Auckland for Waitangi Weekend

After the gorgeous, scenic, sunny rides of the South Island and windswept and wild Ocean Beach ride, and forested Remutaka Trail, we were back to the same old Auckland rides.

And both rides were fun, interesting and still made me smile. There were no barriers to get over, no narrow parts with a drop off to worry about, they were wide and welcoming, and we had plenty to look at, and speed.

For our first weekend back, a long weekend, we rode through the Auckland Domain, with its odour reaching us before turning in and seeing the remaining pools of water from the flooding a week before when the crater had turned into a lake. As this drained away, the rotting vegetation and possibly some unsavoury contents of storm water left an unpleasant smell.

Our ride took us through the city along Quay St past queues of people waiting for ferries to go away for the long weekend (Waitangi Weekend), over the drawbridge that opens to let yachts and launches through into the Viaduct Basin, in front of restaurants, past Silo Park, then to Westhaven Drive which runs adjacent to the motorway leading to the Auckland Harbour Bridge. Looking across the motorway to the expensive cliff-top houses of St Mary’s Bay, we could see significant land slips from the floods affecting several properties.

Riding past the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron (where the America’s Cup was housed for a time) the harbour was very brown from the flooding. However I was quickly diverted on spotting another three-wheeler about to be hoisted into the car. We chatted to Jonas who had just finished riding and the person putting away his cycle with an automated hoist (nice idea). Unfortunately a photo together was out of the question because they had packed up, but I enjoyed the chat and discussing the pleasure from our three-wheelers.

Our fish market foray provided the requirements for a favourite Mexican recipe, Fish in a Red Wine Sauce, planned for the evening. We then rode past the mural of NZ native sea birds and waders, including the godwit, kuaka, of course, before our ascents to reach home, having enjoyed our 21km ride.

A lazy Sunday included a walk around Waiatarua Park with our dog. The malodour nearly saw us abandon the walk, but curiosity prevailed. The lake had an unprecedented emptiness, bereft of ducks, swans and shags, perhaps detered by the floods, fetor and rotting vegetation. However frogs thrived, croaking loudly in unison, and the many large remaining puddles teemed with life. Our planned shorter route turned into the full circumference when unnavigable puddles obstructed a path, but I managed the walk fine, albeit without haste.

A bonus day on the long weekend had Matt back on his manual road bike. Our 35 km loop saw us ride two bike paths alongside motorways, with plantings, walls and wide paths making these very pleasant rides. We enjoyed the views and fresh sea air riding along the quiet Onehunga coast path for 5 km, then home again, in a fast, enjoyable ride. Not only had the January riding made us both very tanned, but Matt also noted improved fitness.

We really felt for the people with skips outside their houses, loaded up with mattresses, furniture, whiteware, carpets and gib board from the flood damage as we cycled around the city.

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