This was the first impromptu ride organised for some time and 3 Wellington Members Ken Wilson, Neil Bartlett and Peter Nash gathered at the BP Mana Servo for the departure up SH1. The forecast for the lower half of the North Island was for hot, sunny, calm weather and Metservice certainly got that right.
The ride up SH1 as far as the Kimberly Road South of Levin was in moderate traffic with no unexpected issues. It was interesting to note that surface resealing on the Kapiti Expressway was being undertaken on a road open for less than 12 months hopefully a better job will be done on the Transmission Gully road due to open in early 2020.
The plan was to ride up SH57 and cross into the Wairarapa via the Pahiatua Track the original idea being to have coffee/comfort/leg stretch stop in Pahiatua and then continue onto Pongaroa for lunch however, a quick check of the Pongaroa Pub website indicated that the food side of this pub was closed on Mondays, so an early lunch was taken at the Pahiatua Bakery and Café.
The early lunch stop was timely in that we were all starting to get parched by the increasing temperature we were riding in. We continued, on SH2 turning onto the Pahiatua Pongaroa Road for the ride through the Makura River Gorge this part of the ride is particularly scenic. At one point we were following a Concrete truck which was crawling up the hills.
Overtaking on this road safely is not easy due to the winding nature of the road however, the first opportunity where there was some straight road we all managed to pass. In a couple of places this road had some subsidence damaged which was being repaired. By this time, it was hot and a brief stop in Pongaroa was followed by the ride on the Coast Road to Akitio Beach, the latter part of this road is gravel and in this instance a thin loose covering over the hard packed, road foundation. First planned gravel ride for the writer for some time and it was good to be back on the ‘marbles’.
We stopped at Akitio Beach and drank water we were carrying and sat in the shade under a tree to cool off. Click HERE to see the photo taken by Ken Wilson while we were sitting under the tree at Akitio Beach.
At this time, it was decided to ride around the loop by taking the Northern exit from the beach on the River Road taking us back to Route 52 at Waione. It was also decided to return to Wellington via the Wairarapa and the Rimutaka Hill.
The ride on the River Road follows the Akitio River and is also another winding road and quite scenic in places. The turn on Route 52 took us back through Pongaroa, where incidentally there is now a card operated Gas Station, and onto Alfredton. There is a large washout that has taken the whole road out between Pongaroa and Alfredton this was mentioned in a previous Impromptu Ride Report last year. It is now well marked with cones leading to the site however, it looks to be a long way from being fully restored there is a gravel deviation which is best described as being like a drive way up to a rural property it is clearly solid as we followed a large truck and trailer unit across this deviation.
We all topped up the fuel tanks at Faulknors Servo in Masterton and took on more water to rehydrate and continued South on SH2. By this time, we were in the 16:00 to 16:30 work traffic which slowed us down until out on the open road and onto the Rimutaka Hill where the traffic heading South was light. Both Ken and Neil took off last seen disappearing up the hill and on toward respective homes. The writer did likewise arriving home at around 18:00 ending 488kms home to home ride with 2 great companions.
Once home rehydration was the priority with copious quantities of non- alcoholic beverages being consumed.