Longest Day Ride – Complete

Followers of my blog will know that before Christmas I undertook a circumnavigation of the Manukau Harbour.  Those astute readers may have wondered  how specifically I was transported  along the last leg, from home to Huia.  Was it by Our Rider’s leg power or some other form of engine?

Well today Our Rider decided that we should go as far as would could go powered by her legs, electrolytes and a few tasty treats.  It was yet another stupendously stunning summer’s day as we set off up to Titirangi and then onto the road to Huia commencing with a winding descent

Although Huia sits at sea level and Titirangi is well above the sea, there are lots of ups and downs along the way.  At one stage my Garmin read 18%.  Our Rider fixed her eyes upwards and said to herself (or was she talking to me) “Each pedal stroke takes me closer to the top”  (Thanks Josh Kench).

After many climbs we caught a glimpse of her, the representative symbol of our beginning.     As we rode I allowed myself time to explore the emotions that her presence sought.


Today she was a lot smaller, and yet we knew how she looked

With the high tide to greet us at Huia Our Rider thought about turning around, as we had achieved our objective.  Then this little voice started talking in her head. “Silas will ask if we went to Little Huia and whether or not the little ford is still there.” While Our Rider cursed him, I was secretly relieved.  I had a feeling our ride was to become an adventure and I have learnt from TVF what grand fun such things can be.

Yes Silas, the little ford is still there.  As it was high tide I was carried across to protect Jimmy and Choo (my race wheels) from the destruction of salt water.  As we continued along the shoreline I noticed a smile appear on Our Rider’s face.  I did a bunny hop in delight.  On coming to the end of the shoreline we had an option to turn around or continue up Whaitpu road, which was now tar sealed.  Well what would Silas ask?

I was pointed uphill and to the accompaniment of the Tui’s song and the thump of Our Rider’s heart we danced a slow dance up the 9% hill with the trees offering their protection from the harsh almost midday sun.

Then the sign, which Jimmy and Choo dread and adventurous bicycles adore;


Gravel Road Ahead:)

I know Our Rider had entered the state of adventure with a healthy dose of curiosity when we continued up the gravel with narry a thought to the descent.  I resisted another bunnyhop.  A short while after we came across a sign to a walking track “Manukau Bar Look Out 10 minutes return“.  We continued on by, just wondering how much further this hill was to go.

After rounding another corner, the answer was not in sight, so we turned around and carefully descended over the rough corrugations (TVF would have been in heaven) back to the walking track.  “How would a bicycle ride be with out a bush track?” I ask you.


Sprucing Up Jimmy & Choo

Unfortunately some nasty organism has taken up residence in the Giant of the Forest (Kauri Trees) and is destroying them.  in an attempt to restrict its spread shoes need to be washed on entering and leaving.  Jimmy & Choo were happy to have the dust of the gravel  road removed.

Our Rider pushed me up the track and carried me up the stairs to see what we would see.


Look closely under the “b” on the far hill the Awhitu Peninsular Lighthouse

Although it seems a long way in the photo, the other side was so close and we could clearly see the lighthouse where we had started our longest day.  We took our time here to enjoy the moment and the entrance to this magnificent Harbour.

The harbour on which Our Rider spent her childhood.  Discovering anemones, how they felt as they closed around her then little fingers.  The many  adventures she had with her Dad and siblings along its shores, on and in its waters.  Teenage games of bullrush on its parks running towards the cutest boys.  And even now the adventure continues.


Entrance to Adventure


Looking Forward to Where it Began

Back down the track, a stop to wash our boots and at the end of the gravel a strategically placed gap in the bush over looking our harbour.


The harbour we rode around

At Huia Our Rider armed with a Coke and a cookie headed to the long grass beside the sea.  She lay me down and I looked up at the sky watching the clouds float by… “hmm is that cloud shaped like Our Rider and me?”  I wondered as I fell into a relaxed hypnotic state.  “This is something I want to do more often,” I thought.

Then it dawned on me, this is why TVF rides the way she does.  For her it is about adventure, enjoying the day, the moment, the blueness of the swimming pool, the clouds as they sail by. I realise now that is the race.  The very best race to win.

With that epiphany I came out of trance and looked over to Our Rider and wondered if her thoughts had led her in the same direction.  She walked towards me relaxed with a smile.

We returned home, up the ups and down the downs, bicycle and rider as one.  As Our Rider placed me in the garage, she said to me “Let’s have rides like that more often.

With that I snuggled close to TVF and in silence she entwined her handlebars in mine.


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