Short Ride at Long Bay
Out for a road-ride last week I found myself near Long Bay so I dropped down the hill and checked-out the new Long Bay Regional Park cycle trails.
I’d ridden there on a mountainbike years ago but there was portaging involved as you shouldered the bike and slogged up the steps beyond Vaughan Cottage. Much work has been done recently however and a new track has been constructed that leads you from the north-west corner of the parking areas through the bush to the top of the cliffs. I say “track”, but this initial section is more of a “road” and it’s pretty steep in places with a coarse gravel base – this may improve as the trail-network is developed. At the moment it’s more suited to a mountainbike with nice low gearing and children under ten would struggle.
Much of the park appears to be a working-farm and you traverse some of the fence-lines via raised cattle-grates. It’s a brilliant idea, you don’t even have to get off your bike. Take it easy in the rain though as they would be treacherous with wet muddy tyres. As you crest the top of the hill you are greeted by the stunning vista below. I was greeted by a headwind so strong a lower gear was necessary to ride DOWNHILL and I was propelled up the path on the return leg with no pedaling at all. That’s a first for me in forty years of cycling, I’ve been blown along the flats before but never uphill on gravel!
I probably rode the next section in the wrong direction. From the highest cattle-grate I dropped straight down into Granny’s Bay. From there I picked up a track quaintly named the 10 Acre Trail (half expected to run into Tigger or Pooh). This meandered (mostly uphill) in a big loop through scrub and across open paddocks all the way back to the cattle-grate above. The paddocks were hard work on a bike with no suspension as the once soft hoof-prints had dried-up to the consistency of concrete.
At that stage my “I’ll be about an-hour-and-a-half Honey” ride was fast approaching three hours so with the wind howling at my back I sailed over the hill and headed for home. The main trail continues along the coast towards Okura and I’ll explore that on another visit. Hopefully it flattens-out after the initial rollercoaster.
While some trails at Sanders Reserve have been made hard-work by their bad design I don’t think the riding I did at Long Bay could be made any easier. The terrain is just lumpy, simple as that. Mountainbikers will have no trouble with the gradients but for an outing with a young family walking would be the better option.
It’s wonderful the Council is providing trails like this that cyclists can share with those on foot. I love getting off-road within riding distance of home!
Get out there, give them a go and tell me what you think.