Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Icecream in Porangahau

 Late last week we knew we were going riding, the question was just where?  Turakina Valley was suggested initially, but then Colin mentioned heading out East again to do that great loop out Waihoki Valley.  But I'd actually had some other Eastern roads tumbling around inside my head...

Saturday was chosen based on the weather forecast and this turned out to be the right call as it ended up being a nice sunny day whereas Sunday became very windy with some rain later in the afternoon.

So, over a coffee before we left, I proposed my cunning plan and surprisingly the KTM rider seemed keen, so off we went.

Naturally the ride began with a sedate skid over the track before taking the usual "gravel entre" of Tararua Road before a short pause in Pahiatua to get gassed up for the day's excursion.

Riding off towards Pongaroa I checked the clock on the bike it seemed that we were a bit early for a lunch stop in Pongaroa so at the summit above Makuri I turned off to lead Colin through Rimu Road.  Well, it wasn't quite as windy as the day Steve got blown off the road, but it was close.  We fair wobbled our way down the hill (getting pushed all over the road) until we were out of the wind and back onto the seal just South of Pongaroa.  Five minutes later we were safely inside the pub ordering burgers.

After lunch we began the next section of our ride with the sublime Coast Road.  Don't tell the roading guys, but this bit of gravel is always in good condition and allows for a nice wee clip.  A few more cars on it than usual this time...

Turning back inland from Akitio we made our way back towards Route 52 (Pongaroa-Weber section), but turned off onto Esdaile Road which offers a gravel shortcut to the Weber-Wimbledon section of Route 52.  It's a neat ride too and I spotted another gravel road heading off it that didn't have a no exit sign on it so this may need investigating at a later date...

Just a bit further up the road was our next turn-off.  Franklin Road is a road that heads off into some pine forest and recently they're been hauling a fair bit of wood out of there.  There were definitely less trees than last and the trucks had created some fairly decent ruts in the softer bits of the road.  We were a little lucky that there hadn't been any rain in the last couple of days.

Franklin Road eventually runs out where it crashes into Birch Road East.  A left here will take you back almost to Weber but the right takes you East and back to Route 52 between Wimbledon and Porangahau.  On this trip the road was a bit more churned up than I've seen it with some reasonable pot holes, puddles and the odd slippery bit.  Gently goes it on the big girl...

We were still up reasonably high and there's some good views to be had if you can be bothered looking...

Arriving in Porangahau, an orange bike rapidly passed me and then laid on the anchors outside the local dairy.  Apparently we needed icecream - and it was good...

Just up the hill (an Old Hill) we had a quick er, photo stop before the great gravel of Old Hill Road got us back onto the seal of Porangahau Road.

I think it was at lunch, or maybe at icecream, I dunno, but, I'd suggested to Colin that after Porangahau why don't we just take the next no exit gravel road and see if it got us home or hopelessly lost.  The next road turned out to be Wallingford Road and I've definitely ridden it before but not for some time.  At least I wasn't lost yet.

Wallingford Road eventually got us onto Ugly Hill Road.

And when we hit Ngahape Road I recognised the school so no, I was definitely not lost!

Eventually we got onto a lot more familiar roads and ended up in Dannevirke after a short bit of Weber Road.  A quick flick down SH2 and then we were off the main drag again through Hopelands and back onto SH2 into Mangatainoka.

In Mangatainoka, I initially missed the turn I wanted but eventually got us onto Ruawhata and then Ridge Road for our last bit of gravel.  After finding some quite deep and slippery stuff we got back out onto the seal for that last squirt back over the track and home.

Great little ride and nice to finally see a bit more spring weather...


  1. Amazing sunny sky, perfect weather to ride! Great pictures and videos!

    1. Thanks Kofla - you're welcome back here anytimte ;)

      It was a nice little outing!