Riding with my sister, meeting Allan the Tree and 2 mountains

My sister, Tracey, and her husband, Trevor, arrived from the UK, and how better to celebrate their arrival other than with a little Motom and cycle? We rode around Bucklands Beach, up through the golf course, with beautiful views to Rangitoto and Brown’s Island, and to Musick Point. After Tracey and Trevor tried out the Motom, with big smiles, we scurried home as the rain started.

In this week of cycling I also met a tree called Allan. An MND NZ post and NZ Herald article reported that Allan was walking in a 25 kg tree costume from St Heliers to Silo Park and back to fundraise for MND NZ to show his support for his friend, Greg, with MND. We met up in the last part of our ride last Sunday after heading out along the North Western Cycleway.

Our ride on this cycleway was smooth and quick but uninspiring. For the latter part of the ride to Henderson you could see and hear the motorway traffic with nothing interesting to look at and few plants. Earlier, pine fragrance wafted up from the needles below as we rode under trees beside a golf course, we observed shags on a tidal bank and diving for food, and diverted briefly along Henderson Creek, but the rest was concrete and cars. Boring.

So on the homeward leg we enjoyed rerouting into the city down the pink path, down Hobson St and around the Viaduct Basin to buy fish from the fish market, then along the waterfront to find Allan the Tree. Stopping for a quick conversation with Rob, the MND NZ fundraising person, we knew Allan wasn’t far away, and cycled on to find a 3m tall walking tree. Allan’s friend Greg who has MND had left with a wheelchair breakdown, but Matt commiserated with Shelley (wife of Greg) on being in the MND club while I got a photo with Allan.

I enjoyed two solo rides as well. A gorgeous evening last week was crying out to be relished, and I had two maunga (mountains) in my sights. First was Maungakiekie (One Tree Hill), riding a few streets to get to Cornwall Park, then riding in the dappled light of the Twin Oaks Drive, past the archers, up the summit road past many walkers and to the top, with 360 degree views of Auckland. Magnificent.

Next was Maungawhau (Mt Eden), the highest natural point of Auckland. The Motom quickly ate up the distance between the maunga, and I was riding up the road that reminds me of a country lane, again past runners and walkers enjoying the beautiful evening, with riroriro (grey warblers) and tui around, nearly to the summit (currently blocked off), with views to the Sky Tower, CBD and out to Rangitoto. Not long ago I was running and walking all the time up Maungawhau, so it is lovely to get up there again, especially now that it is free of vehicles. I love the independence of riding on my own and the access to these amazing oases in the middle of the city.

My other solo ride was riding to a friend’s place for pool exercising. While the ride was just streets and over the motorway, riding the Motom felt so much better than sitting in the car.

Rides: 6.5 km Musick Point, 44 km North Western and city ride, 14 km for the two maunga, and 9 km, 854 km since early January. Tyres replaced after wearing from all the riding. I’d love to see the North Western Cycleway enhanced by further plantings and walls reducing the sight and sound of cars.

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  1. What a treat to be able to ride with you. Have enjoyed the cycling, the chats and the views!

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