The still waters of the Manawatu

13 06 2011

The Moutoa Recreation Reserve is a bit of DOC land on the banks of the Manawatu River between the river and the flood channel. I had a bit of a leg stretch on that stretch of the river on a sunny still day last week. I thought I’d share a couple of photos.



Wellington to Wairarapa Trail

13 06 2011

There was a comment on my last post from David Hancock, who works for Hutt City Council, and I think it is worth highlighting the link he gave. Pedalling Regional Collaboration about the Wellington to Wairarapa trails.

There is lots of potential for linking the Hutt River Trails, the Rimutaka Incline, and around Pencarrow with Martinborough and Lake Wairarapa into a marketable whole. My opinion is that it would be the Wellington region’s primary recreational asset and would be of national significance as it would attract international tourists to stay for a few days in the region. It would be up there with the Tongariro Crossing, or the Heaphy Track as something visitors would love to do.

It’s a bit of a mystery why it was overlooked by the National Cycleway process. I would have thought it’s exactly what the National Cycleway was all about.

The scenery is pretty stunning. Pulling out of the panniers a bottle of Sauvignon Plonk you bought a day earlier at a Martinborough winery cellar door and sitting and admiring the views like these would be O for oarsome bigtime:

WCC wants work to begin on Ngauranga-Petone cycleway

12 06 2011

There is some good news on the Dom Post. The Wellington City council wants design work to begin on the Great Harbour Way between Ngauranga and Petone to begin this coming financial year, instead of 2012/13.

From the news story:

Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown said the existing cycleway put people off, particularly as it stopped at Horokiwi.

“They end up facing the traffic, going the wrong way … There are some who are quite content to go on the 100kmh road, but family groups, and tourists, and people who are thinking about commuting, can be put off.”

That’s a little bit of an understatement from the Mayor. Most people really don’t want to get run over by a truck travelling 100 km/hr. I too am put off.

There is already a design document (the Boffa Miskell one) so I take it the WCC means a detailed design document.

And don’t forget my idea about crossing the Cake Tin (and going through the rail yards) to link Ngauranga to the Waterfront, because riding through Kaiwharawhara is a bit of a shambles.

And does anyone else like the idea that redeveloping Ngauranga station, and building in the airspace over the railway lines nearby would give Wellington another waterfront district? With the buildings’ backs to the motorway and their fronts to the cycleway and pedestrian promenade and harbour it could be quite a nice little spot. With an aerial gondola from Ngauranga to Newlands and Johnsonville it would also make the transport network have more of an interconnected network kind of thing happening, but that is a topic for an upcoming post.

Cycling (and other stuff) on satellite TV in NZ

10 06 2011

If you’re interested in European professional cycling like the Tour and the Giro or the Tour of California or the Tour Down Under then you’d might be interested to know that it’s a reasonably easy and inexpensive exercise to tune in to the Tasmanian beam of Australia’s SBS. They have an hour long weekly cycling show on Sunday’s at 7pm NZ time. Have a look at Cycling Central to see what’s on.

SBS also has enough food shows, Japanese game shows, subtitled foreign language films and docos on 2 channels that it also makes it worth it if sports cycling doesn’t float your boat. They’re also pretty big on soccer, which they curiously call football.

I’ve just gone through the process of getting satellite TV installed with 2 dishes.

The SBS channels are on the Optus D1 satellite. That’s the same satellite as Freeview and Sky. You may need a 90cm dish, as the 65cm dish may not be quite good enough. SBS’s Tasmanian signal has vertical polarity, whilst Freeview and Sky have horizontal polarity. So if you have an existing satellite dish you may be able to reuse it, and get a different LNB (the funny thing on the front of the dish). LNB’s aren’t expensive (about $30) and you can get a dual one to get both polarities and tune in Freeview and SBS1 and SBS2. (SBS1 is also there in HD). On the same dish you can also get another LNB (or two) and tune in Optus D2. (I went with only a vertical polarity on D2 as the horizontal would only give me 1 extra non-religious channel in English – Myanmar International). On the second (1.2m) dish I can tune in to Intelsat 5 which gives me Australia Network and BBC World News.

The 4 signals from the LNB and the existing UHF are inputs into a multiplexer and then the signals get mixed and can be sent out to 4 or 8 rooms or whatever. Then you get a set top box or a PVR and plug it into your TV. If you have a Freeview receiver you may be able to use it for satellite TV as well. There is a thing called MHEG-5 which puts an episode guide for Freeview and limits your receiver to only those channels. Don’t get one of them. If you need one get a cheap one from Dish TV or Topfield. They are only a bit above $100.

So for only a few months that a Sky subscription would cost you can set yourself up with free to air satellite TV. I ended up getting all the Freeview channels plus 7 English language non-religious channels SBS1, SBS2, Australia Network, BBC World News, NHK World TV, Russia Today and Press TV. Then there are channels in Dutch, Hungarian, Romanian, Serbian, Thai, and Arabic plus 15 religious ones that you don’t have to watch.

I’m unlikely to watch much of the sports cycling with all that lycra, but Australia Network does carry Australian Rules Football, and with all this Rugby World Cup carry on in NZ, I think I’ll watch some real football.

Crossing the Manawatu Safely

7 06 2011

The Manawatu River is the biggest obstacle when travelling north-south through the Horowhenua. It can be reasonably safely crossed on the Shannon-Foxton Road, and there is a bridge on State Highway 1 just south of Foxton.

The bridge itself is narrow, and has no verges for cyclists. So if you’re crossing it on a bicycle you look over your shoulder for trucks and cars and pedal like buggery to try to cross the short span before your loved ones receive flowers.

I know according to the NZTA, the New Zealand public and the National-led national government cyclists should cherish every day they are not run over by a truck, but geez it really is a crap situation.

There may be a Dutch influence on the Horowhenua, and it seems there is to be a new Dutch Settlers Museum being built in Foxton, but it hasn’t translated into safe cycling infrastructure.

Here is the dangerous bridge from the underneath on the south side:

And here is the river looking upstream from the same spot:

It seems like a perfect spot to put in a cyclists bridge, or one of these (as highlighted in this post of mine):

Because at the moment here is what the bridge is like (taken from the passenger seat of my car, because it is too dangerous to ride it on a bike taking pictures). This is the southern entrance to the bridge:

And here is on the bridge itself showing a concrete wall to get crushed against:

In contrast to the danger of the bridge the Whirokino Trestle across the Moutoa Floodway immediately north of the river has a safe cycle route across the flood plain:

Riding across the bridge I feel like a

What can be done about it? I know there are plenty of unsafe bridges on the state highway network, and it’s not the only one without a practical alternative route, but the traffic is really heavy, and Levin and Foxton aren’t that far apart. So can we start with providing a safe alternative for cyclists on this bridge please?

We cyclists get a pretty raw deal.