Great Rides: Dum-Dum & Son’s Wild West Adventure
In an attempt to pry my boys off the Xbox for a few hours we loaded the car up with bikes and headed west to explore some new bike trails.
I had the excellent MAXX Cycle Map sent to me for the Western Region and it showed an off-road path that meandered from the Central Park Business District (by The Trusts Stadium) to the West Wave Aquatic Centre in central Henderson. As these are the only places out West I’m familiar with it was a good place to start!
My youngest is nine so he “almost’ engages his brain riding in traffic but there’s a different level of enjoyment for a parent riding with children off-road as you can relax that little bit more. These trails are just fantastic for getting some exercise with the family with a minimum of stress.
The path starts off down a very nondescript alley beside Carters but once we hit the edge of the motorway and crossed the bridge the excitement levels exploded and the kids charged off down the path following the estuary. I had to remind them that it wasn’t their personal MotoGP track and to watch for walkers and other cyclists and we did meet a few as we continued on our journey.
The path followed the stream with mostly flat pedaling and it was very pleasant riding all the way to the back of the West Wave pool complex. Unfortunately the bridge here was closed for maintenance so we had to ride a kilometre around the block to get the 20 metres across to the other side! The route is a little convoluted here as you ride around the back of the bowling green and croquet court and I’m not entirely sure if we went the correct way, I just followed my nose. This took us under the main road and around the back of Pak’n Save until we reached Great North Road. Directly across the road and over the railway tracks is Opanuku Reserve which leads to Henderson Park. Stop and explore this area as it contains the historic Corban Estate Arts Centre and within that the Waitakere Pacific Arts and Cultural Centre. Being North Shore kids the boys had never seen a railway line before and the concept of moving lots of people about without a traffic jam took some explaining. I also explained the disadvantages of standing still on the lines looking blankly at your feet and they took more care on the return leg.
This is where we encountered Dum-Dum (as the boys quickly christened him) who proved to be a big hit. “You dum-dum. You bring me gum-gum?” was echoing around my head for the next half hour! Around the back of the Centre is a giant concrete eel that also made for a good photo opportunity.
We cruised on the path through Henderson Park then behind some industrial buildings before coming to a stop at this sign at Keeling Road where the path appeared to finish. This is why you don’t want me on your orienteering team! If I had taken the map with me or bothered to ride 15 metres down the road I would have seen the path continued on. Never-mind, the guys needed an ice-block by this stage so we backtracked to Pak’n Save for supplies and sat by the stream watching the Pukekos.
With food-colouring and preservative coursing through our veins we made good time back to the sag-wagon although the riding styles and risk-assessments went out the window as the blood sugar rose.
The terrain is very flat with lots of interesting bridges, boardwalks, twists and turns and would suit riders of any ability or fitness level.
It was a great afternoon out in the fresh air and I look forward to heading further inland when we return.