Sunday, 25 October 2009

Exhausting day, part 1 - Round and round the bays

Two epic cycle rides today: the first with two wheels and the second with one wheel. Here's part 1:

I joined Alex and Jaro from work, and 40 or so other people, for the "Round and round the bays" ride around the Wellington coastline, organized by Cycle Aware Wellington as part of the 350.org climate action movement.

Besides enjoying the beautiful scenery of the round-the-harbour route, the idea of the ride was to promote cycling in Wellington, raise awareness of the need for a more cycle-friendly road network, and provide a public and media-visible show of support for action on climate change, in advance of the upcoming United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in December.

There were some amusingly dressed folks along. We were supposed to dress colourfully, and someone took this to mean wearing a one-piece all-over white lycra body suit - it covered absolutely everything including hands and feet, head and face.

There was also a family that managed to fit all four on one cycle - a tandem with a child seat at the front and a child's bike attached with a "tow arm" at the back.

Here's a map:

View Larger Map

The ride started from Island Bay at the bottom left, followed the coast road around all the peninsulas to the right and top, and finished at the waterfront Odlins Plaza in the city centre at top left.

I'd considered doing this on the 29-inch unicycle just for entertainment value and for the benefit of the 350.org photos; but decided it would be too slow and too far, especially with my new 150mm cranks, and rode my mountain bike instead. I was right: it was about 30km by the time I'd ridden home afterwards, and even with small kids in the group, we (well, the front of the group at least) near-effortlessly averaged around 17kph for the time we were moving, which I would not have kept up with on the unicycle. We made 42kph on one downhill bit without really trying - a unicycle would be left way behind since it can't freewheel. Keeping up would probably be possible with a 36er though - except the 42kph bit; maintaining even 30kph on a unicycle (even a geared one) for any substantial period will get you a world record.

The weather was just perfect for this ride - comfortably cool, hardly any wind, and some sunshine relieved by patchy clouds.

On to Part 2...

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