Cycling the Coast Road with vigilante infrastructure?

29 01 2010

Between Pukerua Bay and Paekakariki the road is part of State Highway 1, the main road out of Wellington, which is colloquially known as the Coast Road. It’s about 5 or 6km long. Although some cyclists brave the 80 kilometre per hour section with heavy traffic by riding on the road (especially southbound) the footpath on the seaward side of the road is a designated cycleway and can be ridden in either direction. It’s narrow, and almost impossible to pass another cyclist or a pedestrian at speed.

In this photo taken from the Coastal Track in Queen Elizabeth Park looking south shows the part of the coast below the escarpment. It runs along the bottom of the scarp, and rises up to the low saddle near the headland into Pukerua Bay.

This is the view from the saddle looking northwards, with the line of traffic showing the hill, which my electric bike can just eat up. I can ride up it at over 28km/hr. Going down I’ve overtaken a motorcyclist 🙂

The footpath heading downhill can’t be negotiated with too much speed because of the ramps up and down being at weird angles (and the footpath is covered in debris and has got some largish potholes, and you get whipped in the face by the flax)

You’re hardly ever out of the noise cone. I’ve walked it a few times, with the headphones in listening to Sigur Rós’ Hoppípolla (and had a cyclist stopped behind me and tapping me on the shoulder to get past), but riding I guess I have to just put up with the noise.

And the railway line cuts in and out of the hillside above. Here with the Capital Connection on its way to Palmerston North.

On the places where there is a bit of a place for cars to stop off the road the lane is painted green:

Now I am betting that the narrow bits of concrete ramp on each of the kerbs weren’t put there by the Porirua or Kapiti Councils or even the road contractors employed by the NZTA. I think they are a bit of bike infrastructure DIY. If anyone knows the story of them let me know. I like the idea of getting tired of asking for bike infrastructure and just donning fluoro vests and pretending to be road workers and actually building it. I had a cousin once who got arrested in Brisbane for planting trees in the median strip of a busy road in Toowong, cause he thought it needed trees.

I reckon if the signs for the national cycleway don’t go up soon on all the quiet country roads between Cape Reinga and Bluff then some vigilante National Cycleway signs should magically appear.

Thankyou to the Phantom Concreter*, whoever you are. Love your work:

The National Cycleway will have to go along the footpath of the Coast Road. There just is no room to build anything else, although a wooden boardwalk below the sea wall would be brilliant (but expensive). It’s not the most ideal, but we cyclists will put up with it. It also is the route of the Ta Araroa National Walkway, except for hikers there is soon to be another option, of a walk along the top of the escarpment, which will be out of the noise cone, and the views are going to be fantastic. A few weeks ago a new walking track appeared about half way along that climbs up the escarpment, and crosses the railroad by going over the hill where the railway is tunneled through. I can verify that the new track isn’t finished yet, and half way up the escarpment it still needs building, and following the route of it was quite scary, in a fall down the face of the escarpment kind of way. Here is looking down on a bit of the Coast Road:

and here is the view north from half way up the new track looking northwards at the Kapiti Plain.

* named after the Phantom Expander, the vigilante folk hero of Blenheim who has filled the fat exhausts of boy racer buzz boxes with expanding polyurethane foam in an attempt to quiet down the little boys.  Remember the fatter the exhaust the bigger the potato.




4 responses

2 02 2010
Poor Old Pukerua Bay « Wellington Region Cycleways

[…] Pukerua Bay 2 02 2010 Sometimes I ride to work and like to start at Paekakariki, and ride the Coast Road, and climb the hill through Pukerua Bay and ride the Ara Harakeke Bikeway to Plimmerton and beyond, […]

7 06 2010

FYI it’s “Te” Ara Roa not “Ta” Ara Roa. “Te” translating into “The”, “Ara Roa” translating into “Long Pathway”.

With regards to the concrete ramps – I ‘believe’ this is the work of Chris Glover, well known on the Kapiti Coast for his footpath constructions. Makes quite the difference, although I tend not to ride it often due to all the glass and crap on the path. Downside is that drainage doesn’t work as intended, noticeable in heavy rain.

16 01 2011
Waikanae River Paths « Wellington Region Cycleways

[…] and ride down to Paraparaumu Beach, and even onto Raumati and through Queen Elizabeth Park and onto Pukerua Bay. Northwards you can get as far safely as Peka Peka Beach. After that the only safe way heading north […]

21 02 2015
Chris Glover Kapiti Coast


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