The good news is that the correct type of bus arrived to pick us up in Taupo and, as a result, there was no problem transporting the bikes.

The 8km ride to our accommodation was a very pleasant and hassle free introduction to The Bay’s excellent walking and cycling infrastructure.

Our accommodation in Napier was a splendid AirBnB at Westshore, a flat and interesting pedal along the waterfront from the bus station.

Driftwood art on the beach during the Water Ride
A bridal party passed us.
And a few minutes later we were in a wetland wilderness.
Marvelling at the mixed farming – the geese and sheep seemed to coexist
And then into the city to take in the splendid Art Deco buildings.

Napier turned on splendid cycling weather until the day we left when the promised showers materialised and gave us our first taste of getting wet, then dry, then wet again. The bikes have that dirt tracking look after we had ridden through puddles on the limestone sand surfaces.

Coat on or off? Another shower sweeps down from Te Mata peak and across the vines.
One of the pickers harvesting peaches gave us the thumbs up.
Ruth in her aqua attire admiring the laden apple trees

We loved our day rides in and around Napier. We are very envious of their walking, cycling and other non-car mobility infrastructure. As always, it is great to visit a vibrant smaller centre, especially one with their eyes on more sustainable future transport options.

Havelock North represented the end of the easy riding in the Bay. It also signalled the return of the hot and clear summer weather.

The pool was not the oresent when the Queen Mum stayed. We enjoyed cooling off in it.

Ruth told me that the Queen Mother had stayed in our bed and breakfast and we were in her room. The room must have been pretty disappointed when we turned up.

I gave Ruth an in-depth briefing of our ride through to Waipukarau. This was the ride that had slipped under my radar – 60km, all uphill and with 530m of ascent the distance and climbing was going to really test both bikes and us.

A colourful collection of beehives.

There was a bit of early morning mist as we left but the clouds soon cleared and by early afternoon the temperature was nudging 30c and the heat coming off the road was pretty impressive/ moisture sapping. Despite the challenging conditions the ride itself was great. Good road and hardly a car or truck to be seen. We met up with a couple of the same age from Bristol who were biking from Cape Reinga to Wellington, with no pedal assist. Made us feel like the cheats that we are. However, we seemed to be as thirsty as them when we stumbled across the Patangata Tavern, a pub in the middle of nowhere.

The view of the Tukituki river and valley and the lack of other road traffic made a pleasant riding combination
Roads to ourselves – the way we like them.
In the middle of nowhere the Patangata tavern was like an oasis for our little caravan.
Our ride took us alongside the Tukituki river for most of the day – unfortunately we were following it towards it’s source which meant a steady uphill ride.

We had clocked up the designated 60km well before there was any sign of Waipukurau. This is not a good thing as Ruth is now and odometer watcher (kind of like a clock watcher) and once the budgeted kilometres have expired the ‘bonus’ distance invokes a lot of bleating and accusations of “doing a Trump”. We biked through that pain and 66km saw us biking up the path to The Vicarage, our overnight stay in Waipukurau. A nice shower and a cup of tea works wonders with Ruth.

Ruth was happy to chill out in the shade of the veranda at The Vicarage.

Tomorrow we bike out to the coast (we are heading DOWN to sea level Ruth). The weather for the next four days promises to be very hot so I am measuring and remeasuring distances to avoid the over-budget-blues. Apparently our internet connectivity falls off the edge of the earth down the road so this will be the last update for a while.

We are pretty much halfway into our journey. The camera that I mulled over bringing has packed a major sad and is now “dead weight” in my bag. My gel seat cover decided that after seven years of abuse it would fall to bits. On the gain side, we acquired a camera bag as a front bag for Ruth’s bike and that has improved her setup immensely. It is better than mine and I am a little jealous. But yesterday I found a new seat cover that I can start a new cycle of abuse with. We are enjoying the ride, every day brings something a little different and the fact that we are riding toy bikes means that many locals want to chat.

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