We are enjoying some pleasant winter weather at the moment and it has been mild enough to get back on the bikes. I managed to get out for a couple of “maintenance rides” during the week but the prognosis was not good. I used the pedal assist sparingly but the muscles were complaining – more bike time is needed before the weather really warms up.

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Transporting the bikes on the car ferry cost $4 return v $28 for the car.

Sunday dawned crisp and clear and the forecast was for a pleasant sunny day. It would be great to go for a ride somewhere different but I had not bothered to keep my battery charged after the rides earlier in the week. I pulled the bikes out of the shed and placed mine on the charger. Ruth’s was showing a full charge although in the back of my mind I did recall her mentioning a month or so ago about needing a charge.  I must have charged it since.

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The Route –  Click to view full map – 27km return

I suggested a road ride to Russell on the other side of The Bay. Not riding all the way from Kerikeri but we would drive to Opua, get on the ferry with out bikes, and ride from there. I mentioned to Ruth that we could ride down and check out the site of her ancestors home and ship building yard and she could also have a look through Russell museum which apparently had a lot of information on the family. That sounded good to her although she was a little apprehensive about riding on the road. We have quite a bit of road riding planned for this summer so starting with a quiet winter road seemed like a sensible idea to me – she reluctantly agreed.

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Ruth found the site of the ship yard and two dwellings. This one was the Honorary American Consulate in the days before NZ was annexed by Great Britain. Russell was in the early 1800’s the temporary home to many American Whalers. There was only a fence and an old Norfolk Pine where the ancestors home once stood.

We decided that spontaneity is not our strong suite. I remembered the keys to the bike locks as we were on the ferry. The problem, was that they were at home. Oh well, I would have to look after the bikes while Ruth did the exploring. I took my GoPro camera but forgot the bike mounting – oh well at least we had our phones. As we pedalled off the ferry and up the first hill, my battery charge indicator became very animated in a bad way. Ruth’s also decided to show her real charge level and by the top of the hill Russell was looking like a challenging prospect unless we were happy to ride unassisted up the hills.

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While enjoying a coffee and snack on the waterfront this slightly unhinged person kept us entertained with his winter frolicking. It brought back memories of Galway. 

The ride to the ancestral sites took us back down to sea level and the return ride up the steep hill put further strain on the diminishing battery charge. I recalled from my reading in relation to the car that lithium batteries don’t like being charged in cold conditions. The battery would have been very unhappy after cold after a night in the shed and no doubt decided to punish me. Ruth’s battery was simply poor power management on my part. Not helped by an initial misleading meter display. The last thing that I needed was for Ruth to be visited by those bad memories of having to push a bike up a hill.

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Long Beach was the end of the road and sheltered from the breeze.

We had a quick conference on the top of the hill as to whether or not we should risk the ride. The sun was warm (the breeze cool) so we decided to plunge in. If the worst eventuated, I could alway give Ruth my battery and ride unassisted myself. Later in Russell as I suggested a battery swap to Ruth I remembered that the batteries are locked and, of course, the keys were at home.

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There was no shoulder on the road so we were pleased that traffic was relatively light.

All credit to Ruth, she nursed her battery on the ride back, saving the power for the steeper hills. She even confessed that she had enjoyed the ride. I was making mental notes of all the things that I need to pay more attention too before our next outing in order to ensure that the ‘hill anxiety’ remains conquered. Let’s hope that it is not too long before the next ride otherwise I might have forgotten the lessons.

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We made it – Ruth rolls down the last hill to the ferry.

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