Wednesday 2 August 2017

Waikanae to Peka Peka – and an exhibition of tapestries

Last week we had a run of four fine(-ish) days in a row, yay! – no rain, no wind. So nice to see the sun after several “weather bombs”. We had to make the most of the good weather before the next deluge, so we biked four days in a row. Admittedly, two of these rides were very short – one was a “café run”, a 7 km ride to down to our local café and back, and the other was the 8 km ride on the Wellington Waterfront to test the Bickerton (described in the previous blog post).

The other two rides were 20 km. One of them was a ride to the Gear Homestead Café, during which I reached my 5,000 km milestone on my e-bike.

5,000 km on the e-bike

We rode along Te Ara Tawa. However, this beautiful track, which was only completed just over a year ago, is now again inaccessible between Kenepuru and Porirua because of the impending construction of the Kenepuru on- or off-ramp for the Transmission Gully Highway. So cyclists now have to either ride on the road again, or use the footpath.

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On Tuesday 25 July we drove to Waikanae Beach, where we parked near the Waikanae River estuary. We biked on the Kapiti Coastal Cycle Route to Harrisons at Peka Peka. There we had lunch and a wander around the garden centre at Harrisons, then returned to Waikanae on the new Expressway cycle track.

A colourlful display at Harrisons Garden Centre (photo by John)

The junction of Peka Peka Road with the old SH1 is now all tidied up, including access to the cycle track.

Because of the heavy rain we had in the past week, there were areas beside the track that still had standing water, where they wouldn’t normally have, but the track itself was mostly dry – give or take a puddle or two.

Water around fence lines following heavy rain … (photo by John)

… but the track was mostly dry (photo by John)

Some way down the track, we diverted onto a path leading to Smithfield Road. I had sailed past it but John called me back by furiously ringing his bell. The track eventually led to a very lovely stretch of road which turned out to be Ngarara Road. A narrower road went off it and we would have liked to explore further, but it was a private road, so we desisted.

A lovely spot on Ngarara Road (photo by John)

Sadly, this was a private road so we could not explore further (photo by John)

While we were taking photos of the pretty scenery and the peaceful looking cattle, a farmer appeared on the brow of the hill – probably wondering what we were up to.

The steers stopped their grazing to check us out (photo by John)

Before long, Ngarara Road became a bridge over the Expressway, and we joined the cycle track again. The road sign pointed to Ngā Manu Nature Reserve, which I think we should visit some time, maybe on another ride. We have been there once, but that was years ago when our children were still young.

At the junction with Te Moana Road, we left the Expressway track, and pedalled back to our car. Though there are still roadworks going on near the junction as a result of the Expressway, most of Te Moana Road has a nice cycle lane.

Roadworks on Te Moana Road (photo by John)

We diverted off towards the river and the Waimanu Lagoon, and sat on a bench, enjoying the sun, the view and some chocolate! While we were sitting there, the time-lapse camera on John’s bike took a picture of us, which I am now using as a computer screen saver. I call it “Retirement Bliss”.

Between the river estuary and the Waimanu Lagoon (photo by John)

The Waikanae River Estuary (photo by John)

Retirement bliss (photo by John)

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On the way home, we stopped at the Pataka Gallery in Porirua to view an exhibition of tapestries by multiple award winning Peruvian master weaver Máximo Laura. It is a stunning exhibition. Ten large tapestries are on show, all of which made me “drool”! Máximo has an amazing use of colour and his colour blending is exquisite. I love the vibrant colours and the “clean” lines of his designs.

Fruto de Abundancia del Mar IV (Abundance of the Fruit of the Sea)

Hacia la Amada (Journey to my Beloved)

I love the vibrancy of the colours!

As well as his exhibition in Pataka, Máximo Laura has been conducting workshops for NZ tapestry weavers in Wellington and Hamilton. One of my weaving friends, Trish Armour, herself an award-winning tapestry weaver, spent several weeks studying with Máximo in his Lima studio last year. She alerted me to his works, which I have been following on Facebook.

I would dearly love to own one of his tapestries, but unfortunately they are well beyond my financial reach! So I will just have to make do with the photos on my screen saver.

A Bickerton Portable Folding Bike

On Friday 21 July, Folding Goldies friends Sue and Gottfried called in to see John. Gottfried deposited a bag in our hallway, containing a very old, disassembled, folding bike. “I thought you might be interested in having a look at this”, he said. “I acquired it recently in exchange for a bottle of good whisky”.

It was a Bickerton Portable Folding Bike. Gottfried didn’t actually say “Can you fix it for me?”, but that is what eventuated. John spent the rest of the weekend taking most of it apart, servicing it, and putting it back together. He researched it on the internet and found out that it had been made in 1979 – so it was 38 years old.

The Bickerton Portable Folding Bike – 1979 vintage (photo by John)

He took it for a test ride around the corner on our street, but he found it wasn’t very good on the hill. So, a bit more tweaking, and by Monday, he tried it on Te Ara Tawa, a nice smooth, mostly flat path. He was satisfied that is was a reasonably viable bike on the flat.

Test ride in Tawa

A couple of days later, after a few more tweaks, we went for a ride along the Wellington Waterfront, so that he could test it some more. Having folded it to put it in the car, he found that it took quite a bit of fiddling to unfold and get it ready to ride. The bag that the bike came in was designed to be folded and domed so that it could hang off the handlebars, which was useful for carrying a spanner. If you were a London commuter trying to take this bike on the tube, it would definitely not fold and unfold in a jiffy!

One fold undone …

That spanner came in handy!

Now the handlebars have to be turned out …

… and adjusted

Done! Ready to roll!  (photo by John)

The Bickerton and my Giant parked together at Karaka Café (photo by John)

After the ride, he made an addition to the bike to give the handlebars a bit more rigidity, which would also stop the cover of the bag from lifting and flapping in the breeze.

A bar between the handlebars made them a bit more rigid.

A few days later, Gottfried came to collect his Bickerton. I think – I hope – he was happy with what John had done with it.

Of course John has written up the Bickerton on his website, which you will find here.