We had completed route52 but still had 119km to traverse to get us to the base of the Rimuaka Ranges.
After our 76km ride to Masterton the bodies were not looking forward to getting back onto the bike seats for the 53km ride through to Martinborough. However, the terrain had become a little friendlier and the route notes promised a less hilly (or in Ruth speak Himalayan) ride for our our last two days of point-to-point pedaling.
With the threat of another hot day we agreed that it should be an early start so we pedaled out of Masterton just after 8am. Ruth had risen to the challenge helped by the promise of a rest day in Martinborough. En-route we received a text (yes we actually had cell coverage) from our accommodation provider to say that they had problems with their hot water (none) – did we still want to stay? We decided that a cold shower at the end of the day’s ride would not be that unpleasant and, besides, we did not feel like trying to find alternative digs for a couple of nights.
The ride reminded us of our ride across the Durance plains in Provence, especially as we got closer to Martinborough as olive groves and vineyards appeared alongside the more traditional Wairarapa farming.
While a pleasant little town, Martinborough has been ‘gentrified’ since the arrival of the vines and, the pricing of everything seemed to be city+. The town was now geared to the weekend trade from nearby Wellington and many of the establishments were closed mid-week. It did not bother us, Ruth was happy to not be on the ‘saddle’ and off the hills. I was happy to not be riding in the extremely windy conditions that had arrived and, to get a break from complaints about my dodgy distance estimations. I suspected that the it was only a temporary reprieve with regard to the latter – the next ride was meant to be 63km but, well, um, give or take a few km, maybe.
Our ride to Featherston took the ‘long route’ down the Lake Ferry road then across the bottom of Lake Wairarapa and the up the Western Lake to Featherston. I explained to Ruth that this was for safety reasons, we would avoid the long single lane bridge over the Ruamahanga river and, the longer route was more scenic.
It was a scenic ride, much better than I had expected and the roads were largely free of other motorised traffic. The blot on the day was; that when Ruth’s odometer displayed 63km, Featherston was nowhere to be seen. 4km later it appeared. I explained to her that the discrepancy between her Odometer reading and my phone reading and estimates must have been caused by the head wind. She didn’t swallow that excuse either. So it turned out to be another longer ride. As compensation I made a great show of officially rerouting the last day. Instead of riding over the Rimutaka range we would catch a train through to the first station on the other side of the hills (mountains chirped Ruth). In reality, we had decided after the debacle on the first day to make this change and, the forecast for that last day was not good, rain and strong winds which would make the “high road” and even more foolhardy choice.
The rain and wind turned up as expected as did the train and our last day of riding was a rather soggy but much shorter 15km from Maymorn station to Trentham in Wellington. As we trundled up to Ron and Glenys’s house the tour odometer was showing 690km.
While Ruth is Reluctant to concede that it was fun, we did both agree that we have a much better appreciation of the countryside and communities that we trundled through.
We also agreed that our little Onya F19s had performed extremely well. Despite some challenging mountains (there you go Ruth) and distances, our batteries did not fall below 40% charged. The only mechanical issue I had was on the penultimate day when my bike fell over resulting in the chain coming off. Good Onya bikes and good Onya Ruth for going the ‘extra mile’.