherry blossoms and daffodils

As we were lingering near the cherry trees, taking photos, a local walking group came along with the same purpose. They told us that usually their group was much larger, but the rainy weather had put some of them off.

Cyclists meet walkers (photo by John)

We stopped for a leisurely lunch at the Ground Up Café in Pauatahanui, and then rode back to Mana via the Camborne Walkway. The weather had sort of cleared by then, and John would have been quite happy to ride all the way back to Porirua or Takapu Road (where we had parked the car), but I felt that 20 km was enough, especially since we were dancing in the evening as well. The others decided that they would take the train back from Mana, so we did too.

For the next Folding Goldies ride, it has been decided that we will ride the Whiteman’s Valley Road.

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Two short rides – Hutt River Trail and Wellington Waterfont

It’s over three weeks since the last bike ride I wrote up. Hmm, this sounds almost like a confession. In that time, we’ve done two rides – 16 and 10 km – on the Giants (i.e. the non-electric bikes), and three rather more substantial rides on the e-bikes.

On Sunday 13 September, we went into Petone to have a look at the Home Ideas Centre (as we are looking to get some work done on our house), and just on the off-chance, we put the bikes in the car too.

After our visit in Petone, we drove to Lower Hutt’s riverside car park, and biked up the valley. It was sunny and calm, but a southerly was expected later in the day.

I was giving my new cycling jacket its first outing. I had a great deal of trouble finding one that fitted, but finally the lovely Jenny at Scott’s Outlet in Petone came up trumps for me. The thermal softshell fabric is beautifully warm and really keeps the wind out, but I miss the convenient pockets of my other blue jacket. Never mind – one can’t have everything perfect …

First outing of my new Tineli cycling jacket (photo by John) 

We rode up the eastern bank of the Hutt River, had lunch at our “usual” café, Janus Bakkerij, and continued until some distance beyond the Kennedy Good Bridge. We were happily pedaling along, when John suggested it would be wise to turn around now, as the southerly was about to hit. How did he know? “The going is too easy, we must be getting a tailwind”, he said.

He was right. We turned around and went back to the bridge, where we crossed to the western bank. We now had a southerly headwind, which grew steadily stronger. With our non-e bikes, pedaling into it was quite a bit harder than we've become used to lately on the e-bikes. A good reminder, actually. It is too easy to become complacent.

This part of the river bank has been repaired after suffering severe scouring in the May floods
 (photo by John)

Heading south on the western bank of the river (photo by John)

We crossed back to the other side over the railway bridge – there is a “tacked on” foot/cycle path – to get back to the car. We had done 16 km.

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The next day, it was still fine (a bonus, as spring has taken such a long time to establish itself), so we went for an easy ride along the Wellington waterfront. We rode 10 km from the far end of Oriental Parade to the Stadium and back. It’s a ride we do often, so there’s nothing much new to say about the ride, but John took some interesting photos, which I’ll share here.

Logs on the wharf, seen through the etched glass of the canopy over the footpath near the Stadium
(photo by John)

Ferg's colourful kayaks on Queen’s Wharf (photo by John)

Textures on the centre wall of the bridge over the Frank Kitts Lagoon (photo by John)

A forest of posts on Taranaki Street Wharf, with the floating crane Hikitea in the background
 (photo by John)

Reflections by the Clyde Quay Wharf Apartments (photo by John)