HBT Day 1: Hawkes Bay Warm-up

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Hawkes Bay Trails Blog

HBT Day 1: On the Road again

Friday 20 November and the 5Men were on the road again. This time the Hawkes Bay Trails are the destination, with four days of riding around coastal paths, alongside rivers and through vineyard country. Not forgetting the frequent stops to take on fuel and essential liquids.

At 7:30 am all are on board Paul’s “Big Red Truck” (his newly minted Ford Everest SUV, BiRT), and off to Napier, with the intention of arriving by midday, providing time for lunch, and a warm-up ride in the afternoon.

The journey to Napier

This blog is actually about the cycling, however in this case a word about the journey to get there is probably warranted.

Paul's Big Red Truck: BiRT

Paul’s Big Red Truck: BiRT

Having only just taken delivery of his new pride and joy our trip was the first opportunity for Paul to test BiRT’s paces. As the “elder statesman” Dale understandably claimed the relative comfort of the Co-pilot’s seat up front, but there is plenty of room across the back seat for the two Kevs and Steve. And there was always the “time out seat” at the back, provided the “seatee” is prepared to share the space with assorted bags and back-packs.

And BiRT performs with aplomb: comfortable (even with three across the back), roomy and quiet, with no hint of strain when under pressure. The only thing we’re not sure about is DJ Dale’s choice of station and music – but that may be the complex “Infotainment Console” which is primarily at fault there, so we’ll give him the benefit of the doubt on that. Paul probably needs to hire a teenager to work it all out for him.

The Water Ride

Picking up the hired bikes at the motel around midday, the afternoon was spent on a gentle ride around the northern reaches of the Water Ride, a flat and easy ride along the coast, and around the edges of the Ahuriri Estuary, a sanctuary for endangered wetland wildlife.

Great views over the coastal fringes as we biked north on the inland part of the track. Then back via the coastal paths to Ahuriri, with regular stops to admire the view.

Two major problems on this circuit: the track was through farmland, so between opening and closing gates and dodging sheep and their deposits the speed was not remarkable – at least until we hit the sealed paths again, when a speed of 39 kph was momentarily recorded – albeit with a strong tail wind making a major contribution.

Tea was at the Thirsty Whale: steak for three, fish for Steve and a mixed seafood platter for Paul.

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Warm-up ride along the paths of the Water Ride

Early start in the morning so early to bed before a long day.


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