Molesworth by Cycle on Wellington Anniversary Weekend
Anniversary Weekend, 22 January 2010
On the Thursday evening before Anniversary Weekend, 13 TTC cyclists boarded the ferry for Picton with bicycles and a Nissan 4WD Ute loaded with water, provisions, packs and tents.
The ute and driver headed for St Arnaud and others followed by shuttle with the bikes. A southerly rain was encountered on the way and it was pouring at St Arnaud. During a break in the weather, tents were erected and generally a good sleep was had.
Next morning was fine and cyclists set off at different times to meet up at the start of the Rainbow Road. Those waiting participated in yoga exercises. The scenery through the Rainbow was beach forest interspersed with pasture.
Rain was encountered after lunch and persisted for the remainder of the day, sometimes heavy. Some of the team took a rest in the ute to conserve energy and keep dry. We stayed the night at Lake Sedgemere where there was a hut and fire to warm up and dry off. The cuisine on this trip was superb - great cooking ingenuity and skill was displayed by all.
The second day we set out in drizzle to begin the tough, cold climb over Island Saddle (1347 metre). Around mid morning at the turnoff to Lake Tennyson we encountered a member of the Alpine Gardens Society with a camper van called Myrtle. Myrtle’s owner generously supplied the whole group with coffee and cookies. The weather improved and we enjoyed the ride to Acheron camping ground which has an historic accommodation house.
The destination of the third day was Molesworth. The weather started warm and sunny and it was a good road making for fast and easy biking. However two of the bikes broke down, were unusable and had to be loaded on the ute... On one bike, three of the spokes had broken all at the same time and, on the other bike, the gear lever came apart and the bike was jammed in top gear. The one puncture on the trip also occurred on this day. Wards Pass at 1145 metres was steep and most of the team walked and pushed the bikes. Once at the top of Wards Pass there was a good view and it was mostly downhill to Molesworth camp site. At Molesworth there was a downpour of rain which occurred in the midst of Colleen and Allan cooking dinner. They did a great job under trying circumstances. Warwick spotted wild gooseberry bushes and picked enough berries to make a delicious addition to the dessert.
The final day was a short ride as we were scheduled to meet the shuttle at 3.00pm just beyond the Hodder River Bridge. The total distance for those who cycled the whole trip was about 250 km. The area proved to have a harsh climate with unique scenery and history and is probably one of the more challenging trips for a group of cyclists.
- Party members
- Lois Buckrell (leader), Don (scribe) and Barbara Crump, Colleen Davey, Warwick Hill, Mary Kane, Tim and Lynn Kelly, Geoff Marshall, Jenny and David Olsen, Tom White and Allan Wright.