The distinctive kek-kek-kek of the kōtare (kingfisher), warble of a riroriro (grey warbler), tweet of the mātātā (fernbird) and peep-peep of piwakawaka (fantail) accompanied us on our return Pauanui to Hikuai ride on Good Friday. While the riroriro and mātātā were hidden (as always), we did spot a few piwakawaka darting and dancing in the air near us finding insects, watched four poaka (pied stilts) gracefully take off from the lake, and watched a matuku moana (white-faced heron) languidly flying across the wetlands calling with a grumpy frog-like sound incongruous with its elegant appearance.
This is the beauty of riding in multifarious places, enjoying seeing, hearing and feeling something different from the last rides.
Matt and I greatly enjoyed motoming this track for the second time. We knew there were no barriers or narrow parts to get in the way of a flowing ride, or, worse still, truncate it. We last rode this in October, before our marvellous summer of motoming. I was relatively new to the Motom and tentative about some hills – up and down. We have ridden many trails since then, including plenty of hills, so I launched myself without hesitation down a path that I avoided last time, considering it too steep, and roared back up it on our return, getting just a little stuck at the top when the gravel was too loose and the Motom was losing traction. This was easily managed, I just stopped where I was and Matt gave me a push to just finish the hill off.
Once again there were signs remaining of the storms in February with large trees down and areas where rushing water laden with debris had surged down banks.
This ride will be lovely when completed to Tairua. It is wide with an easy-to-ride surface twisting and turning through native bush and a boardwalk curving around mangroves and looking out across the estuary to the unique skyline of volcanic plugs and tree-covered hills. Even reaching the boardwalk at the start of the ride was an enjoyable easy ride through Paunaui, a seaside town designed with biking in mind.,
This ride was so much fun I did it again with my Dad, Brian, a few days later on a magical, crisp autumn morning with mist in the hills and water so still it mirrored the clouds perfectly.
We nipped out before anyone else was up and before we would meet many other cyclists, runners or walkers. The ride was perfect and the heavy rain the night before created a beautiful Christmas lights-effect with water droplets on the reeds and cobwebs shining brightly in the sunshine.
Ride: 18 km riding, twice.