Staying closer to home this time, it was over the hill to Martinborough, and four days of cycling on the Wairarapa “trails” (the quote marks reflect the fact that the trails are all on-road – and at times busy roads at that.
A 9:00 am start in BiRT, a quick stop for coffee in Silverstream (to keep the driver awake) and over to the thriving metropolis of Martinborough, home to the Wairarapa wine industry. Accommodation had been arranged at Pinot Villas, ideally suited for the weekend, located just off the square in Martinborough, and within easy walking distance of all facilities: cafes, restaurants and the bike shop. Two units, both double storied, promised relaxing conditions for overcoming any pains from the planned rides.
Kev has got bike hire down to a fine art now, and had arranged to pick up bikes at Green Jersey Cycle Tours at midday. This time the bikes were Avanti Montari mountain bikes, which proved very suitable for the mainly on-road riding we experienced – with one exception: the standard hard, narrow seat prompted more than a few grizzles by the end of the long ride on Saturday. Perhaps a case for the noisier complainers to attach their own “comfort” seats in future? Or is it simply that several of the group carry their own “soft seats” anyway?
Dale took responsibility for the planned light ride on Friday afternoon, with it soon
becoming obvious that we would not be moving far from the immediate township surrounds: the first stop was just 1.4 km from the bike shop, at Palliser Estate Wines, where a round of tasting whet the palette for the next stop. A gentle ride through the vineyard, and around to Martinborough Vinyard Estates, followed (in rapid succession) with visits to Margrain Vineyard (for a quick lesson on the merits of “Botrytis” in wine making), Poppies Martinborough for a coffee and platter for afternoon tea, and finally Muirlea Rise to learn all about the art of producing wines with “minimal intervention”.
Altogether an enjoyable and varied couple of hours, albeit with minimal strain– just 8.5 km on a true circuit to show for our efforts. And a couple of slightly heavier paniers for those “2 Men” impressed enough by their tasting to put aside a couple of bottles as reminders of an afternoon well spent.
Beer tasting and a new word
Martinborough is mainly famous for the number of vineyards and winemakers in the area, but that does not mean that those who prefer the taste of hops are left wanting. A relatively new venture is Martinborough Brewery, a craft brewery in the heart of the township, producing a limited but excellent range of craft beers, primarily for the local market.
And it was while enjoying the merits of their offerings, and the accompanying platter, that a new word was inadvertently coined, during discussions of the next day’s plans. A nameless elder statesman posited:
“Why don’t we bycle down to breakfast at a cafe around 8:00am, then head off for morning tea at Greytown, then lunch at the Gladstone?”
Confirmation of plans was temporarily set aside by initially amused examination of this new word: presumably an accidental contraction of “bicycle”, or a combination of “bike” and “cycle”. We know there is a perfectly good contraction (‘bike’) already in widespread use, but it is confusing to simple minds when it is used for both the equipment we ride and the use of that equipment; so Dale’s inadvertent invention had some attraction – and in our minds, a very specific meaning:
Bycle: To slowly cycle between refreshment stops, primarily for recreational purposes.
And of course, with the thought processes well lubricated, it was easy to identify there are other possible derivatives of the root word:
Bycling: Riding a bike slowly between refreshment stops . . .
Byclist: Someone who rides a bike slowly between refreshment stops, primarily for recreational purposes.
In keeping with 5 Mens’ own philosophy there are of course some riders which go hand in hand with proper use of these new terms. For example, the bycling fraternity (currently just us, so that is not being sexist) generally frowns on excessive use of Lycra; one piece (typically shorts) may be acceptable for personal comfort (comfort of the nether regions being both very personal and very important), but the use of commercially branded tops is an absolute no-no (we have no wish to be confused with MAMILS).
And the emphasis in bycling is on recreation, not commuting, or competition (or showing off); increased fitness is an acceptable, but somewhat nebulous, benefit (given the regular refreshment stops) of the bycling experience.
Then again, maybe the existing terms are fine?