A Selection of Cycle Trips 2021 – 2023

Waipukurau, Takapau Circuit

May 25

After considering the wet southerly weather forecast for our scheduled CHB Wednesday ride, we
decided to make an executive decision and wait until the following day, Thursday 25 th May before we
departed from Russel Park, Waipukurau at 09:30hrs. The decision to delay our ride for 24hrs turned out
to be a good one, as the weather was nice and sunny, with hardly a breath of wind. There was no visible
snow to be seen on the local Ruahine Ranges, but despite this, it was quite chilly when riding along the
shaded sections of the tar sealed back country roads with their adjacent high shelter belt trees. Our two
pedal power cyclists, Anne, and Peter, showed Rodger and Des what they were missing out on. They
were both nice and toasty warm, when they had reached the top of the hilly sections, whereas the e-
bikers were still waiting for their hands to warm up. Poetic justice…

The route that we cycled along on our way to Takapau, was Porangahau Rd, Arlington Rd, Woburn Rd and Oruawharo Rd. The lovely green, rural scenery on the ride to Takapau, was only surpassed by view of the local 18-hole Takapau golf course. It looked picture perfect, with only one sole golfer getting in some practise, and one other chap on an old noisy Massey Ferguson tractor, busy towing a gang mower around the fairways. The Takapau township, public amenities area in the main street precinct was in fully in shade, and did not look at all appealing for our scheduled lunch stop. However, as we were riding past the golf course on the way into town, we had spotted an alternative place for us to sit down in the sun, and have our lunch. We all promptly cycled back to the golf course, and after getting permission from the nice tractor driver, Errol Hansen, enjoyed having our cuppa tea and sandwiches, just sitting around taking in the lovely view, chatting, and relaxing in the sun, on the seats in front of the club house. We had the perfect spot to warm up in the sun, and take in the park like views across their immaculate fairway’s. Their ablution facilities, with hot and cold running water, were also put at our disposal. What a generous and unexpected luxury for us intrepid cyclists.

We discussed our various options for our return ride to Waipukurau, and finally settled on the option of – Charlotte St, Burnside Rd, Ashcott Rd, then back to Waipukurau via a short safe cycling section of state H2 which starts at a point opposite the Pukeora Forest. All went well until we found that recent Cyclone Gabrielle damage, had effectively closed off Burnside Road to all traffic. Plan B was then put into action. Follow state H2 – 20km all the way back to Waipukurau. This looked to be a reasonably safe option when we set off, with a nice wide off the road margin. However, this safe road margin did not continue for the entire ride back to Pukeora Forest, and because of safety reasons, we will not be riding this section again. Considering the fast moving, and heavy truck traffic using SH2, it is just too dodgy. Once we reached opposite the Pukeora Forest, the safe road margin on SH2 was fine, and we continued safely to Waipukurau.

A relaxing coffee and debrief session at the Hatuma Café allowed us to reflect on our day, and in some cases, settled our nerves. We then made our way back to our vehicles parked at Russel Park and dispersed homeward. Although we could only muster four cyclists, we all thoroughly enjoyed our day out, and had a little bit of excitement in the process. Everyone arrived back to base, safe and sound, with no punctures, or mechanical misadventures. Another good day on our bikes… …
Cyclists: Anne C, Rodger B, Peter H, Des S

Otane to Elsthorpe Circuit: HTC Cycle Ride

12 April

Our unusually small group of four HTC cyclists departed from Otane at 09:30 hrs. As we headed off for our destination along Elsthorpe Rd in perfect cycling conditions, it was a pleasure to be back on one of our favourite CHB roads, where the traffic is generally very sparse and courteous towards cyclists. We arrived at the Patangata pub at 10:30 hrs to find it still closed, as it did not open for business until 11:00 hrs. As we proceeded on over the flood damaged Tukituki River bridge, we could see how compromised Cyclone Gabrielle has made it. There are whole sections of the roads paving seriously misaligned due to the undermining and slumping of the bridge pile supports. I noticed that the pipework railing on one section of the bridge was rattling as we slowly cycled across it. Not very reassuring if you were in a heavy 4×4 farm vehicle.

On reaching the top of our steady climb up the hill, we stopped at the lookout point on the side of the road to take in the lovely view of the Silver Range hills. There was hardly a breath of wind, even the fronds on the roadside toetoe bushes were motionless. As we continued quietly on our short undulating ride to Elsthorpe settlement, we were overtaken by three big powerful, noisy, Harley Davidson motor bikes, ridden by equally big powerful looking Mongrel Mob garbed gentleman. They were no trouble overtaking us, but I could not help but notice the contrast in our choice of transport. I think I will stick to the quiet ebike option for the time being. On arrival at our destination at around 11:30 hrs, the rickety old picnic table at the Elsthorpe Scenic Reserve was put to good use. We all just chilled out there, catching up, and enjoying an early light lunch snack, sitting in the warm sun, before doing the short bush walk which is adjacent to the picnic table area.

There are some impressive examples of mature lowland forest trees in the scenic reserve, but the understory and regenerating trees are looking very sparse indeed. There is impressive looking mature Rimu, and Matai trees, but very little leaf litter on the forest floor, or evidence of other regenerating forest. To be honest, it was a sorry looking remnant of what must have once been, part of a magnificent lowland native forest. The bird life within the forest was sparse too, except for the friendly Fantails that were there in good numbers, and totally fearless as they foraged in our wake for what I imagine would be very lean pickings. After our walk we took a short detour on our bikes as we passed thru Elsthorpe. We checked out the local Elsthorpe school and surrounds, which is down towards the end of Kenderdine Rd.

Des had a good old country chat to a local lad who was working on an excavator, putting in a driveway, to a yet to be built house for his young family. The kids will be able to literally hop their fence, to get to school. The long and short of my conversation with the guy was that his family-owned part of the bush on his side of the road, not the side where we walked thru off Kairakau Rd. He informed me that there were no known walking tracks thru this DOC block of native bush that he was aware of, and that part of it was still grazed by local farmers. Shock horror… We eventually departed from Elsthorpe, and cycled down the fast section of downhill road, regrouping at the bottom at the now open, and bustling, Patangata Pub. No one was interested in having a drink or getting a hot meal at the pub. Due to Todd Rd still being closed to thru traffic, that ruled out the option of returning to Otane via River Rd and Todd Rd.

Three of the team elected to continue back to Otane for their coffee fix at the café via Elsthorpe Rd, while Des wanting to tick another couple of places off his bucket list, backtracked up the hill to the Mangarara Rd turnoff, and spent the afternoon checking out the beautiful Horseshoe Lake, and the Bush Walk area at the very end of the gravelled farm access tracks. Later in the afternoon he retraced his steps to Patangata, and then continued cycling up River Rd, to Waipawa township, completing his 66 km circuit via White Rd at around 15:45 hrs. Everyone arrived back to base, safe and sound, with no punctures, or mechanical misadventures. Another good day on our bikes…  

Cyclist: Rodger B, Sharron W, Christine H, Des S

Onga Onga Area

23 Feb

Ten cyclists met at 9am in Wakarara Road just off route 50, 60ks from Havelock North comprising 7 electric and 3 pedal bikes. On the first few kilometres in Wakarara Road we encountered quite a lot of heavy trucks with trailers and farm vehicles. The road is not wide so we mainly rode single file.The road came to Hardy Road where the terrain had become quite hilly.The usual break was had there with some discussion on the steepness of the coming Hardy Road. Most attacked it by going back into Wakarara Rd on to the flat and hurling themselves plus bikes up the 3ks of Hardy Rd which wasn’t as steep as I remembered. Electric bikes were soon ahead of pedal power. Who would have thought that 9.8ks of shingle road was ahead plus quite a strong crosswind that sent a few people plus bikes off the road, all managed to stay on their bikes. Peter Hansen on his old lightweight road bike with narrow narrow tyres did really well and in the end caught up with some of the electric ones. The view to farmland and the Ruahines was spectacular at times on Hardy and Blackburn Roads. A treat in store was the stop  at a church built in 1911 on a farm belonging to the Bibby family. It welcomed visitors so we spent time both inside taking in the traditional interior,pews and pulpit, the outside traditional design also. A puncture on Christine’s bike was soon mended with Roy showing his skills. Mostly downhill to Route 50 and into Ongaonga for coffee and cakes!  Then back to Route 50 and our cars. About 40 ks of enjoyable,sometimes difficult riding. I was impressed by the lack of complaints about the shingle. I really did forget how much there was, believe it or not!

Cyclists: Joan, Rodger, Peter, Christine, Pam,Sharon, Heather, Roy, Des and Al

Waipukurau, to Ongaonga, Circuit

7 Dec 2022

A small group of five HTC cyclists departed from Russell Park, Waipukurau, at around 09:50 hrs. Bronwen and Des who had arrived at 09:15hrs, were starting to wonder if unbeknown to them, the trip had been cancelled, but eventually the rest of the crew showed up, and we all headed off on our bikes towards Ongaonga, via the Lindsay Bush, Tukituki, limestone cycle trail.

We stopped to check out the 200 meters long Lindsay tunnel which was once part of a water race that was 10 km long. It was built by the Harding family of Mt Vernon in the 1870’s. The tunnel had been built by hand, with pick and shovel, thru solid limestone, and was a monument to the past determination of those hardy and very determined early settlers, in contrast to us intrepid explores of today, who in our case, only went into the tunnel to explore it as far as the first muddy puddle.

As we proceeded on our bikes towards the Parson Rd end of the trail, we encountered many parents, teachers, and supervised school children, walking back along the trail towards the Waipukurau trail end. They had possibly done the whole of the Tukituki loop, which would have been a very good end of year walk for them. By the time we arrived at the end of Parson Rd, the light rain that we had experienced up until then was looking like it might get considerably heavier. However, we decided that the smell of coffee from the Ongaonga Café was well worth risking getting properly wet thru, so we decided to pedal on. As it turned out, the weather improved considerably after we had enjoyed our early coffee, comfort stop, at Ongaonga.

We set off for Waipawa, along what were now nice dry roads, and were soon sitting down enjoying our lunch break at the Waipawa cenotaph picnic area. Our return to Russell Park, Waipukurau, was along the recently completed, nicely concreted, shared pathway, which runs parallel to the main State Highway 2. Being so close to the heavy traffic, it is certainly not a particularly scenic route, but the smooth concrete surface more than makes up for its lack of scenery and traffic noise, as it is an excellent surface to ride on. Everyone arrived back to base, safe and sound, no punctures, or mechanical misadventures, so there were smiley faces all around as we headed off back home in our vehicles at around 14:00hrs.

Cyclist: Peter H, Bronwen K, Christine H, Garry S, Des S

A Tukituki River Circuit

30 Nov 2022

A group of Six of the Boots on Bikes team took advantage of a uncommonly wind free Wednesday to meet at the Evers Swindell reserve for another local ride and welcomed back Pete from his lengthy USA trip.

After leaving Clive we followed the cycle paths pausing to admire the bird life on the picturesque lagoons before regrouping at Black Bridge Haumoana. After crossing the Tuki Tuki we met up as arranged with Sharon and Alasdair and continued along at a leisurely pace to Moore Road and then the Tuki Tuki road where we had to put a little more effort on the hills before a very welcome stop at the Red Container cafe at Red Bridge for our now traditional coffee stop.

After a while threatening black clouds forced us into action and we continued on along the cycle ways crossing over by Craggy Range onto the newer cycle path which has just been nicely regraded after recent rains and regrouped at River road where some continued back to Clive via the cycle paths and the Havelock contingent made their own way home.

Party: Heather S, Sharon W, Bronwen K,  Christine H, Pete H, Alasdair S, Garry , Rodger B

Here and There in Havelock North.

1 June 2022

Thirteen cyclists met in Chambers Street and set off up through Duart gardens to Tauroa Road. We turned into Tauroa Valley and Up Gummer Road. What a climb! Most made it to the top where the expansive views were the reward. New houses are still being built and most have big sections.

Down we rode, trialling the new shared walkway which recently opened alongside Tauroa Reserve. The next “hill” was Durham Drive which proved interesting for those who had not been up there. After entering the Arataki Reserve, we cycled along to Arataki where some bought honey supplies.

Nine of us took the Brookvale Road to Thompson Road then into Napier Road where we visited The “Figgery”  for eats and drinks. After a good relax and chat, we hopped back on our bikes and 5 of us cut through Romaines and Guthrie Parks and back to Chambers Street for a walk around the garden.

The ride was only 23 kms, short in distance but long on muscle power required. Well done to those using only human power!

Thanks for coming.

Party: Pam P, Sharyn W, Alan B, Christine H, Margaret G, Karen and Jonathon F, Peter H, Peter H Rodger B, Gabrielle S, Alasdair S and Joan R.

Maraekakaho – Kereru Wed 4 May 2022

Rodger had plenty of options when he sent the trip information for this biking day, Mangatahi Road 16kms, Aorangi Rd 32kms, Whakapirau Circuit 30kms, Kereru Circuit 49kms. Two of our team decided to ride the Aorangi and Mangatahi roads, believing they had less hills, while the balance, seven, rode the beautiful Kereru Circuit.

At the Early Childhood Centre at Kereru we were invited to have lunch there and then it was bike up to the Gwavas Forest boundary where Salisbury road had a few kilometres of gravel before the roller coaster ride down to Highway 50. Both groups arrived at Maraekakaho Hall & Coffee Cart within a few minutes of each other. An enjoyable satisfying ride but we must be aware big hills can use a lot of battery power. GRH
Cyclists: Christine H, Anne C, Lynn W, Pam P, Sharon W, Alasdair S, Joan R, Des S, Graeme H.

Kereru Playcentre

An Otane & CHB Loop trip 18 May

Pukehamoamoa -Crownthorpe circuit

20th April 25, 2022

Emerging from morning fog we arrived at Pukehamoamoa School on Matapiro road on a brilliantly clear day and no wind which is always a bonus on this circuit. Ten keen cyclists took off after the usual chatter and sped along the deserted Matapiro road with its few hills before our first stop for smoko as ordered by Graeme at Ohiti road junction.

Suitability restored we carried along the now mainly flat road past the renown Matapiro Station Homestead to St George Chapel Crownthorpe built in 1921 as a memorial for a local fallen soldier. An early lunch was enjoyed basking in the sun under the palm trees before reluctantly deciding to return but via the more hilly and scenic Crownthorpe road where E Bikes were much appreciated and onto the Settlement road back to our cars.

Des who had stayed behind and planned to return via   Crownthorpe – Settlement Road and Sheridan had a dramatic change to his plans when attacked by a large unrestrained dog from a farm just past the bridge on Crownthorpe road.
A farming couple heard the commotion and the wife who had nursing experience patched him up and returned both Des and his bike back to his car at the school. The dog has form and history and the matter reported to the HDC Dog Ranger for prompt action. (We were unaware of all this till much later and perhaps a stun gun needs to be part of our gear next time.)

Cyclists: Joan R, Heather S, Christine H, Pam P, Sharron W, Graeme H, Roy F, Des S, Alasdair S, Rodger B

Mohi bush ride

Wed 6th April 2022

How nice it was to see the sun again as twelve enthusiastic HTC cyclists met at Fred Chestermans farm for our days ride. After the usual social natter we were off tackling the undulating Maraetotora road which apart from a few logging trucks was largely deserted. We regrouped at the junction with Waipoapoa Road where we decided by popular debate to firstly stop at the Mohi Bush picnic area for an early lunch.

After lunch our group split up and the more active continued further along the now gravel road to the entrance of Waipoapoa Station where Alasdair who had worked there for a while in his youth gave us some of the stations history and then headed down Tawa road to a set of imposing gates announcing Anawai Station, which is another large station, before returning back to Fred’s after a stop at the Maraetotora Falls Scenic Reserve.

After lunch the main party had wandered along Okaihau road for a few Kilometres to a high point overlooking Waimarama before returning to Fred’s where once again we were totally spoilt by Fred’s and Marion’s hospitality and Marion’s baking. A great day had by all and no mishaps. Eight E Bikes and Four regular.
Party: Heather S, Christine H, Joan R, Pam P, Sharron W, Anne C, Raewyn R, Pete H, Alasdair S, Des S, Graeme H, Rodger B.

Otane CHB Circuit

Wed 18 th March 2022

 Eleven keen HTC mid-week cyclist set off at 09:10 hrs from Otane. The weather conditions were just perfect for cycling. It was a typical C.H.B. blue-sky day, calm and relatively warm for this time of the year. The countryside that we cycled thru was looking particularly lush and green, partly due to the good 6mm of overnight rain. With plenty of feed around in the paddocks, the stock was looking in great condition. We took a somewhat circuitous route to get to Waipawa from Otane. Instead of going the shorter route down White Rd, we heading off up Elsthorpe Rd to Pourerere Rd, via Tod Rd.

There was plenty to see as we cycled down Tod Rd with the smell of freshly shorn wool pervading onto the road as we passed by on our bikes. A shearing gang was busy inside a large roadside shearing shed with the farm dogs barking loudly as they worked the sheep inside the stock yard enclosures. The recently pressed bales of freshly shorn wool were piled up at the open doors of the shed, making it a real quindecinnial New Zealand rural scene. The Country Calendar team would have been right in their element.

 We had regrouped and arrived at Waipawa by 10:15 hrs, so decided to stop off at the picnic area just past the clock tower for a morning tea break. It was very pleasant just sitting there catching up with one another, and watching the world literally drive by, as we chilled out doing what we do best. Our next planned section of the ride was to cycle along the recently completed concrete cycleway / walkway, between Waipawa and Waipukurau, destination Russel Park, Waipukurau. We had only travelled perhaps a kilometre or so on this lovely new concrete cycle path before we encountered a stop barrier across the pathway, indicating that it was closed. On checking with the contractors that were parked further up on the pathway past the barrier, we were told that there were several broken sections of brand-new concrete paving that had to be replaced, and because of safety considerations, we couldn’t proceed any further. We then had a group meeting, and decided to put plan B into action. This involved going back a short distance to Tepairu Rd, and then following it down to the Tukituki River, limestone cycle path, and following it to Russel Park in Waipukurau.   

At the bottom of Tapairu Rd, Johnathan and  Karen decided to quietly make their way back to Otane. It was very nice to have their company, and we all look forward to having them come out cycling with us again sometime soon. The old site where the beautiful suspension bridge used to go across the river is now looking very empty indeed, the only evidence of it ever being there, being a small concrete pad. There is flood debris still in the trees, indicating just how high the flood waters must have been. It’s pretty amazing to see how powerful that volume of water is, and such a shame that all that time and effort building the bridge has been swept away by just one significant weather event. We decided to have our lunch stop after arriving at Russell Park, Waipukurau, at around 11:45 hrs.

After lunch, Pam and Sharron decided to make their way back to Otane rather than join us on the new Pukeora, Lindsay Bush, loop trail. With limited battery power, Sharron had made the call that her bike battery might not be up to the extra distance that we were planning to do. This subsequently proved to be a very good decision on Sharron’s part, as things did not go entirely to plan for us remaining seven intrepid cyclists.   We continued heading South towards Pukeora on the true R.H. bank of the Tukituki River, Pukeora Loop, limestone cycle trail. After reaching Pukeora, and crossing over the Tukipo River bridge, we regrouped and discussed where to proceed from there. The top of the flood bank adjacent to the Tukipo River bridge was the obvious choice for me as the trip leader, and eventually I managed to convince the rest of the group to follow me, even though there was no signage to indicate that this was if fact the correct route.

A short distance along the top of the flood bank we dropped down onto a proper limestone cycle trail. This looked very promising, so we continued on until we encountered our second Stop barrier for the day, this one was across the entrance of a very small stream bridge. Fortunately for us there was a gentleman there, spotting for trout in the steam. He assured us that there were other cyclists regularly using the bridge, and the trail beyond, so we threw caution to the wind, and proceeded onwards with caution. The trail had recently been topped off with fresh, thick, uncompacted, limestone. It was very soft and unsuitable for riding on due to the 6mm of rain that had fallen overnight. However, we were able to ride on the gravel margins of the trail, and not cause any damage to the uncompacted limestone surface. The trail terminated at the southern side of the bridge crossing the Tukituki River, close by to where the Parson Road turn-off is. This turnoff to Parson Rd is on the R.H. side, and on the northern side of the same bridge.   

We discussed as a group, going down Parson Rd in search of the start of the limestone cycle trail, but due to a lack of appetite for any more of Des’s dodgy half-finished limestone trails, it was decided to proceed back to Otane via Fairfield Rd, Ongaonga Rd, Waipawa etc. Just to rub salt into the trip leaders’ wounds, he punctured on the way back to Otane, a few hundred yards beyond the Parson Rd turnoff that we should have gone down. By instigating plan C and aborting the original plan to return to Waipukurau via the Parson Rd, trail turnoff, we covered a total of approximately 70kms for the day. These extra kilometres made the return trip to Otane a little stretched for some of the e-bikers with lower capacity bike batteries. By all accounts, the Waipawa dairy also profited pretty well, dispensing their huge $3 ice-creams to the returning cyclists. The changes that we made to our original planned route all helped to make it a most enjoyable day, and I’m sure it will make us all the more determined to eventually complete our ride on the elusive Pukeora Loop Trail. The most important thing was that we all enjoyed our day of safely cycling in CHB.  

Cyclists: Des S, Graeme H, Rodger B, Christine H, Joan R, Alasdair S, Ray M, Pam P, Sharon W. Johnathan & Karen Fry 

Wakarara Cycle Ride

Wed 23rd February 2022

Ten cyclists met at 9am in Wakarara Road just off route 50, 60ks from Havelock North comprising 7 electric and 3 pedal bikes. On the first few kilometres in Wakarara Road we encountered quite a lot of heavy trucks with trailers and farm vehicles. The road is not wide so we mainly rode single file.

The road came to Hardy Road where the terrain had become quite hilly. The usual break was had there with some discussion on the steepness of the coming Hardy Road. Most attacked it by going back into Wakarara Rd on to the flat and hurling themselves plus bikes up the 3ks of Hardy Rd which wasn’t as steep as I remembered.

Electric bikes were soon ahead of pedal power. Who would have thought that 9.8ks of shingle road was ahead plus quite a strong crosswind that sent a few people plus bikes off the road, all managed to stay on their bikes. Peter Hansen on his old lightweight road bike with narrow tyres did really well and in the end caught up with some of the electric ones.

The view to farmland and the Ruahines was spectacular at times on Hardy and Blackburn Roads. A treat in store was the stop at a church built in 1911 on a farm belonging to the Bibby family. It welcomed visitors so we spent time both inside taking in the traditional interior, pews and pulpit, the outside traditional design also.

A puncture on Christine’s bike was soon mended with Roy showing his skills. Mostly downhill to Route 50 and into Ongaonga for coffee and cakes!  Then back to Route 50 and our cars. About 40 kms of enjoyable, sometimes difficult riding. I was impressed by the lack of complaints about the shingle. I really did forget how much there was, believe it or not! AS
Cyclists: Rodger B, Peter H, Christine H, Heather S, Joan R, Pam P, Sharon W, Roy F, Des S & Alisdair S

Cycle Ride Bridge Pa – Raukawa

Wed 9th February 2022

Lowering skies and glowering eyes greeted the Boots on Bikes Brigade as we rolled into the Hastings Golf Club on Wednesday 9 February ready to ride our annual (partial) Tour of the Bay route.

The lowering skies were the end of the easterly front passing through the Bay. Rain looked imminent. The glowering eyes were from some of the car club crew who assemble at the golf club to show off their cars. It appeared that we’d parked our cars in their preferred spot but no one ventured over to ask us to move so we prepared for our 8.30am pedal off undeterred by some of the looks drilling into us.

After pedalling through Bridge Pa we headed off down Raukawa Road with a slight breeze assisting our progress. The countryside was looking surprisingly green for February thanks to the recent rain which, luckily for us, seemed like it was going to stay away.

Despite a couple of protests that it was too early for smoko and a suggestion that some might break ranks, the group ethos prevailed, everyone stayed, and we enjoyed our morning smoko on the deck of the Raukawa Hall.
Fully refreshed we pedalled on along the rest of Raukawa Road then turned into Valley Road, past what used to be Raukawa School, the numerous lifestyle blocks, the orchards and the maize. The ebikers pretty much flew up the couple of climbs while the pedallers grunted their way up and enjoyed the freewheeling down the other side.

We regrouped at the Valley Road/SH 50 junction and set off down the long, somewhat tedious stretch of highway, to the golf club. There the rewards were reaped. Cups of coffee and tea, light lunches, slices and biscuits were all consumed out on the deck in the sunshine. Both the lowering clouds and glowering eyes had disappeared with the sun. The only disappointment was that the cheese scones had all gone from the cabinet. Aah well you can’t have everything.

Riders: Rodger B, Christine H, Joan R, Alisdair S, Des S, Graeme H, Garry S, Heather S, Roy F, Pam P , Sharon W, Pete H

Waipukurau, Ongaonga, Waipawa Circuit

Wed 17 Nov 2021                                                

At around 9am the first of our eleven keen HTC cyclist assembled at CHB’s Waipukurau, Russel Park, car park.  The group had their bikes and bodies sorted out, and ready to commence our ride shortly after the official departure time of 09:30hrs.  

We had originally intended to incorporate both sides of the new Pukeora Loop Cycle Trail, but pre-trip enquiries by Des had revealed that there were still two incomplete suspension bridges to be finished off on the northern side of the new loop trail.  We were able to make a few tweaks in our original route plan to accommodate this, by using the now completed southern section of the Pukeora Loop Track as far south as Pukeora Hill.  We then crossed over the Tukipo River Bridge and headed for Ongaonga along the Ongaonga – Waipukurau Rd.  There was quite a fresh 35knot N.W. breeze to cycle into all the way to our coffee stop destination at Ongaonga, so by the time we got there everyone was quite happy to relax with their drinks and nibbles chatting around the picnic tables outside in the sunshine at the Ongaonga Café.  

By consensus, it was then decided to take advantage of what would now be a nice following tail wind, back to Waipawa.  Those people amongst our cycle group, still on the manual pedal powered bikes, revelled in the effortless assistance that the tail wind gave us all the way back to Waipawa.  Talk about a free ride, it was wonderful…We all regrouped at the Waipawa River Bridge, before continuing along Tepairu Rd, and then back to Waipukurau via the Suspension bridge across the Tukituki River.  After an afternoon tea debrief around the picnic tables at Russell Park, where we all, with the exception of one of our team members having a minor unplanned dismount off her bike whilst coming down a twisty section of limestone trail towards the end of Tepairu Rd and leaving some of her skin off her knee on the limestone trail, agreed that we had enjoyed our 43kms cycle trip and the stunning C.H.B. scenery.

Cyclists:  Des S, Rodger B, Christine H, Garry , Peter H, Anne C, Joan R, Alasdair S, Graeme H, Pam P, Sharron W.    

The Otane CHB Circuit 

Wed 22 Sept 2021

Our group of eleven cyclists assembled in Otane, outside of the historic McCauley’s store – café.  We commenced our ride at 09:15 hrs in cool overcast conditions, heading south towards Waipawa via Elsthorpe Rd and Racecourse Rd.  We stopped briefly to regroup as we entered Waipawa before traveling thru the township and over the Waipawa River bridge. 

At the southern end of the bridge the old original limestone trail has recently been upgraded with a brand-new concrete surface. It is now a great, all-weather surface to ride on, much improved on the old, often badly rutted limestone track.    On completion, it will eventually run alongside SH2 all the way to Waipukurau. The short section of this new concrete cycle – walkway that we rode on, was very impressive, and we can’t wait to try out the entire completed track in the not-too-distant future. 

On reaching the end of Tapairu Rd; we crossed over to the other side the Tukituki River using the Tarewa Suspension Bridge.  Some of our intrepid cyclists got the wobbles due to the slight swaying of the bridge, and had to suffer some good-natured ribbing from the rest of us, as they resorted to pushing their bikes, rather than actually riding them.  The group then split into two groups for the short ride south to Waipukurau.  Some chose to take Mt Herbert Rd option, and others took the more scenic river-side trail which twists and turns thru the bush, past the oxidization ponds, and eventually comes out at the Waipukurau, Russel Park.  We found a nice spot to have our lunch break, handy to the park amenities, and sitting down comfortably at two picnic tables situated under the trees. 

After a nice hot drink and something to eat, we all sorted out the world’s problems, and added a few more, and then got down to the real job in hand, of deciding where to go next.  The options were many, but we eventually decided to rather than just re-trace our steps back to Otane, boring…we would first check out the 9.8 ha Lyndsay Bush area of native remnant forest.  We cycled off across to the northern side of the Tukituki River bridge, then underneath the bridge and onto a very new looking limestone cycle trail which would have taken us along the top of the stop bank, directly to the Tukituki Reserve / Lyndsay Bush.  However, a short distance down the new limestone cycle way, our best laid plans had to be aborted.  We were confronted by a formidable looking tapped off barrier across the track, and a selection of very official warning notices, telling us in no uncertain terms not to proceed any further.  We had no choice but to comply with official track closure warning notices, so we aborted our intended ride along the very inviting looking brand new limestone trail. 

Our next cunning plan was to proceed back to Otane via a circular route taking in Lyndsay Rd, Ongaonga Rd, Waipawa Township, Racecourse Rd, and finally White Rd.  This turned out to be a good option, as everyone was safely back at the Otane McCauley’s Cafe sipping their preferred beverage by around 13:30 hrs.  At our post-ride debrief, we were all very satisfied that we had enjoyed such a rewarding day of cycling, with no one getting punctured or having any mechanical misadventures.  It’s always a pleasure to cycle ride in the CHB area, as there are generally very few vehicles to contend with on the deserted country roads, and virtually a total absence of shards of broken glass bottles, which are becoming an all-too-common problem on the local Napier cycle-ways. We are already planning to revisit the CHB to check out some of the unfinished cycle tracks just as soon as they are completed and ready for us to explore further.  Can’t wait…                                                            

CyclistsDes S, Rodger B, Christine H, Garry S, Peter Hn, Ray   M, Joan R, Alasdair S, Graeme H, Pam P, Sharon W

Pakowhai Park and beyond

Wednesday 10th Feb 2021

On a grey, overcast morning, the Boots on Bikes team, (fifteen in all), gathered at Pakowhai  Park to ride one of our favourite circuits – along the stop bank trail to Hastings Golf Club and  home (by various routes). 

Undeterred by the weather forecast (which proved to be wrong – again!) we set off in the  direction of Omahu Rd, making good progress, despite having to negotiate a number of  gateways scattered along the trail. 

Exercising extreme caution, we crossed Omahu Rd and continued on to Highway 50, stopping  at the Roys Hill Reserve for morning tea (or “lunchette” to use Graemes’ definition), after  which we continued on down the trail, turning left into Ngatarawa Rd, then to the Golf Course  entrance on Maraekakaho Rd, just past the airfield. 

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Arriving at around 10-30am, we passed a large collection of vintage cars on our way to the  upstairs Cafe, where we ordered our favourite treats, sitting on the balcony, enjoying the view  and admiring the immaculately manicured putting greens. 

After an enjoyable interlude, we set off on the homeward journey, in various directions,  according to our final destinations.  

All in all it was an enjoyable ride – the high overcast kept the worst of the heat at bay, the  headwinds were minimal and the predicted rain did not eventuate. 

Riders: – Christine H, Lynn W,, Heather S,, Rodger Burn, Raewyn R,  Alan B, Pam P, Sharon W, Peter H, Jim H, Joan R, Alasdair S,  Ray M, Des S, Scott C

Waipukurau to Takapau Township

Weds 24th March 2021

We had originally intended our group of 11 people to meet up and leave our 7 vehicles at the Waipukurau railway station.  However, we discovered on our arrival there, that the deserted old Waipukurau Railway Station, has now been transformed into a very busy place, with 30mins only, parking restrictions.  This recent change has come about because there is now a popular takeaway coffee outlet established in the old railway station building.  It was decided the better option was to drive the short distance to Russell Park and leave our cars there.  

Our objective was to cycle to Takapau Township, and return by whichever of several alternative routes, people were comfortable with.  The cycle route to Takapau Township took us along Porangahau Rd, Arlington Rd, Woburn Rd, and Oruawharo Rd.  As we approached the old historic Oruawharo Homestead, a group of us decided to be a bit cheeky and ride on up their gravel driveway to investigate further.  Christine and Des approached the current owner occupier Peter Harris, and were lucky enough to get permission from him to wander freely thru the grounds and magnificent 1879 historic homestead.  It was just amazing to see the authentic interior of the homestead, and listen to the owner tell us about some of the time, effort, and huge amounts of cash involved in restoring this 142yr old piece of N.Z. history.  The background classical music that was being played out-side, was totally in keeping with the place, giving it a timeless and peaceful feeling of what it must have been like back in the day…

 We eventually made it to Takapau Township where we all stopped for our lunch break and general catch up.  There were no coffee baristas to be found in Takapau township, so we settled for the public picnic table area, on the corner of Sydney St, to have our thermos tea and coffee etc.  Having recharged our batteries so to speak, e-bikers included, we then decided on our preferred cycle routes to get back to our vehicles at Waipukurau.  Nine elected to return via the way we had come, with a slight detour down Hatuma Rd.  Des and Peter decided to return on a slightly more circuitous route, heading further south to join Highway 50, then along Highway 50, thru to Ongaonga, Waipawa, Tepairu road- end, Swing Bridge, and then along the limestone cycleway track back to Russell Park in Waipukurau.                                                                             D.S.

Cyclists:   Des S, Rodger B, Christine H, Garry S, Peter H, Joan R, Alasdair S, Ray M, Lynn W, Pam P, Sharron W.