Monday, 23 October 2017

Folding Goldies ride – Seeking Sakura in Whitby

On Thursday 28 September, we went on a Folding Goldies ride to take a look at the flowering cherry trees in Whitby. Alastair, the leader of the FG group had been in Japan at the peak of the cherry blossom season, hence the name of the ride – Seeking Sakura in Whitby

We were to meet at the Porirua train station at 9:35, and ride the Whitby Traverse, to see the cherry blossoms, then to Pauatahanui for coffee, and return to Mana, via Te Ara Piko. The map is here. 

John and I took the train from Takapu Road – we could have biked to Porirua, but I suggested we ride that stretch after the main event, rather than before.

On the motorway side of Porirua Station (photo by John)

Ten of us set off from Porirua Station, and after ducking under the motorway, we had to bike up Champion Road for some distance, because the track alongside the Kenepuru Stream was not usable. There were repairs going on after it had been damaged by flooding. We joined the Bothamley Park track a bit further along. This is a pleasant, wide track through a bushy area, where it is easy to ride side by side and have a conversation.

Bothamley Park (photo by John)

Coming off the Bothamley Park track onto Warspite Ave (photo by John)

At Ascot Park, the “track” leads alongside a sportsfield. It is basically a concrete drain, but in several places the concrete is cracked and very uneven. On a previous ride I had a spill along here, so I was quite careful. No spill this time.

The “track” alongside the Ascot Park sportsfield (photo by John)

Whitby has a great network of walking/cycling tracks, but you’ve got to know your way around them, as they are not very well signposted. We have got lost a couple of times on previous rides.

The cherry blossom trees in Nishio Garden were donated by Porirua’s sister city Nishio in Japan. I think we got there just about a week too late to see them at their best. There were plenty of blossoms, but the leaves had already started coming out. And sadly the swathe of daffodils under the trees had all but finished.

Plenty of blossoms, but also lots of leaves, and not many daffodils left (photo by John)

Gordon checks out the information panel about Nishio Garden (photo by John)

From this angle, the blossoms appear swamped by greenery (photo by John)

By 10:30, we were at the Ground Up Café in Pauatahanui, where we enjoyed coffee and scones. Always a very pleasant interlude – the chance to chat and get to know each other a bit better.

Coffee and scones at the Ground Up Café in Pauatahanui (photo by John)

After our coffee stop, we rode along Grays Road, Te Ara Piko and the Camborne Walkway to Mana. From there, most of the group headed for the station to take the train back to Wellington or Pukerua, while we decided to bike back to Takapu Road, in Tawa. We rode a total of 32 km.

Riding on the protected lane on Grays Road (photo by John)

A brief stop at Motukaraka Point (photo by John)

The Camborne Walkway took us back to Mana (photo by John)

Some headed off to Mana Station, we biked back to Tawa (photo by John)

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