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A perfect ride

Now and again, everything just works out perfectly, and indeed exceeds all expectations, says Gisborne Canoe and Tramping Club committee member Geoff Cobb. The Te Wera-Rakauroa cycle ride he led in September was one such trip.

I have to say it didn’t start off great. There were just five riders — Barry Foster, Helen Costello, Jenny French, Tracey McMillan, Dan Cobb and myself leading — but for us “chosen few” that was our gain and everyone else’s loss.

Leaving Gisborne under grey cloud, we rendezvoused at Matawai under blue skies with not a breath of wind. It was to stay like that all day.

Then it was on to the start of Te Wera Road which is off SH2.

It was a good initial warm-up uphill, levelling off on the first five or six kilometres of sealed road. We passed trees in blossom, and a few bulls on the road who, thankfully, seemed totally unconcerned about us.

Leaving the seal, we dropped down to cross the Motu River, then, after a short climb, dropped again passing over the Koranga Stream.

After morning tea at Koranga Valley Road junction, we looked at the signpost with various destinations. Koranga Valley Road had been my original goal for those who wanted to return, but the unanimous decision was to carry on to the Rakauroa Road junction, another 2 kilometres.

So we did. Here we discussed who wanted to do what. Barry and Jenny had originally thought that this would be the limit of their capabilities, but it was such a perfect day, it seemed a shame to turn around and go back.

Going through to Rakauroa was further and involved more climbing but we had plenty of time, and it was unlikely we would ever have better conditions, so we decided we would all press on.

It was a great decision. The ride first through farm land and then bush was beautiful.

Barry knew the route well from his beekeeping deliveries, and was able to show us a delightful hidden gem — a pool and waterfall.

He also made sure our energy didn’t flag by supplying chocolate made with maple syrup from his recent trip to Canada. Yummy!

A ride to be repeatedWe then entered the ‘gorge’ section with a steep hillside and sheer bluffs on one side and a precipitous drop on the other.

Barry pointed out where a truck and trailer unit had gone over the side. Miraculously, the driver survived.

It was a steady climb, but eventually we came out again into farming country at Burnage Station. Then it was on to the summit, where we had lunch looking down the valley laid out below us.

Prior to the ride, one concern I had, was the state of the surface and how rough it might be, especially on the Rakauroa Road. But that day it was perfect, mostly as if it had been sealed.

Then it was a long downward swoop to eventually reach SH2, where our chauffeur extraordinaire, Tracey, was patiently waiting to take drivers back to the pick-up vehicles.

With bikes loaded, we made our way home thinking ‘this is definitely a ride I want to do again’.

• The ride to Koranga Valley Road and back is 23km and not too demanding; the ride out to SH2 at Rakauroa is 33km and has significantly more climbing.

WARM-UP: Clear skies, sunshine and trees in blossom near the start of the ride.Pictures by Dan Cobb
This map and the following map in this gallery show the Te Wera-Rakauroa cycle ride.
Jenny French, Dan Cobb, Geoff Cobb and Helen Costello looking at signs at the Koranga Valley Road junction.
A delightful hidden gem — a pool and waterfall in the bush.
Helen braving bulls on the side of the road.
Looking towards the bluffs on the gorge section of the ride.
Happy cyclists (from left): Geoff Cobb, Jenny French, Barry Foster, Helen Costello and Dan Cobb at the end of the ride. Picture by Tracey McMillan