Monday, 25 January 2016

e-Bike Group Ride

Yesterday we went on a e-bike group ride, organised by Switched On Bikes. This is a company set up in 2015 by Ryan O’Connell, who is very keen to promote electric bikes as a great means of getting around Wellington. He has a fleet of e-bikes for hire, and also sells e-bikes, and he runs e-bike tours of Wellington. This ride was one of the free Wellington Region Summer Cycling Events

John had met Ryan before, but I hadn't. When we got there, Ryan greeted us with “Hi, I’ve read your blog”. Yessss!

There was quite a good turn out. Twenty people took part, including Ryan and his team of three. We met at the Switched On Bikes premises on Queen’s Wharf (near the Westpac helicopter). Some had their own e-bikes and some used hire bikes. One person hadn’t ridden any kind of bike for a long time. Those who hired bikes had the opportunity to cruise around the wharf for a bit to get the feel of the e-bikes.

Waiting for more people to turn up (photo by John)

Saturday, 23 January 2016

Waikanae to Paekakariki and Pukerua to Tawa

Last Sunday, 17 January, we took the train to Waikanae with the e-bikes. As we started to wheel the bikes onto the train, the guard called out that we couldn’t get on as there were already three bikes in the allocated space. And there was only one carriage – because it was a Sunday, I suppose. However, we told the guard we could fold the bikes down. “Ah, that’s OK then”, he said. But he told us to get on board and then fold them, “or else we’ll be here all day”.

One of the folded bikes and a satisfied guard (photo by John)

Saturday, 16 January 2016

Upper Hutt to Petone

On Monday 11 January, we had arranged with our friend Pat to take the train to Upper Hutt, and bike back to Petone from there. As we had dinner with my sister Aimée the night before, I suggested she might like to come along also. She hummed and ha’ed a bit, but then decided that, yes, she would come along.

As Aimée does not have her own bike, she would be using one of our Giants. John would be riding the other Giant, and I would ride my e-bike. She came to fetch the bike from us, and we all met up at Petone, to take the train to Upper Hutt.

The trains allow only three bikes per carriage. The front carriage already had one bike in it, so we rushed to the second carriage. But as there were four of us, the guard warned us we could only have three bikes. “No problem”, we said, and John folded up the two Giants. The guard was satisfied.

Friday, 15 January 2016

Paekakariki to Waikanae

We are having quite a nice summer – plenty of sunshine and, despite predictions of horrendous winds thanks to an El Niño pattern, we have had many days with just gentle breezes. Having said that however, as I am writing this, we are indeed being subjected to fierce winds, and I worry for the pohutukawa trees in our garden, which are just coming into flower now (two weeks later than normal). The wind might shred the flowers before they’ve even come out properly. Darn!

Wednesday last week (6 January) it was a gorgeous warm day, and we decided to go and check out the newly built Te Ara o Whareroa cycle trail through Queen Elizabeth II Park. The trail is due to be officially opened on Saturday 23 January, but it was completed several weeks ago.

Summer evening ride in the city

Tuesday 5 January was such a lovely day, that we had early dinner, and went into town with the bikes to have another look at the pohutukawa in Parliament Grounds. When we came here on Christmas Day, it had not yet started flowering. Unfortunately, because we’d had warm weather between Christmas and New Year, and then two days of heavy rain, the pohutukawa was already past its best. We should have gone on New Year’s Day to see it in its full glory. I was disappointed, but it still looked pretty good.

Richard John Seddon, NZ Premier 1893-1906, seems to approve of the massive pohutukawa,
even if I was disappointed at having missed seeing it at its best (photo by John)

Sunday, 10 January 2016

Christmas Day City Ride

Christmas Day 2015 was a beautiful day – sparkling sunshine, warm and no wind. As our daughter and her family would not be joining us until a few days after Christmas, we were free to make the most of this one day of the year, on which the city would be completely empty – ideal for biking in places where we would not normally go.

So after pleasant lunchtime drinks and nibbles at my sister’s, we headed into town with our e-bikes in the back of the car.

We parked in Hobson Street, in Thorndon, and biked towards Parliament grounds. One of the aims was to see the large pohutukawa in the grounds, which I was hoping would be in full flower. It is a huge tree, and when it is in full flower, it is a magnificent sight. It has a personal significance for me, as it somehow reminds me of my mother, who died just before Christmas ten years ago. Unfortunately, the pohutukawas seem to be flowering later than usual this year, and this special tree hadn’t even started yet. We would have to try again in a week or so.

To our surprise, we found the Parliament buildings covered in scaffolding and sheathed in shrink wrap plastic and blue netting. Presumably maintenance will be carried out during the summer break.

Parliament buildings are closed for the summer break, but there must be activity in the Beehive,
as the flag is flying on top of it 

Saturday, 9 January 2016

Wellington South Coast

This blog post is out of sequence. I've got so many to catch up on, I had forgotten about this one.

On Monday 14 December, the day before we went on our ride with Pat (described below), John and I went for a ride on Wellington's South Coast. They say “you can't beat Wellington on a good day”. This was such a day.

We parked near Lyall Bay and rode along the foreshore. The sea was flat and a gorgeous colour.

Tapu te Ranga Island, off Island Bay (photo by John)

Hutt River Trail, with new convert, Pat

One of the most satisfying aspects of my blog is that it sometimes enthuses other people to take up cycling. Our friend Pat is one of my most loyal readers, and while we were in the South Island, she let people know on Facebook, that she had “surprised herself”, by buying a folding bike – a Giant Expressway (the new improved version of our original folders).

Incidentally, Pat is well used to biking, but had sold her bike many years ago, thinking she would no longer need it. She is also a very fit walker, who has hiked in Nepal, and who thinks nothing of climbing up Mt Kaukau of a morning – something that I stand in awe of, and would absolutely balk at. (PS: Pat says that climbing up Mt Kaukau is still quite a slog.)

Of course, we were delighted at her purchase, and on Tuesday 15 December, we met up at the Petone roundabout carpark, to go cycling on the Hutt River Trail.

Pat and Désirée near the Hikoikoi Reserve (photo by John)

Friday, 8 January 2016

Folding Goldies ride – Moonshine

On Wednesday 9 December, only two days after we had got back from our Lupin Trip, we took part in the last Folding Goldies ride for 2015. 

The plan was to take the train to Mana, then bike to Pauatahanui around the Inlet, and up to Judgeford, branch off onto Moonshine Road, over the hill to Silverstream, and take the train back to town.

During a chat with our neighbour Sue some weeks earlier, we got talking about biking (of course!) and we told her about our e-bikes and the FG rides. She was very interested, so we suggested she come along. She hired an e-bike for the day, from Switched On Bikes, to see how she would like that. 

So on Wednesday morning, she knocked on our door, all keen, just before we were about to set off. We agreed to meet at Takapu Road Station.

With Sue, at Takapu Road Station (photo by John)

South Island Lupin Trip – Part 4

We’re already into the New Year as I write this up, so I am have some serious catching up to do.

Back in November, during a ride to Waikanae, we got very excited about the yellow lupins that were in full bloom. That triggered the decision to take a biking trip to the Mackenzie Country and beyond, to see the multicoloured lupins that the area is famous for.

It was a great trip, during which we took a LOT of photos, and so I have had to write this trip up in four parts. This is where you’ll find Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

Day 8 – Wanaka

Thursday 3 December. Today we were driving to our next destination, Wanaka. As we left Twizel, it started spitting (raining) off and on, until we got to Omarama, where we stopped for coffee at the Wrinkly Rams Café. We couldn't believe the number of camper vans in the car park, yet there weren’t that many people in the café. Perhaps they were all attending the “Sheep Show” which this place puts on.

There were some magnificent peonies lining the wall around the Wrinkly Rams Café (photo by John)