Day 313, Saturday 30 June 2018
Kennedy Park in Castor Bay is a nice park with good views over the Waitemata Harbour. There used to be steep stairs down to the beach, but these were closed last year due to slips.
The main feature of the park is the Second World War gun emplacements. At least two six-inch guns were installed in 1941-2, with camouflage structures around them to make them look like holiday homes from the air. Nearby barracks were also made to look like a house, and the parade ground painted to look like tennis courts.
The guns were removed and sold for scrap in 1951, but the emplacements are still there. The tunnels below them are gated off, but there are regular tours through them. It’s an interesting piece of local history, and seems popular with several groups of people there at the same time I visited.
Distance travelled: 36 km. Total distance so far: 39,755 km
Day 312, Friday 29 June 2018
A beautiful day for a ride today, but I needed an obscure 19th century magazine for some research, and only two libraries in Auckland have it, so getting it took priority for me. At the Auckland Museum, they confirmed they had a copy, but for reasons I didn’t quite understand it wasn’t available today. At the University of Auckland, I was able to easily find their microfilm copy on the shelves, and a librarian was happy to give me a quick tutorial on how to use the reader, even though I’m not a member of their library. It would have been a painful process taking a car or public transport to these two locations, but on the bike I was able to zip through traffic, use the Grafton Bridge (which is not available to cars), and get free parking at both locations, so my research was made easy.
Distance travelled: 12 km. Total distance so far: 39,719 km
Day 311, Thursday 28 June 2018
I was out with a group of Ulyssians today, but we weren’t on motorcycles, so the distance recorded below is just a quick trip around the block after I got home.
On the last Thursday of each month, interested people from both North Harbour and Auckland branches of Ulysses go to a garden, art gallery or other interesting event. It’s a change from the usual focus on motorcycles, and a chance for those spouses who don’t ride with us to meet each other.
Today we went to Sculptureum, an art gallery and garden near Matakana. We spent almost two hours wandering through the largest garden, which was named “Garden of Creative Diversity”, which had a huge collection of sculptures in several very different garden settings. After lunch at a nearby cafe, we wandered through the six indoor galleries, then two more gardens filled with sculpture for another hour or more. I am most impressed with this place.
Distance travelled: 4 km. Total distance so far: 39,707 km
Day 310, Wednesday 27 June 2018
In contrast to yesterday, it was a lovely day it was for a ride today. I joined a group of North Harbour Ulyssians for a longish ride up north.
At Kaukapakapa, a rider pulled over and told me his tyre pressure warning light had come on. After kicking his tyres, he decided to ride on to Wellsford and check the pressure at the service station there.
At Wellsford, he pulled into the Caltex service station, and a little later came over to the rest of us to report that the air pump wasn’t putting air into the tyre, but allowing it out, so the tyre was now completely flat. I gave him a CO2 canister to partially inflate it and suggested he ride 100 m up the road to the Mobil station. A little later he was back; he said he’d pumped the tyre up at Mobil, but by the time he’d returned it had lost almost all pressure again. We spent some time trying to find the source of the puncture but there wasn’t enough air in the tyre to detect a leak, so we all went to the Mobil together.
The bike has unusual valves, and there was a poor connection made with the air pump at Mobil just as there had been at Caltex, so no air was actually getting into the tyre. Another rider with the same make of bike said there was an adapter to improve the connection, but he did not have his one with him. While we were brainstorming ideas, another rider tried using the air pump on the other side of the wheel, and using the back nozzle of the pump which was possibly less worn, and the connection seemed better. We realised that the pump could not feed air into such a flat tyre because there was no pressure for it to sense, and there was a button to inflate a completely flat tyre to deal with this situation. That button did the trick!
It was now well into lunchtime and we’d only done half the distance we had planned, so we cancelled the rest of the ride and went to Te Hana bakery for lunch. The rider with the tyre problem shouted the rest of us coffee to thank us for the help. After lunch, he headed for his motorcycle dealer to buy a valve adapter so this problem will not reoccur.
Distance travelled: 190 km. Total distance so far: 39,703 km
Day 309, Tuesday 26 June 2018
Showers all day today, some of them quite heavy, and significant winds too. The usual Auckland Ulysses Tuesday ride was cancelled, but the regular riders met up for a coffee anyway.
Distance travelled: 72 km. Total distance so far: 39,513 km
Day 308, Monday 25 June 2018
Fowlds Park is a medium sized park in Mount Albert. An access road runs through it, dividing it into two parts. The southern part is mostly sports grounds, but there are large trees on the southern boundary and a substantial grove near the eastern entrance. The northern part is mostly covered in trees, with huge gum trees over native shrubs, and a couple of large pōhutakawa near the entrance. I was impressed to find so many mature trees here.
Along the edge of the playing fields were a number of exercise stations. Unlike the metal machines I saw yesterday, these are custom built from wood, and rather more in keeping with the park.
Distance travelled: 10 km. Total distance so far: 39,441 km
Day 307, Sunday 24 June 2018
Logan Carr reserve follows a tributary of Pakuranga Creek from Kilkenny Drive to Chapel Street, ending at the busy Botany Downs Town Centre, which is even busier at the moment with heavy machinery expanding the shopping centre. There’s a strip of native broadleaf podocarp forest around the stream, which provides a sufficient habitat that I heard birdsong as soon as I got away from the main road. There are fish in the stream although I didn’t go looking for them. I saw a group of half a dozen pukeko.
At the Kilkenny end, a group of exercise machines are placed in a curve. Their sleek black and metal forms look like modern sculptures.
On the other side of Kilkenny Drive, Kellaway Reserve runs upstream to Point View Drive.
Distance travelled: 42 km. Total distance so far: 39,431 km
Day 306, Saturday 23 June 2018
A couple of months ago, I rode to Millwater with the intention of walking along Te Ara Tahuna shared walkway and cycle path, which runs right around the Orewa River estuary. I couldn’t find parking, then was stuck in a dead-end street when traffic lights would not trigger for my motorcycle, and gave up in disgust. Today I went back to try again.
There was parking at the Longmore Lane entrance to the walkway, but it was for drop-off/pickup at the nearby school and had a five minute limit. I decided that since it was the weekend, I’d risk leaving the bike there.
The walkway was a broad path with a good surface, which took me past a large mangrove swamp to the banks of the Orewa River. There were lots of other people around, some strolling like me, some jogging, some cycling, and some walking dogs. It was a sunny day and my walk was most pleasant. I’ll go back and do the northern part of the walk sometime.
Distance travelled: 81 km. Total distance so far: 39,389 km
Day 305, Friday 22 June 2018
I explored more of the Te Atatu Walkway today, starting at the Chapman Strand and following the mangroves around the coast. In places, the path becomes a boardwalk cutting through the mangroves. I’m impressed how well Te Atatu has kept access to the harbour available to the public.
Distance travelled: 38 km. Total distance so far: 39,308 km
Day 304, Thursday 21 June 2018
I rode to the Hunua Ranges Regional Park looking for the relatively obscure Wairoa Falls, an informal name for a small (6 m height) waterfall on the Wairoa River. There is an unmarked track going off the carpark at the beginning of Otau Road (which goes to the Wairoa Dam). This is a steep and slippery track but it isn’t very long. It leads to the base of the falls.
In the otherwise deserted carpark, an Auckland Council car was parked, and the driver came over as I was locking my helmet to the bike to make sure I was aware of the precautions needed to prevent kauri dieback. I assured him I was, and asked if there were kauri trees on the path I was taking. He was unaware of the path or of the falls, despite them being clearly audible in the background. I guess the council is putting general staff on duty warning the public about dieback as well as the highly-informed park rangers.
Distance travelled: 120 km. Total distance so far: 39,270 km