North/West meeting points

Day 275, Wednesday 23 May 2018

Today was raining persistently, and although I went to the North Harbour Ulysses mid-week meeting point, I was the only one to turn up on a bike, which was not a surprise to me.

We meet on Wednesdays at the Hollywood Bakery on Maki St, which is just north of the Northwest Shopping Centre in a block with Briscoes and Harvey Norman. We chose this place to meet about a year ago. It’s handy to both the Northwest Motorway and Upper Harbour Highway, so it’s easy to get to. There’s a large carpark which is never busy mid-week. The cafe is good, reasonably priced, tolerates us, and sells a range of food such as sandwiches and filled rolls should we decide to have an impromptu picnic. There’s also a sushi place next door for takeaway food. There are public toilets next to the cafe, so no one feels under any obligation to order at the cafe so they can use the facilities. It’s also easy for a large group of motorcycles to pull out from the carpark without getting separated by traffic. In short, it’s a good meeting place, though there is one flaw; it’s a little difficult to explain to people exactly how to get there. It’s at least partly because we have this comfortable meeting place that we have a great social time and people turn up even when they aren’t planning to ride with us.

Before we started using this place, we met at Mews Cafe at 65 Paul Matthews Road, Rosedale, at the other end of the Upper Harbour Highway. It was also handy to two motorways (the other being the Northern Motorway), but the cafe and carpark were smaller and busier, and getting out of the carpark was increasingly difficult as the road became very busy, so we were often split into many smaller groups as we left.

Ulysses also uses the Dairy Flat Autobahn as a meeting point for some Sunday rides. This is a good meeting point, similar to the Papakura Autobahn the Tuesday rides use, but it is suitable only for rides going north, with rides going west disadvantaged by the starting position.

The other place on the North Shore used for a meeting point is the covered Warehouse carpark at Albany, across from the McDonalds. Meeting in the carpark gives shelter from the weather, but doesn’t have a lot of other advantages. Coffee/food can be purchased from McDonalds, and they don’t object to us using their toilets, but it isn’t as comfortable as sitting around in a cafe. The traffic lights leaving the carpark have a short cycle, so rides are often split up when leaving.

Some other motorcycle clubs meet occasionally at Z Energy at Westgate, but the forecourt has little space for bikes, and there’s nowhere to sit.

I covered the common meeting places in South Auckland in a previous post.

Distance travelled: 40 km. Total distance so far: 35,834 km

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